Fasoulia

A bowl of fasoulia with pita bread.

Fasoulia is the Arab version of kuru fasülye. It is often served for breakfast, although it makes a delicious meal any time of day.

There are different versions in different countries all over the middle east, but they are all pretty similar so I didn’t attempt to go for a specific country. I know for a fact that my version is not super authentic, becuase I chose to follow the advice of couple of Americanized recipes that used curry powder in place of a spice mix called Baharat or “seven spice” that is traditionally used in that part of the world. What can I say? I was tired and hugry and didn’t feel like messing around to make a custom spice blend.

Much like the kuru fasülye, this recipe is a template. The meat is probably a special occasion addition in most homes in the Arab world. Don’t like things spicy? Leave out the jalapeno. Onions, beans and tomato are the constants, so start there and season to your taste.

I haven’t tried it, but a couple recipes I looked at suggested serving fasoulia with an egg on top. Sounds like a good breakfast to me! It is traditional to scoop it up with pita bread, or you could serve it with some rice pilaf.


Fasoulia

Serves:4
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 Hour
Total: 1:15

2 ½ Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
¾ jalapeno, minced
9 oz. beef, cubed
4 ¼ teaspoons tomato paste
1 large tomato, diced
OR
15 oz. can diced tomato
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons curry powder
2 cinnamon sticks
OR
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups water
2 (15 oz) cans red kidney beans or cannellini beans
OR
1 ¼ cup dry beans, soaked and cooked.

Optional:
vegetable oil (in place of some or all olive oil)
1 ½ teaspoons paprika
½ bunch cilantro
¾ teaspoon Lebanese 7-spice (Baharat)
¾ teaspoon dried cilantro
Zest and juice of ½ lemon
1 beef bouillon cube
⅔ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Rice Pilaf: 1 cup rice and ¼ cup vermicelli

Heat olive oil in a heavy pot or dutch oven. Saute onion for 8-10 minutes until beginning to brown. Add garlic and jalapeno and saute for another minute or two.

Add beef and cook until browned, stirring occasionally to brown all sides.

Add tomato paste, tomato, and all seasonings. Stir. Add Water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes, until beef is tender.

Add beans with their liquid. Cook for 15-20 minutes until heated through and sauce has thickened slightly. (If cooking your own beans, use only enough cooking water to get desired consistency)

Serve with pita bread or rice pilaf.

To make rice pilaf: Heat a Tablespoon or so of desired fat (olive oil, butter…) in a pot. Break the vermicelli into short pieces and saute until it starts to brown. Add rice and stir to coat with fat. Add 2 cups of water or chicken stock, bring to a boil, stir once, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until liquid is absorbed (10 to 15 minutes for white rice). Remove from heat, but do not remove lid, so that the rice continues to steam for another 10-15 minutes. Remove lid and fluff rice before serving.

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