The dried broad bean, everyday staple of Egypt and cultures around.
Absolute basics – and yes, when I had an allotment I grew far too many broad beans, dried them, and used them this way.
Alternatives – buy dried ful from a local international store, or (cheat!) buy tins of prepared Ful.
- 750 g/1.5 lbs dried Broad Beans
- About 3 times the volume of water
- good teaspoon of ground cumin
- Best cooked in a large quantity, to have a good supply for other dishes over the next few days.
- Put the beans in a large, heavy saucepan, with the water and the cumin (to prevent any anti-social effects). Bring to the boil, and simmer on a VERY low heat for at least 4 hours – until the bean skins are tender. [If necessary, simmer on the heat for an hour, turn the gas off for an hour, and simmer again gently for an hour – if you try to hurry them, the bean skins stay hard and tough.] Add water if necessary.
- The beans are ready when they are only just holding their form. Add salt to taste at this point – NEVER before.
- Alternative ways of cooking – boil in a saucepan, then cook overnight in a slow-cooker; or boil in a saucepan, and put in a tight-lidded casserole, in the oven (120C/250/gas mark 1/2), overnight. You may need to add water so the beans are always just covered – or they discolour.
Use this base (or tins of Ful from a local international store!) to make …
- Ful Medammes (Egyptian style)
- Ful and Tomato Sauce (Egypt and Yemen, at least)
- Ful, Sudani-style
- Ful, Yemeni-style
- Bessara (a vibrantly green soup, from Upper Egypt and Palestine)