Fūl Mudammas – A Levantine Arab Meze Par Excellence

This is a famous Lebanese breakfast dish and meze dish, although it is made throughout the Levantine Arab world.  This version is very different than the Egyptian one, also famous, and called the Egyptian national dish, which is more like a soupy stew.  Although most common for breakfast, Arabs will eat it at any time especially as part of a meze. There are different kinds of fava beans and different cooking times depending on their size and harvesting so you must make sure you use the right kind here.  The best fava beans for making fūl are the smaller, rounder ones called fūl hammām (bath beans) by the Egyptians.  They should be cooked until soft, there should be no “bite” to them.  I regularly find these 27-ounce cans of cooked fūl hammām beans in Middle Eastern markets where they are sold with the name “foul medammas” on the label. These canned fava beans are excellent for this preparation.

Fūl Mudammas
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Recipe type: Vegetable
Cuisine: Arab
Serves: 6 servings
  • Two 27-ounce cans foul medammas (fava beans)
  • 2 large garlic cloves mashed in a mortar with 1 teaspoon salt until mushy
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Finely chopped fresh parsley for a garnish (optional)
  • Scallions chopped into ½ -inch lengths as a garnish (optional)
  1. Place the beans with their liquid in a saucepan and turn the heat to medium. Once the beans have been bubbling gently for 5 minutes, after about 25 minutes in all, drain, mash one-third of the beans and stir them together with the garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice. Spread on a serving platter and garnish with parsley and scallions, if desired. Drizzle some more olive oil over, if desired (and I do recommend all these garnishes). Serve at room temperature with Arabic flatbread cut in triangles.


Lamb and Grapes Delights

Leave it to the Greeks to combine lamb and grapes. At first blush you might scratch your head, but then you realize it’s a great idea. This combination also looks very pretty. The recipe requires lamb shanks which is one of my favorite cuts of lamb but increasing difficult to find in a regular supermarket. You may have to ask for it.

Arni me Rizi ke Stafeli
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A preparation of braised lamb shanks, rice, and grapes.
Recipe type: Lamb
Cuisine: Greek
Serves: 4
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 lamb shanks
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 3 cups Chicken Broth
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 2 cups seedless green grapes
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a flameproof baking casserole, heat the olive oil over medium heat then cook, turning, the lamb shanks until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add the onion to the shanks and cook, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Cover and place in the oven until the meat is fork tender, about 2½ hours. Pour off the liquid saving 2½ cups and keep the lamb warm.
  3. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring, the rice for 2 minutes. Add the reserved broth, cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Keep warm.
  4. In a sauté pan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat and cook, shaking the pan, the grapes until they become bright green in a couple of minutes.
  5. Spread the rice on a platter and top with the lamb shanks then spoon the grapes over the lamb and serve.


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