Over the years I would ask my mother for a recipe and her response would always be, “just put a little bit of this, a handful of that & spoonful this.” I would find this very frustrating because I couldn’t cook that way & whenever I tried I (almost always) got it wrong. Over time and with a bit of experimentation it started to work for me and I could taste my Mum’s cooking coming through. After all no Lebanese dish tasted right if it didn’t taste the your mother made it!
Ironically, though, I now cook all my Lebanese dishes this way with mostly no recipes throwing in a little bit of this and a little bit of that! And for that reason I have been reluctant to post a recipe for this Fava Bean & Chickpea Porridge until I had it right. Now those who already make this dish may very well make it slightly differently. Many may also use fresh beans and chickpeas, soak them overnight and all that jazz. I do do this on the odd occasion but more often than not I use cans because four hungry kids on any morning are not going to wait 1 – 2 hours for breakfast.
So here’s my recipe which is enough for about 5-6 people and leftovers keep really well for a couple of days in the refrigerator. Just reheat & drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil.
Fava Bean & Chickpea Porridge
4 x 400g cans fava beans
2 x 400g cans chickpeas
1 teaspoon cumin
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for serving)
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
- Drain and rinse cans of fava beans & chickpeas. Place in a large saucepan with cumin. Add just enough water to cover beans & peas. On a medium heat bring to the boil. All you are doing is heating through the beans & chickpeas.
- Once it comes to the boil take off heat. Drain beans & chickpeas into a bowl, remembering to retain at least 2/3 cup of the liquid you boiled it in (this is important!). Roughly mash with a spoon or pestle and add the garlic, salt, olive oil & juice of 1 1/2 lemons (add more or less to taste). Mix together (please note: the longer you leave this mixture to stand the more of the liquid it will absorb & dry out.)
- Serve in bowls topped with chopped mint, parsley, spring onions, tomatoes & radish & a big drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. You can eat it with a spoon as you do a typical porridge but I recommend you eat it with some fresh Lebanese bread!