A few weeks ago, the chef Ifrah F. Ahmed was in Los Angeles, and I ordered a breakfast burrito from her pop-up, Milk & Myrrh. The burrito wrapper was made of anjero, the tender, bubbly fermented bread, and it was packed with eggs and fuul — Somali-style fava beans stewed with tomatoes, onion, garlic and a mix of warm, toasted spices called xawaash.
Normally I’d feel a bit mean, telling you about something so delicious that I had out and about. But don’t worry, we have Ifrah’s recipe for fuul right here! I think it’s worth making more than you need so that you can reach for it the next day, too. (And it’s a really wonderful make-ahead meal if you’re fasting for Ramadan.)
You can have fuul with anjero, or any kind of flatbread, of course. But remember Ifrah’s breakfast burrito, and don’t forget how versatile fuul can be! Spread it on bread brushed with olive oil and toasted under the broiler for extra-good beans on toast. Have it on a bowl of scrambled eggs with a little hot sauce. Fold it inside a flour tortilla with cheese, pressed onto a hot pan until the tortilla browns.
I grew up on Sudanese-style ful, spelled and made a little differently. My dad usually set out the hot fava beans alongside heaps of toppings — chopped raw onion, tomato, chiles, herbs, a block of crumbly feta cheese, lemons and lots of olive oil — so we could each make our own bowls exactly how we wanted. Ful is a feast, and you can make it any time with dried or canned fava beans.
If you’re looking for spring recipes, and you happen to have good asparagus around, I want to direct you to David Tanis’s wok-fried asparagus with walnuts, and Ali Slagle’s lemony orzo with asparagus and bread crumbs. I really love that technique of dropping a vegetable into the same boiling water as the pasta to cook it, and then draining the pasta and vegetable together.
Wok-Fried Asparagus With Walnuts
Go to the recipe.
One More Thing
I loved hearing from you last week about how you cook your fresh whole fava beans.
Some readers suggested braising the whole pods in vegetable stock until really tender, with onion and herbs, lemon and olive oil. Others said stewing older pods with tomatoes and garlic made them extremely delicious — which made me think of Samin Nosrat’s perfect recipe for long-cooked vegetables (you can skip the anchovy, of course).
A few readers said that if you worked with really young, tender beans — the first of the season — then you could get away with a very short cook time: Toss fava pods with olive oil and salt, then grill them for just a few minutes until softened and slightly charred.
One of my favorite suggestions for when the pods are in between — tender enough to grill, but maybe a bit too fibrous to eat whole — was to dress them with a little olive oil, lemon zest and juice, and salt and pepper after grilling them, then squeeze the beans out in your mouth, chewing on the pods and getting the most out of them you possibly can before spitting out the fibers. Sounds like fun!