Why It Works
- Toasting cumin seeds, then mashing them with garlic and chili flakes in a mortar and pestle releases maximum flavor.
- Replacing some of the bean broth with olive oil makes for an intense grassy and pungent base for an abundance of spices and garlic.
Ful medames, stewed fava beans, is a staple dish all over the Levant. Some versions are mild-mannered and comforting. This one, loaded with olive oil, lemon, garlic, cumin, and a kick of chili flakes, is anything but. Serve it as a bean stew or mash up the beans and use it as a high octane dip.
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds, freshly toasted
- 2 teaspoons chili flakes
- Kosher salt
- 2 (15-ounce) cans fava beans
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice from 2 lemons, or more to taste
Put garlic cloves, cumin seeds, chili flakes, and a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle and crush until seeds are cracked and garlic is in small, flimsy chunks. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, mince garlic very fine.
Empty one can of fava beans (with liquid) into a medium saucepan; drain second can and add additional beans, garlic paste, olive oil, and tahini. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until liquid retains some brothiness but turns thick and sauce-like, about 5 minutes.
Add lemon juice and salt to taste. If desired, mash one third of beans with a potato masher for a thicker stew, or mash all beans for a rich dip. Serve with additional olive oil at the table.
Mortar and pestle (recommended but not required; see step 1)