It All Starts With Breakfast

Why, sometimes I have believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast!  ~Lewis Carroll


Is there anything better than a leisurely, delicious weekend breakfast with family? If there is, I can’t think of it right now on a full tummy!

Meal time is family time, (Friends always welcome as part of the family!), but with my clan being spread out all over the world it is a rare treat. Work and university schedules make it an even bigger challenge. So when the opportunity presents itself, I don’t let it slip by! I use those moments to make memories and to enjoy the company of those I love.

Foul, or fava beans, cooked for hours and served drizzled with olive oil, cumin, tomatoes and cilantro is a traditional favorite of my family and much of the Middle East. In Riyadh, shops serving nothing but foul, can be found on every other street corner. It is that popular! And next door to any foul shop will be a bakery serving up piping hot, fragrant “tamees”, a large round flat bread, whose aroma ensures that it never makes it home without a few pieces being torn off and eaten as is, regardless of burned fingers.

The tamees that does survive the trip home is a sure call to breakfast for any late sleepers. At the table, slightly larger than bite sized pieces of tamees are ripped off the communal loaf, plunged into the foul, and popped into mouths opened wide in anticipation. Traces left behind on the lips, or dripping down the chin are quickly wiped off in preparation for the next bite.

By using canned fava beans, foul becomes a simple dish to make at home, and provides a chance to enjoy a traditional breakfast wherever my family happens to be. If you are a purist, feel free to cook your fava beans from scratch. However, I don’t mind taking shortcuts and use canned fava beans from my pantry. The results are every bit as scrumptious, and there is never a drop left over.


Foul (Fava Bean Dip)


  • 1 can foul (fava beans)
  • 1 med onion
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 tsp buharat
  • chopped cilantro
  • Salt to taste
  • Extra Virgin olive oil

Chop the onions and the tomato rather small. Save a little bit of the chopped tomato off to the side. Heat some olive oil in a pan and begin by frying the onion until it begins to turn golden, then add the buharat, tomato, and a bit of salt. After about 2-3 minutes, add the fava beans and a little of the juice from the can. As these are cooking, use the back of the spoon, or a potato masher, and roughly mash up the beans. They do not need to be made too smooth, but you do not want a lot of whole beans. This will thicken the dish so it is easier to pick up with pita bread. When the mixture is good and hot all the way through, remove from heat and place in a shallow dish. Smooth it out with the back of a spoon, leaving a ridge around the edge. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over the top, and sprinkle with the cilantro and tomato.  Serve with any type of flat bread, or a sliced up baguette.


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