“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.” – Gandhi
There are very few flavours I did not like as a child. Fool Akhdar (green broad beans) was one of them! My Dad, however, loves these beans, and any food they go into. So Mum cooked all sorts of foods with these beans, such as Maloubet fool (green broad bean upside down, rice-based dish), Yakhnet Fool Bilaban (Stew of green broad beans in yogurt sauce), Yakhnet Fool bil Kuzbara (Stew of green broad beans and coriander)…. and the list was endless. It was like torture to me, because at that time, I had thought that I did not like green broad beans!
I had first tried this Fatteh at a neighbour’s home in Amman, back when I still thought I disliked this nightmare of a vegetable. We were invited, and it was rude to say “I don’t like this!” so I silently swallowed my dislike and absolute horror as the hostess served me a very generous portion of this Fatteh! – Another thing we did not do, is leave food in the plate. – I smiled to her, thanked her and looked at those beans stirring back at me as if in a challenge… I swear I felt like they almost told me ‘so what are you going to do now?‘. I decided to just eat the freakin’ plate-full, no beans shall challenge me! I did, shoving a spoonful after another, in an attempt to finish the lot as fast as anyone can possibly eat! My absolute confusion was in fact, when I realised that the flavour was actually superb! It did taste delicious!! My thoughts were trying to remind me: ‘But you don’t like these beans!’… my palate was begging to differ: ‘But you are loving this!‘… I ate the whole plate so fast that the hostess said: “you really like this Fatteh Dima! Shall I put some more for you?” I looked around to make sure no one was looking, nodded slightly in an attempt not to draw mum’s attention! Well, because, I always openly expressed my hate for these beans every time she cooked them! I ate until I couldn’t no more. Ever since then, I decided that I like green broad beans. I even looked forward for mom’s dishes that had these beans, and when I did give them a proper and open minded try, I discovered that they are in fact super delicious! I never looked back.
What I discovered when I actually gave myself a chance to taste was
The bold flavour of these beans, against the aromatic garlic and coriander was the perfect match, and a perfect base for many dishes. With a little help from the meat and bread flavours, the seasoning and the yogurt the whole thing tasted like a deep yet fresh and very summery bouquet of good green flavours. In terms of texture, there is a slight crunch from the beans and toasted or fried bread. There is a gentle bite from the meat, then a rushing wave of creaminess from the minted yogurt. The nuts add that strong crunchiness to the whole experience. I just wanted to keep eating, and that I did.
So here you go, Fattet Fool Akhdar for you to make and your family to appreciate… Let’s win over another weary heart.