Foul mudamas is cooked fava beans. The ingredients you use and the way you cook it reflect the country the recipe originated from. The most famous foul Mudamas is the Egyptian one, then comes the Lebanese foul that has more garlic and lemon. Today I will teach you another version popular in Yemen and Saudi Arabia called Qulaba or Qulabah. There is the addition of tahini which enhances the flavor and can be served with boiled eggs. I will talk more about cooking dried fava beans later in this post, and don’t forget to watch the recipe video!
What is foul mudammas?
Fava beans which are called foul in Arabic, are a type of legume. It tastes similar to beans like red beans and black beans, but it has a buttery flavor, and in my humble opinion, it has more taste. Hence, we don’t use a lot of spices when we cook it.
Foul mudammas are dried fava beans cooked in seasoned water. You can find plain canned Fava beans with no spice added, but you can also get them with different spices and sauces. In our recipe today, we will use the plain canned fava beans.
You can use dried fava beans, but you will have to soak them for hours and later cook them for a few additional hours before using them in any recipe. I will explain how to cook dried fava beans in the recipe card below, so don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!
Fava beans dip (foul mudammas) is mainly served for breakfast, but you can enjoy it as a light dinner with pita bread.
What is Qalaba?
The Yemeni foul mudammas (Qalaba) have fried onions, tahini, and tomatoes, plus garlic and cumin; all these ingredients are cooked in olive oil. People in Yemen have Qalaba for breakfast, enjoying it with freshly baked Tamees that’s originally an Afghani bread. I prefer qalaba over other versions of foul because of the sweetness coming from the fried onions and the creaminess tahini paste adds to this dish.
Some restaurants add shredded boiled eggs in the qalabah, but we will keep it vegan this time and omit the eggs.
Can we use dried fava beans instead of canned?
Yes! The process of cooking dried fava beans is simple. Soaking the beans will take time, around 8 to 12 hours, and cooking them may take up to 2 hours, but you won’t be stirring or pealing, or chopping any other ingredient in the process—more on how to cook dried fava beans in the recipe card below.
Ingredients you need to make Foul Mudammas -Qalaba
Fava Beans – I have used plain canned fava beans; I always drain the canned beans and rinse them before cooking.
Onion – Red onions are the best to use in this recipe; if it’s not available, go for yellow onion.
Tomatoes – Go for ripe tomatoes. It will cook faster.
Olive oil – I used it in frying the onion and drizzling some on the foul mudammas before serving.
Tahini paste – The qalaba will taste great with tahini; if possible, do not skip it unless you are allergic to it.
Cumin Powder – As I have mentioned previously, fava beans have a great flavor, so I’m using one spice to prevent the actual taste of the fava beans from getting lost.
How to make foul mudammas the Yemeni way
- Drain the canned fava beans and rinse twice with water. I almost always discard the water in the can.
- In a hot pan, add the olive oil, and when hot, add the onion and fry until translucent.
- Add the tomatoes and the garlic and cook for a minute, careful not to burn the garlic.
- It’s time to add the cumin powder and salt. Mix well for a few seconds, and then add the drained fava beans.
- Cook for three minutes. Add ¼ cup water and cook for a minute, then mash the beans with a masher.
- Add the tahini paste and cook for a minute. Pour another ¼ to half a cup of water and mix well.
- Drizzle with olive oil and tahini before serving.
How to cook dried fava beans
Remember that the old way of making foul mudammas is by cooking dried fava beans, so do not worry if you only found dried fava beans. There are a few steps that you must follow before using the fava beans in this recipe. There are two types of fava beans, small and large. You can cook both the same way. Depending on the age of the beans, some types take a longer time to cook than others.
- Wash one cup of dried fava beans with warm water three times. Soak the beans in warm water overnight or for 10 hours.
- Discard the water and wash the beans one more time.
- Place the beans in a large pot, fill it with water and bring it to a boil. Add ¼ teaspoon salt, adding more salt will let the beans cook for a longer time.
- Let the beans cook in the boiling water for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat and let it simmer until tender.
- Depending on the brand you use, the cooking time might take an hour to three hours, so make sure that you check on the beans and add hot water whenever needed.
- When the beans are fork-tender, use them in this recipe.
Tips to make the best Qalaba
- Always drain the canned beans and then rinse them to avoid the aftertaste from the preservatives.
- Cook on medium heat or medium-low, burnt fava beans taste bitter, and there is no way to fix that.
- Use the best olive oil; it makes a lot of difference.
- For more richness, add a tablespoon of butter at the end of cooking.
- If you store the tahini in the fridge and it’s hard, dilute it with a few drops of water before adding it to the foul.
- If you don’t have tahini or are allergic to it, add heavy cream.
- It’s rare, but sometimes the tomatoes may add a sour taste to the foul; you can balance that by adding ¼ teaspoon sugar to the foul mudammas.
- If you want to make a foul mudammas sandwich, reduce the water in the recipe to keep it thick and easy to fill the pita bread.
- If you can’t get fava beans, go for canned pinto beans and make sure it is plain with no sauce or additional spices.
- For smooth, creamy foul mudammas or qalaba, remove the skin from the fava beans before cooking it.
How to store qalaba or foul mudammas
Place the cool foul mudammas or qalaba in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. When reheating the foul, add two to four tablespoons of water and heat on the stove top or in the microwave.
How to serve Qalaba
- Serve Qalaba/foul as a dip, with grilled or toasted pita bread or your favorite vegetables.
- You can make a qalaba sandwich. Add cucumber and fresh tomatoes, and don’t forget to drizzle a little tahini.
- You can also use it as a spread when making a falafel sandwich or any vegetable sandwich.
- Boil eggs cut them into small pieces and mix with the foul; it’s amazing for breakfast.
Where to get fava beans and the best tahini?
You can find fava beans and Tahini in any Middle Eastern grocery shop. Try to find California Garden canned fava beans, there is no after taste, and the flavor is close to homemade fava beans.
Regarding tahini, you want to use organic tahini to get the original flavor without the additives. Go for Mighty Sesame Co. The tahini is in a squeezable bottle; it’s organic, which means the taste of the foul is going to be great. Many prefer it, and you can see that in the reviews. The other brand you can try for tahini is Soom Foods.
Foul Mudammas Yemeni Style Qulaba
- 1 cup cooked or canned fava beans read the notes for cooking dried fava beans
- 1 medium tomato chopped
- 1 finely chopped garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt to taste
- 1 medium chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons tahini sesame paste
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and then add the chopped onion. When the onion is translucent, add the tomatoes and garlic and cook for three minutes on medium heat.
- Add the cumin powder and salt and cook for a few seconds.
- Now add the rinsed and drained fava beans and cook for three minutes on medium-low heat. Make sure not to burn the fava beans.
- Pour around a quarter cup water and then mash the foul/fava beans with a masher.
- Add the tahini and cook for a few seconds. If you want to make sandwiches, this is the last step, but if you want to make it into a dip, follow the next step.
- Pour ½ cup hot and stir for 2 minutes on medium heat.
- When serving as a dip, drizzle tahini and a generous amount of olive oil with chopped tomatoes and onion.
- You can cook dried fava beans at home, but it will take few hours between soaking and cooking.
- If you prefer to cook dried fava beans, please read in detail how to under (How to cook dried fava beans) in the post.
- When buying dried fava beans, find out if they are aged or not, since aged fava beans take a much longer time to cook.
- Use red onions if possible or go for yellow onions. White onions won’t work in this recipe.