Moroccan dried fava beans cooked in a silky and lemony sauce and topped with aged preserved lemon

Moroccan dried fava beans in chermoula – Foul mengoub

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Moroccan dried  fava or broad beans recipe in a thick silky sauce is a frugal vegan/vegetarian dish served in winter during lunch time. Whilst it’s meant to be a cooked salad or starter, I personally started serving it as a main dish.

The Arabic name is telling

Some of us call it foul mengoub due to the way how we eat it from the top: you have to discard the skin as you suck the soft and buttery inside as you go. There is a bit of multitasking there but basically your palace receives the thick sauce before you get the inner bit of the fava bean, which is generally bland. So it’s a perfect pairing exercise.

Moroccan dried fava beans cooked in a silky and lemony sauce and topped with aged preserved lemon

Moroccan dried fava beans. Credit @Nada Kiffa

Moroccans love fava beans

We are massive consumers of fava or broad beans and we have recipes for them depending on their freshness as well as calibre. By the end of the broad beans season, bigger calibre with the thick skin that no one would cook in its fresh green state will be dried.

The downer about this dish (apart from flatulence) is that it’s best served hot after its cooked. Like many pulses, it looses in greatness if reheated.

Moroccan dried fava bean in chermoula

Moroccan dried  fava or broad beans recipe in a thick silky sauce is a frugal vegan/vegetarian dish served in winter during lunch time. Whilst it's meant to be a cooked salad or starter, I personally started serving it as a main dish.

  • 200 gram fava or broad bean with skin on (pre-soaked and precooked until 90% done)
  • 1 tomato (seeded and grated or skinned and finely chopped)
  • 1 onion (yellow or brown, medium-size, finely chopped)
  • 1 bunch of coriander (small, chopped)
  • 1 tbsp parsley leaves (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 garlic cloves (grated or chopped)
  • ½ preserved lemon (seeds out)
  • 1 tbsp salt (or to taste)
  • ¾ tsp cumin (ground)
  • 1 tbsp paprika (sweet)
  • 1 tbsp harissa (mild, to taste)
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  1. Watch the video here

 


Cooked Moroccan salad with pepper, tomato and potatoes. Vegan, Gluten-free

Moroccan potato, pepper and tomato salad

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Moroccan potato, pepper and tomato recipe is an easy vegetarian/vegan cooked salad. Usually served warm, you can also serve it as a side dish to grills or fried fish while enriched with meat or seafood, can be a meal in itself as it has it all.

A family recipe

Here is a decades old recipe, if not centuries, coming straight from my family’s “grimoire”. This cooked salad of potatoes, pepper and tomato salad has a funny name in our family: we call it Drapeau sbalioun or Spanish flag.

Grandpa who died when he was 73 around 1997 brought this recipe from Larache, a Northern Moroccan city.

My aunties told me this is how it all started. My grandma used to add courgettes while my dad used to add small okra and sometimes add some proteins in the form of small pink shrimps, meatballs or spicy sausages to serve it as a main dish.

A Moroccan recipe after all

After all these years of searching if there was a similar recipe elsewhere (books, blogs..), I was able to make a link between a recipe from Z.Guinaudeau’s in her “Fes vu par sa cuisine”and my family recipe.

The similarity was striking except for the type of potatoes. The book was written in the 50s. Another famous Moroccan Jewish blogger who passed away in the last couple of years also had a version posted but under a different name.

These findings were comforting considering that I came to think this must have been a family creation until I found it there.

Ainek mizanek!

I suggest considering the recipe below as a guideline. The vegetables have different sizes around the world but also some like more potatoes than others.

Also, this is not meant to be a complicated recipe as the cook is just filling the tables with sides to feed the family, they were not trying to make their lives difficult by measuring each bit of ingredient in it. As long as it has potatoes, peppers and tomatoes and it’s reduced and served warm, that’s all what you need to stick to.

 

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Moroccan pepper, potato and tomato salad

Moroccan potato, pepper and tomato recipe is an easy vegetarian/vegan cooked salad. Usually served warm, you can also serve it as a side dish to grills or fried fish while enriched with meat or seafood, can be a meal in itself as it has it all.

  • 1 green pepper (The pointy version, seeded and chopped or cut in small cubes)
  • 1 onion ( any type, finely chopped)
  • 1 tomato ( medium-sized tomato, peeled, seeded and finely chopped)
  • 1 potato ( large and firm variety, peeled and diced 2 cm large.)
  • Okra (a handful (in Morocco they are small so we don't dice them).)

