This recipe for braised fava beans with lentils is Egypt's national dish, and is traditionally cooked overnight in a copper pot so it's ready for a hearty breakfast. It is typically eaten with Egyptian bread as a tasty and filling start to the day, particularly during Ramadan when Muslims fast during daylight hours. It pairs beautifully with many spicy, crunchy treats such as the bright-pink pickled turnips (coloured with beetroot) and crunchy pickled cucumbers that are sold in Middle Eastern food stores. For a sandwich-style snack, serve the ful in a pocket of flatbread with fresh salad, tahini, pickles and banana chillies.
- 2 cups dried fava beans (broad beans), rinsed and soaked overnight
- 1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed and soaked overnight
- salt and pepper
- ground cumin
- lemon juice
- olive oil
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soaking time overnight
Drain the soaked beans and lentils and rinse again. Place them in a large saucepan and cover with 750 ml of water. Boil over high heat until frothy. Skim the froth as it accumulates then cover the saucepan and simmer on the lowest heat for up to 5 hours or until the beans are very soft and the liquid has reduced. The ful thickens as it cools, so be careful not to reduce the liquid too much.
Add salt, pepper, a generous amount of cumin and lemon juice to taste. Drizzle a liberal amount of olive oil over the top.