Passover begins this Friday evening, April 3rd, and if you haven’t finished planning your Seder, do not fear. We have a delicious recipe that is vegan, kosher and ancient. Ful Mudammas has a fascinating history. It also boasts a wealth of nutrients that have sustained the ancient Israelites for thousands of years.
For a brief explanation of Passover and another savory Seder dish, see our blog post from last year, Bon Appetit Wednesday! Green Borscht With Matzah for a Multi-Cultural Passover.
The base ingredient in Ful Mudammas is the fava bean, or what was referred to in ancient times as the broad bean. This little bean was a main source of protein for the Israelites who could not rely on something as expensive as meat. In fact, it is “one of the oldest domesticated food legumes,” dating back to at least the 4th century CE. Interestingly, some claim that the consumption of the broad bean can actually be traced back much further to Pharaonic Egypt because beans have been discovered in Twelfth Dynasty tombs (1991-1786 BCE). However, Herodotus in the 5th century BCE, along with other writers, have pointed out that Egyptians never ate beans.
Regardless of whether or not the Egyptians enjoyed the bean, the Israelites definitely relied heavily on its prevalence in their diet. They put the beans in a pot full of water, sealed it up and then buried it in the ground beneath hot coals to cook very slowly. Originally, this was the extent of the Ful Mudammas recipe: simply cooked fava beans. Some researchers even claim that the word “mudammas” was originally Coptic and meant “buried.” Over the years, the dish spread throughout Middle East and numerous variations arose.
Today, the main recipe includes fava beans, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. The lemon juice is definitely a modern addition since lemons weren’t being cultivated in Biblical or Talmudic times. As in ancient times, Ful Mudammas is a kind of comfort food, providing a fullness and satiety. It is often eaten for breakfast as its high fiber content makes for a great start to the day. Muslims consume it during Ramadan in order to make it possible to fast during daylight hours. It is eaten throughout the Middle East and the Arab world.
Depending on what part of the world you are enjoying your Ful Mudammas, you could be eating it with hummus, pita bread, mixed with buffalo milk, béchamel sauce, fried eggs, tomato sauce or even dried beef filet. But no matter where you eat it, you’ll be sharing in a tradition that is thousands of years old.
Add Ful Mudammas to your Seder this Passover and experience the food that sustained the Israelites. Here’s to a very modern appreciation of a very ancient and humble bean.
- 2 teaspoons of olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 (15 ounce) can of fava beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15 ounce) can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
- 1 cup of water
- 1/2 (6 ounce) can of tomato paste
- 1/2 cup of lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon of tahini
- 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
- Heat two teaspoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir the onion in the hot oil until tender, about five minutes. Add the fava beans, garbanzo beans and water to the onion; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Stir the tomato paste, lemon juice, one tablespoon of olive oil, the garlic, tahini and cumin through the bean mixture; return the mixture to a boil and allow to cook at a boil for five minutes. Remove from heat.
- Pour the mixture into a blender. Hold the lid of the blender in place with a towel and start the blender, using a few quick pulses to get the mixture moving before leaving it on to puree to your desired consistency.
 Ful Mudammas – Ancient Vegetarian Middle Eastern Recipe. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2015, from http://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/2014/05/ful-mudammas-recipe/
 Did You Know: Food History – Ful The Egyptian National Dish. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2015, from http://www.cliffordawright.com/caw/food/entries/display.php/id/60/
 Ful Mudammas
 Did You Know
 Ful Mudammas
 Did You Know