Chermoula

  • 4 tbsp coriander (finely chopped)
  • 2 tbsp parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp salt (to taste)
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 tsp paprika (sweet)
  • ½ tsp cumin (ground)
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Optional additions

  • 1 pale courgette (small, small dice (if you add courgette, omit okra))
  • 1 red pepper (pointy variety, seeded and diced small)
  1. Over medium heat, sautée onionsand peppers with chermoula about 3 minutes. Top with 1/4 of water and simmerfor another 5 minutes.

  2. Add the rest of the vegetables and stir. Add enough water to cover the ingredients.Put the lid on and let simmer away, over low heat until everything cooks tendresses and the liquid has reduced.

  3. If you notice that it has massively reduced halfway through the cooking, top it with a little bit of water so it evaporates near the end of cooking. This cooked salad is not supposed to be a saucy dish when served as a cooked salad or side dish.

  4. Once cooked. Add another tablespoon of olive oil and serve warm or at room temperature. garnished with chopped parsley leaves.

  • For a non-vegetarian version, you can add spicy sausages such as merguez, sujuk or chorizo to the mix. My dad used to add meatballs or sausages to make it a wholesome dish.
  • You can use whole tiny new potatoes instead of the diced ones as they also cook fast and won’t break.
  • You may use char-grilled peppers for this recipe.
  • You may add a touch of harissa or cayenne for a kick.


Moroccan white beans in tomato sauce

Moroccan white beans in tomato sauce

Moroccan white beans in tomato sauce is always served as a starter to a winter lunch. It can be made with or without tomatoes but a bit of tomato paste is definitely needed.

Add-ons

Because my family comes from Fez, we tend to use khlii and its fat in many things, this dish is one of them. It’s crazy how it just lifts it up. However, for a vegan version, you don’t have to.

I personally add smoked paprika in many “red” dishes and I do it for loubia bida as well.

Moroccan white beans in tomato sauce

Moroccan white beans in tomato sauce. Credit @Nada Kiffa

You may add vegetable stock as my mother does but I prefer to also add some ribs or bones which you can discard just before serving. They add such a depth to this hearty starter. My dad used to add spicy North African meat sausages (merguez is only one variety). However, it’s worth mentioning that as a starter, you can keep the recipe completely vegetarian.

[su_pullquote align=”right”]Do not forget a dash of harissa for those who like it garlicky and spicy.[/su_pullquote]

We like to serve the white beans in red sauce with some harissa or fried hot chilli for those who want it a bit spicy.

Loubia el bida is usually served in humble food joints across major Moroccan cities and it’s considered to be a cheap hearty filler..It’s a must try!

In the process of making this dish in different countries, I discovered that some white beans take longer to pre-soak and cook than others. I’d definitely avoid using the beans used for sweet baked beans or the mega flat ones used in Greek/Levantine cooking unless you know your deal..

I use a pressure cooker for this white beans dish and I pre-soak the pulses for 24 hours. You should adjust the cooking time according to the quality of beans used. You could still add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in the pre-soaking stage and another 1/2 teaspoon during the cooking. That’ll save you time if you encounter resistance.

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Ingredients

Serves 4 to 6
Prep: 10 min- Cooking time: 60 min (pressure cooker)
  • 250 g of dried cannellini white beans/haricots blancs, presoaked for 24 hours in cold water and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup of passata or 2 medium tomatoes, grated (no seeds)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons khlii (optional)
  • 3 ribs or bones with marrow (optional), use vegetable stock instead
  • 1 small handful chopped coriander
  • 1 tbsp of sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp of cayenne
  • 2 tbsps of tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp of ground white pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp of smoked paprika (a favourite personal addition)
  • 3 tbsps of good extra virgin olive oil

Preparation

Parboil the beans until you see a layer of foam which you should discard. Drain the beans and transfer them to a pressure cooker or a Dutch oven.
Add everything except the oil, tomatoes and khlii. Add about 5 times the quantity of beans in water Cover/seal.

Cook the beans on low heat for 60 minutes more or less, depending on their quality.
Carefully open to check on the beans. They should be almost cooked, al dente. Add the rest of the ingredients and check if there is enough liquid. Stir from time to time. Let simmer until the beans are perfectly cooked and the sauce is reduced.

