Decades ago walkers around Turvey fields might have wondered about fields of small broad bean pods which were not harvested at the usual time. The pods were allowed to become black and dry, with wizened leaves. The plants were clearly dead but mostly not fallen over. This appeared to be wasteful until an enlightening conversation with Ralph Leaper, former Farm Manager for Turvey Farms Ltd., who knows everything about farming around Turvey.
In 2017, when asked why we waste fields of perfectly good beans, Ralph explained they are not harvested until they have dried in the pods. We are specialist exporters of tic beans. They are also called fava beans which are available in most health food stores. The 2017 Turvey harvest was delayed by rain which caused the booked ship at Southampton to be held up waiting for the just-in-time delivery of our beans. Ralph knows the Egyptians have a tradition of cooking them.
Internet searching revealed that the centuries old Egyptian meal of fu-ul is how our dried tic beans become a much loved, nutritious and very healthy food eaten for breakfast, lunch and in the evening, depending on other ingredients. Test out preparing fu-ul starting with dried fava beans using a simplified chilli, cumin, coriander and onions version (without lentils or red beans). It is easy to see why it is a staple in Egypt. Noha Serageldin explains that fu-ul is the “perfect fuel.” It is pure comfort food, particularly prepared to her father’s recipe. It is extremely filling and slow to digest because of its “high fibre content, releasing a steady stream of energy for several hours after consumption. It is packed with protein, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals (iron, copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium). It is an excellent source of folates, vitamins B1 and B6 and one of the highest plant sources of potassium.”