"Ful Mudammas" Gets Big Praise on a Major American Foodie Forum
Serious Eats is a spellbinding food forum that is a daily must-visit for me. I love following culinary trends in other parts of the world, and I particularly adore when their editors review classic snacks, cereals, and treats from my childhood growing up in the US. It brings back a rush of sweet memories and allows me to benchmark my foodie sentiments with those of other folks.
Of course, I light up even more when I see dishes from our Mediterranean neck of the woods featured on Serious Eats. It’s wonderful to watch our Lebanese and Levantine fare making waves in the grand old US of A, when for decades very little was known about it.
In fact, I vividly recall having to explain to my schoolmates any Lebanese food item my mom packed in my lunch. Basics like pita bread, tabbouleh, and hummus, all of which have successfully penetrated the global culinary lexicon, were totally alien to American diners in the 90s.
Today on Serious Eats, food editor Max Falkowitz writes a very endearing article entitled “How Ful Mudammas Made Me Forget All about Hummus,” wherein he praises the dish for its complex flavors and regrets how unfairly it and so many other Levantine staples have been eclipsed by the chickpea mash.
|Boiled fava beans ("ful mudammas") served alongside falafel and cheese.|
What’s extremely intriguing to me is that Falkowitz, whose name appears to be of Jewish origin, derides the widely-known Jewish company Sabra which has become famous for its ready-made hummus sold inside grocery stores across America. Falkowitz rants that “companies like Sabra and their millions of marketing dollars have led you to believe that hummus and you are an OTP [“one true pairing”], damn the rest of the Middle East’s mindboggling culinary diversity.” Admirably audacious, isn’t he!?
To return to the subject of Falkowitz’ piece, "ful mudammas," as he spells it, is indeed a staple not just in Egypt but in Lebanon, too, where it takes on a more breakfast/brunch profile. In Lebanon, we don't usually boil it beyond recognition, nor do we mash it with tahini—though some folks choose to do so.
We dice up spring onions, tomatoes, and parsley all as garnish, smother the cooked beans in copious amounts of olive oil, and munch on crunchy radishes to add texture to the dish. And yes, some restaurants like Al Balad merge hummus (mashed chickpeas with tahini) with ful mudammas into a very delicious concoction.
Thanks for the spotlight, Max and the entire Serious Eats team!