If you are planning to have beans as a main dish you can add spicy sausage or merguez. Let simmer for 5 min and serve warm with bread or without.

Any leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days. You could thin it with a bit of water before heating it again.


Falafels

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According to many, Falafels originated in Egyptian where they’re called Ta’amiya. I have tried them for the first time during my first trip to Egypt back in 2001. Well since then they’ve gone popular across the world.

It’s important to mention that Ta’amiya requires the use of split dried fava beans only, which makes its texture different than falafels in a way that its softer. Combining both pulses wisely gives a good texture which happens to be the best of both worlds. Dried fava beans bring softness to the mix while chickpeas bring crunchiness.

While I was told to combine 50% chickpeas -50% dried fava beans in the falafel mix from everyone I know, I followed Anissa Helou’s ratio of 1/3 dried chickpeas to 2/3 fava beans and I believe this offers the best of both worlds I mentioned above as far as the texture is concerned.

As for the garlic, do not be shy to use the amount required. I loved falafels the moment I tried the garlicky ones.

Herbs and spices come to enrich the taste of these wonderful vegetarian/vegan bites full of goodness.

We used to have falafels served in mini wraps as part of an extensive Middle-Eastern buffet back in the days when I worked in upscale hotels, never one left behind. They were a perfect hit during coffee breaks too.

Having lived some of the Golf countries where these bundles of pulses are common due to an important Levantine and Egyptian diaspora, I thought I had enough of them.

Since Imoved to London, I was surprised to find them everywhere, along with Hummus. So I thought I’ll give them a go again for good old days’ sake. Well, supermarket falafels taste horrible, so dothe usual fast-food joints here and there. Since they’re not complicated to make, I just made them.

I followed Anissa Helou’s main recipe for mixed falafel as well as for the usual sauce that goes with them (source: Mediterranean Street food and also Modern Mezze). Besides my friends, she’s my trusted reference in anything Syrian-Lebanese.

If you are interested to read a comparison between famous English cookbook writers in the Middle-Eastern food scene, I recommend the Guardian’s article about it. It’s quite interesting.




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Ingredients
Serves 4 (4 wraps)
Prep:  10 min -`Frying: 3-4 min by batch

  • 100g dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight with 1 tsp of bi-carb
  • 200g dried split broad beans (the peeled ones), soaked in cold water overnight with 1 tsp of bi-carb
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1tsp of Lebanese seven-spice (or ½ tsp ground black pepper and ¼ tsp each of ground cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • A good pinch of ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 4 to 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • About a cup of fresh coriander, long stems removed, roughly chopped
  • About 1/2 cup of flat-leaf parsley, long stems removed, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder or 1/4 tsp bi-carb
  • About a handful of white sesame seeds

For frying

  • Sunflower or vegetable oil, to fry

Serve with Tarator sauce 

  • 1/4 cup of tahini
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • Juice of 1 lemon (adjust to your liking)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • Salt to taste
 

Preparation

  •  Soak the chickpeas and broad beans in plenty of cold water overnight. Drain them from any excess of water. Use a clean towel to dry them completely.
  • Put all the beans into a food processor and process until you get coarse texture (Anissa asks for a smooth texture but I know my processor better but I also decided to follow other suggestions here). Be careful not to overload your processor.

 

  • Add the spices, salt, onions, garlic and herbs and process until you have a paste anywhere between coarse to fine (many Lebanese and Syrian cookbook writers like their paste not that fine, for more crunchiness).
  • I decided to roll the falafel, slightly flatten them and then place them in the fridge for a couple of hours although it’s not necessary for that long but It helps keeping them together.
  • Pour enough oil to cover a batch of falafel in a small saucepan and heat it over a high heat.
  • Bring the heat to medium, roll the falafel in sesame and fry them batch by batch for 3-4 minutes
  • Drain on kitchen paper. Serve with Tarator (tahini sauce), pita or Arabic bread and salad.

Notes

  • I like to roll each falafel in the sauce, lay a bed of lettuce and chopped spring onions in the middle of a tortilla bread, roll then cover with foil, place the wrap between a panini grill and give it 5 minutes. Heaven..
  • I also like to fry falafels and fish them out before they’re completely dark brown. I freeze them and reheat them in hot oven when needed…