Fava beans in the stalks with cilantro sauce (Ful akhdar ‘ateh)

fg salad fava stlaks

Fava beans, pronounced fool in this part of the world, are a much beloved vegetable. They are made into a delicious salad when still young (and their pods still tiny), using the entire stalk. They are stir-fried in a garlic and herb sauce, smothered in olive oil, then boiled till tender. The stalks turn very soft and get infused with the garlic and herb flavor. Cilantro, called kozbara, is the most popular herb used in this dish.

Salah w:foul akhdarThe image above shows Salah, a farmer of Egyptian origin, splitting open the tender fava stalk to show the baby bean. Egyptians love their fava fool very much; they make a street food with it (so do the Lebanese), called mudammas, which is a boiled fava bean soup, and the famous ta’amia aka falafel. 

The only problem with this dish is that it is not photogenic. However, its taste is just delightful and it melts in the mouth.

INGREDIENTS: 4 to 6 servings

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  •  1 head of garlic (or less, to taste), peeled and mashed in a mortar or food processor with 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped (or a mixture of fresh chopped herbs like Italian parsley and mint)
  • 2 pounds fresh fava beans in the stalks (tender stalks), cut into two-inch pieces
  • 2 cups of water (add more if needed)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced 

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet, and fry the onions till golden. Add the garlic and cilantro and fry a few seconds till the mixture gets fragrant. Add the stalks and stir-fry a few minutes. Add the water and bring to a simmer; let the stalks cook gently for about 15 minutes or until tender, adding the lemon juice at the end of cooking. Serve at room temperature.

dup ful akhdar

NOTE: If the stalks have strings, remove them prior to cutting them. Another way to cook this dish is to boil the stalks first and add the garlic and chopped cilantro sauce at the end. 

NOTE: Personally, I like to add the cilantro and garlic mixture at the end of cooking to keep the flavors fresh and pungent. If you are like me, fry the onion, add the stalks, boil them till soft and finally add the garlic and cilantro previously stir-fried in olive oil for a few seconds in a small skillet.

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10 Comments

  1. Posted April 10, 2014 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    They look great. Cannot believe you think this post is not photogenic because I think its picture perfect x

  2. Posted April 10, 2014 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    I didn’t know that one could eat fava bean stalks… An interesting recipe and scrumptious looking dish.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  3. Posted April 10, 2014 at 4:38 am | Permalink

    I think it looks delicious! I also really like the idea of using fava beans without all the shelling and peeling… sounds like the perfect solution if you can find them that young and tender!

  4. Posted April 10, 2014 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    This is one of my favorite dishes! My hubby is not a great fan of fava beans so I don’t make much of fava bean dishes.

  5. Posted April 10, 2014 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    So cool! I have a feeling I’ll be making something quite like this as my fava plants just now came up in my garden (a little later than expected) and they have to be out of that plot section by the end of May to make room for tomatoes!

  6. Posted April 10, 2014 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Would you believe I’ve never seen a fresh fava bean? I will have to ask at our farmers’ market this summer! Even though I don’t see them or have green almonds available I always love to see the ways you prepare them!

  7. mariam
    Posted April 10, 2014 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    can this be made with fava peeled/shelled frozen from mid east grocer..cant find young tender ones here..?

  8. Joumana
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 1:09 am | Permalink

    @mariam: Sure! you can make this with green beans as well.

  9. Posted April 13, 2014 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Sadly, we never see them here with the pods so small and tender…this looks delicious!

  10. Posted April 15, 2014 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Foul bi zeit is among my favorite and most missed dishes from my mother’s kitchen. We grow the foul here in Australia (my mother-in-law is Maltese and loves it!) so I really should get back in the habit of making it at home :) Your recipe and photo are wonderful as always.

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