Similar to hummus, this creamy fava bean dip is often served for breakfast in Syria. It consists of tender cooked dried favas, mixed with either tahini or lemon juice (or both), then topped with a swirl of olive oil and Aleppo pepper paste. In Aleppo, entire cafés are devoted to it. One of Anissa Helou's favorites is Abu Abdo's, in the Christian quarter. "Abu works nonstop from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., deftly ladling ful from a large copper jar into bowls or plastic bags for takeout," she says. This is her adaptation.
Fast and Easy Ethnic Recipes
1 cup dried small fava beans (7 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper flakes
1 small garlic clove, smashed
1/4 cup tahini paste, at room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
How to Make It
In a medium bowl, cover the fava beans with 2 inches of water and add the baking soda; stir to dissolve. In a small bowl, combine the Aleppo pepper flakes with 2 tablespoons of water. Refrigerate the beans and Aleppo pepper overnight.
Drain and rinse the fava beans and add them to a saucepan. Cover with 2 inches of fresh water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat for about 20 minutes, until just tender. Season with a generous pinch of salt and cook for 10 minutes longer, until softened. Drain the beans, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.
In a medium bowl, using a pestle or the back of a spoon, crush the garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt. Whisk in the tahini and lemon juice. Whisk in 1/4 cup of water.
Pour the tahini sauce into a wide serving bowl. Mound the warm fava beans in the center and pour the reserved bean cooking liquid on top. Drizzle with the Aleppo pepper paste and the olive oil and serve.
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