15 February 2014

Bedouin Bean Stew: Gallayat Fooel

This entry is rather untypical as at the present time (February) the tomatoes that make this dish so tasty are simply not to be got. But last week Caroline and I spent three days walking in the Jordanian desert of Wadi Rum with a Bedouin guide Ra’ed and two of his camels. Ra’ed was not only unbelievably knowledgeable about camels (his family breed them and in his camp we saw a two-week old calf and three pregnant camels about to give birth), but he is also a very dab hand at whipping up a simple and simply delicious meal over an open fire. This traditional Bedouin and unusually vegetarian dish is what we did together on the second day of our trek.



What you need

(apart from the stunning scenery)

  • 1 medium sized onion roughly chopped
  • 2 very ripe tomatoes, cubed
  • 400 g fava beans in their cooking liquid (Ra’ed used a tin), lightly mashed
  • salt (you can use other seasoning too, that's just what we had.)
  • optionally: garlic (which we did not have), herbs and chillies
Variation: use three three tomatoes and no beans (what we had the first day)

What you do

  1. Allow the onions to sautée but not to take colour.
  2. When they are glassy, add the tomatoes and stir. Allow to simmer until the mixture looks like jam, slightly thickened.
  3. Add the fava beans, which should be slightly mashed (tastes much better than it looks!)
  4. Season to taste.
  5. Eat with pita bread that has been warmed and slightly browned over the hot coals.

With it you drink sweet, hot Bedouin tea (Put water and sugar in a pot, sit it in the glowing embers; when the water boils add the tea leaves.)
Tastes wonderful with hummus and any of the tasty Middle Eastern dishes and dips like baba ganoush, moutabel, muhammara, fathoush, etc.