The Delicious Flavours Of The Middle East

Fool, is Arabic for fava beans or brown broad beans.

Every Arab country has its version of these stewed brown broad beans. Perhaps one of the most popular is the Egyptian Fool Midammes. The Egyptian version prepares a spicy thickened tomato sauce, that is aromatised with garlic, cumin, ground coriander and chili peppers, to which softened fava beans are added, then left to stew together over low heat for about an hour. A very similar preparation is carried out in Palestinian cuisine, however without the addition of a prepared spicy tomato sauce, rather with the addition of lemon infused tahina sauce, cumin powder and garlic, all of which will then be slow cooked together to perfection. The whole is then seasoned with green shatta and olive oil and served with bread. In lebanon, on the other hand, the brown broad beans along with some chopped onions and tomatoes, together with crushed garlic, a handful of spices and herbs are all cooked together to create these stewed beans (watch the video to see how that is carried out). Then of course there are variations in between and every cook’s editions and so on.

The most essential element here is that for this to qualify as fool, authentic and not an improvisation, is for the brown fava beans to be the star (the main ingredients) and not to include any other beans to the stew. With that said, in Falasteen and as part of the classic Palestinian cuisine, hummus (prepared hummus or as chickpeas) could be added to the stew, however it is then not named fool, but Qudsiyeh, which is a mixture that is the specialty of the city Jerusalem, also prepared and loved everywhere in Falasteen.

My way,

In this preparation of fool, I kept true to the authentic and proper way of making fool. However, I changed around in the process to create a mash out of these beans, which I then mix with Tahina (sesame paste) lemon juice and my Green Shatta (green chili sauce). The lot is then dressed with fresh vegetables. I love making this part stew/part salad fool and having it with toasted bread. It is absolutely delicious, filling, healthy and just heart warming.

This is a traditional breakfast/Brunch option, and a popular Suhoor meal during the month of Ramadan. Fool is very popular in the Middle East, with many ways to prepare it. This is how I like it: My Way!


  • 500g brown fava beans (canned, blanched fresh or dried)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp Tahina
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • Salt & Black Pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp DS Green Shatta (green chili sauce)
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup DS Premium Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

If using the dried beans, soak them in water along with 1 tsp baking soda overnight. The next day, drain and boil with fresh water to soften. If you are using canned beans, then use them with the canning liquids, if using blanched fresh ones, reserve 1 cup of the blanching water.


In a medium saucepan, place fava beans and the liquids along with crushed garlic, cumin powder and salt, over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiled, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and mash. Set Aside.

In a small bowl, mix tahina, lemon juice, black pepper together until all are incorporated and form a paste. Add 1 tbsp DS Green Shatta and mix again to incorporate.

Add the tahina sauce to the mashed fava beans and mix all well. Pour into a serving bowl. Mix in the chopped vegetables and parsley. Top with a drizzle of olive oil, and 1 tsp extra DS Green Shatta.

Serve warm along with pita bread wedges and assorted DS Organic Pickles (cauliflower, beetroots, cucumbers, turnips).


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