Ful medames with malawach (Yemeni flatbreads)


First published in 2020
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Ful medames


Lovage pesto

  • 12g of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 20g of fresh lovage, roughly chopped (if you can't find lovage, substitute with parsley or celery leaves)
  • 20g of basil, roughly chopped
  • 25g of parsley, roughly chopped
  • 10g of preserved lemon, blitzed to a paste (or ready-made preserved lemon paste)
  • 5g of lemon juice
  • 150g of olive oil
  • Maldon salt, to taste
Drain the soaked beans and add to a large saucepan with the bicarbonate of soda. Cover with cold water by at least 1 inch, then bring to the boil, skimming off any scum that rises to the top. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes to 2 hours until tender (the cooking time will depend on the size and freshness of your beans). Once cooked, drain and set aside
While the beans are cooking, begin making the malawach. Mix the flour, sugar and salt together in a bowl, then gradually add the water until a dough forms (you may not need all the water). Knead for 5 minutes, then cover and set aside to rest for 30 minutes
Divide the dough into 4 equal balls. Dust a work surface with flour and roll one of the balls out as thinly as possible. Brush the top with butter, sprinkle over some nigella seeds and Maldon salt, then roll the circle up to create a tight sausage. Coil the tube in on itself to create a spiral shape, tucking the end underneath itself, then roll out until thin. Brush with butter, roll into a sausage, coil into a spiral and roll flat once again, then repeat this step for a final third time until you’re left with a thin flatbread. Set aside under a tea towel and repeat with the remaining three balls of dough to create 4 flatbreads
To finish the ful medames, heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic for 7 minutes or until soft but not coloured. Add the cumin, cinnamon, cayenne and paprika and cook, stirring for another few minutes until aromatic, then stir through the beans
Transfer half of the contents of the pan to a blender along with the tomatoes and blitz for a few minutes until totally smooth (you may need to add a little extra water). Pour the blitzed beans back into the pan with the whole ones and season with the lemon juice, zest and salt. Keep warm until ready to serve
To make the pesto, place all the ingredients apart from the oil and the salt into a blender or food processor and pulse until combined (but not completely smooth). Drizzle in the oil until a loose pesto consistency is achieved, then season with salt. This will make more pesto than you need for this dish, but it will keep for a few days in the fridge and can be used in all sorts of other dishes. Alternatively, you could also use shop-bought basil pesto
To cook the malawach, heat a tablespoon of the clarified butter in a pan over a medium-high heat. Fry the flatbreads on each side until crisp and golden
To serve, divide the ful medames between 4 bowls and top with a spoonful of yoghurt and pesto. Cut each malawach in half and serve up alongside
First published in 2020
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