Tuesday, October 04, 2005 11:29 PM
Pita and foul mudammah
“Obachan” recently reminded me of the joys of fresh pita bread when she talked about a cross between hummus and baba ghanouj on her blog recently. A couple of months ago I made some pita just because I felt like having some flatbread but didn’t want to drive to the supermarket just to get some stale-tasting, chemically stabilized flatbread when it only takes a few minutes and pennies to knead some dough.
It does take a bit of time to rise (45 minutes to an hour is fine), but in this case, I was able to prepare other things while I waited.
I took a quick picture just a short time after the second batch of bread came out of the oven. I made a total of 8 pita, and my roommate and I quickly devoured half of them.
My impetus for making pita was a craving for a hummus-like spread often rendered in English as “foul mudammah” or “foul medammah”, but the ambiguity of Arabic vowels results in numerous additional possiblities.
A few years ago when I was still moderately happy with my job at Microsoft, an Egyptian woman working for me, who had recently brought her family to one of my dinner parties, treated me to some homemade fava bean spread. She gave me a recipe and a verbal description of the technique. Not too long ago, I acquired a small amount of dried fava beans at PFI with the intention of making this dish.
Mine doesn’t really look the same as I remember hers; I think hers had a greenish hue and was probably made without tomatoes. It may have been a completely different dish. I’ve long since misplaced the recipe she gave me, but I was happy with the results.
I used a bit of tomato puree in addition to cooked dried fava beans (soramame for my Japanese readers), and onions both in the foul and caramelized on top. I ground some coriander and cumin seeds then cooked them in bit of olive oil with some ground chillies, which I mixed into the foul as well, and of course some salt. I used a blender to puree everything, but I’m sure I could have gotten satisfactory results from assiduously smashing the beans with a fork.
Upon serving, aside from adding those caramelized onions, I sprinkled some dried ancho chillies and drizzled olive oil on top. It might have been nice to squeeze a bit of lemon juice on top, but I forgot to buy lemons.
I also served some sliced cucumbers, feta, and a decent tomato.
The only remotely expensive part of the dinner was the feta, which I really didn’t need, but I was craving it somehow.
The foul mudammah has a pleasant sweetness… I think the beans, tomato, and onions all contributed to that. I want to eat it more often.
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