Hobo Cooking #1: Ful (Sort of)

As everyone who knows us knows, we are avid dumpster divers. That’s right. That is what I said (see my About page). But we’re in a bit of a rush to get further south where it isn’t so cold, so we’re a little low on supplies. But that’s fine, because it’s the perfect excuse to make Ful, one of my ultimate favorite things.

I learned about this dish at Markthalle Neun in Berlin. Among other awesome events, every third Sunday they have a breakfast market, with aisles of little stands run by different groups, all making the most fucking amazingfood you’ve ever had. Everyone there is all about high-quality local ingredients and slow cooking techniques. The food is creatively made, well thought-out, diverse in ethnicity, and it all just tastes spectacular. If you’re ever in Berlin, Go. There.


The Cantina at the Markthalle, which is open daily, happened to be run at this time by Syrian refugees from Über den Tellerrand, a group that helps integrate refugees by running cooking courses and events (again if you’re ever in Berlin, check these guys out— they’re doing really serious stuff).

On the menu for the day was Shakshuka and Foul. The Foul caught my eye because it was made up of mostly fava beans, and I have a major thang for beans.

First a little history, aka a brief summation of Wikipedia and several other articles that I read ahem I mean what?

Ful (or fūl, or foul, or ful mudammas, or foule mudammes) in various, vaaaaaarious forms, is an important dish served in middle eastern countries since the fourth century, notably Egypt, Sudan, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Yemen, Palestine, and Saudi Arabia. Fūl is apparently the arabic word for fava beans, and mudammas means ‘stewed’.

Fun fact: apparently people who live in the Middle East buy these from people who stew the beans in giant copper pots overnight. How cool does that sound? I have got to get over there…

Ful (this seems to be the most legit spelling) is traditionally served as part of breakfast on Fridays. Friday is the day of rest for Muslims, so everyone obviously wants to sleep late and then have a  kickass abun
dant breakfast. There are a million different versions of dish, but the one I had was made with diced onions and tomatoes, fava beans, cumin and dill. It was the dill that really did it for me, although that doesn’t seem to be quite traditional.


So I took one bite and realized I need to eat this every single day of my life. This is such a simple dish, but there is so much flavor, and I love the creamy texture. Since then, this has been my go-to comfort food.Only problem is that getting tinned fava beans isn’t so easy everywhere. And since we are constantly traveling, I’m always looking for new quick one-pot recipes. So my basic, hobo- adapted recipe is as follows; ingredients with asterisks are leave-outable:

1 can of beans, whatever you can get your hands on (I’ve been using white beans lately)
1 can of diced tomatoes (diced fresh tomatoes are obviously better, but we’re in the hobo kitchen)
2 large onions
Cumin (you’ll prob be struck by lightening if you leave this out)
Dill- fresh is best, but again, this is camping style) (ps- this is totally my favorite ingredient and that’s why it doesn’t have an asterisk)
*Chopped garlic if you have it (really cool if you’ve roasted it- totally possible to do in the dying campfire)
*Obviously fresh parsley or cilantro would also be good

Dice the onions,  sauté in good olive oil until translucent. Add the chopped garlic, cumin, and *paprika, and heat a minute longer. Add the beans, tomatoes and dill (if using dried, if not add it at the very end). Let simmer for about ten minutes.

At this point, I sometimes add couscous, if I don’t have any bread and am looking to get some carbs in. Rice or quinoa or any other small dried carb will also work, but I like couscous best.

Add *chopped parsley or cilantro last and then EAT IT.

Here’s a sort of embarrassing picture of my finished product. Don’t judge me, I swear it tastes awesome.

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