Kacang Pool / Malaysian Foul Medammas
I was introduced to kacang pool only very recently, near the end of our stay in Kuching. My friends, who grew up in West Malaysia, and who knew this dish well, wanted to introduce this dish to us. My friend JY told us that kacang pool (as it is called in Malaysia) was derived from the Middle Eastern dish known as foul medammas, which was made from fava beans.
It was served with a sunny side egg and a side of buttered toast. All of that was great to sop up the runny egg and sauce of this dish. That day, as I was eating it, I thought it reminded me very much of American chilli but with some slightly different spices perhaps.
Of course, once I discovered this delicious dish, I set about to make it myself. The first thing I had to do was get myself some of those cans of foul medammas (which my friend said could be found in some grocery stores). Unfortunately for me, I could not seem to locate any in Kuching though I did make an effort to look in all the grocery stores I visited. I even tasked my friend to help me look. Alas, we never did find it.
Once we got back to KL though, it was hard NOT to find. In every grocery store, there were the cans staring me in the face. Delighted, I procured two cans and set about looking for recipes. Now, this is where it got interesting. When I looked up foul medammes, I found many recipes that were quite simple and called for the fava beans and some spices.
Can of Foul Medammas
When I looked for recipes using the Malay name “kacang pool,” I found that the dishes were more luxurious, using ground beef and more spices along with butter or ghee. I realized that Malaysians had once again transformed an ethnic dish and made it their own by adding their own local twist to it. This is true of most dishes you find in Malaysia whether it be Chinese, Indian, Malay or in this case, Arabic in nature. They are uniquely Malaysian.
Being Malaysian, I of course, leaned towards the Malaysian style of making this dish. Perhaps it’s not the most authentic or original, but it’s a taste my family enjoyed and so I’ll continue to make it the way I was introduced to it.
In the Malaysian kacang pool version, there would be spices (fennel, cumin, coriander, ginger), aromatics (onion and garlic), meat (ground beef) and fat (butter or ghee). On top of that, the garnish was just as important and gave contrasting flavors and textures to round out the whole dish. Make sure you don’t forget to include the garnish. Even though this dish is eaten typically at breakfast time, I enjoy it any time at all and have even served it for dinner. But then I’ve served bacon and eggs for dinner so you understand that I’m not averse to breakfast at dinner. Eat it with sunny side up eggs and some buttered toast and it’s a complete and hearty meal to start or end your day!
In the Malaysian kacang pool version, there would be spices (fennel, cumin, coriander, ginger), aromatics (onion and garlic), meat (ground beef) and fat (butter or ghee). On top of that, the garnish was just as important and gave contrasting flavors and textures to round out the whole dish. Make sure you don’t forget to include the garnish.
Even though this dish is eaten typically at breakfast time, I enjoy it any time at all and have even served it for dinner. But then I’ve served bacon and eggs for dinner so you understand that I’m not averse to breakfast at dinner. Eat it with sunny side up eggs and some buttered toast and it’s a complete and hearty meal to start or end your day!
Now that I’m back in California, I was again delighted when I found it at the ethnic grocery store I went to when I was looking for tahini and date syrup. The store (International Food Bazaar) was truly delightful. Like I said in my earlier post, I love ethnic stores because you never know what treasures you will find. When I was there, not only did I find tahini and date syrup, I also carted back cans of foul medammas, gaz (a Persian nougat), sumac and lavash bread.
Kacang Pool Recipe
Prep time: 20 min / Cook time: 30 min
Yield: serves 4-6
2 cans of foul medammas beans (you can find this at most Middle Eastern grocery stores)
1 lb ground beef
1 small red onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch ginger, grated
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 cup water
1-2 Tbsp butter or ghee
Salt and sugar to taste
2 shallots, finely diced
1 green or red chilli, sliced thin
4 calamansi limes (use regular limes if you cannot find calamansi), halved
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
4-6 eggs, cooked sunny side up
4-6 slices buttered toast
1. In a small fry pan, toast your fennel, cumin and coriander till fragrant. Let it cool and then, grind to a powder. Set aside.
2. Drain the cans off foul medammas, and mash one can and leave the other can of beans whole.
3. In a medium saute pan, melt the butter and add the diced onion, garlic and ginger on medium heat. Stir till onions are translucent.
4. Add in ground spices and saute till fragrant.
5. Add the beef and saute, breaking up larger chunks till all the ground beef is mostly cooked through. Season with some salt.
Making Kacang Pool
6. Add in the foul medammas beans and a cup of water and combine. If the mixture is too thick, add more water. Let it come to a boil, then lower heat to simmer. If the whole beans are too chunky, feel free to mash them up a little. The mixture should have the consistency of chilli. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes on low heat making sure that there is enough liquid. If the mixture looks dry, add more liquids.
Cooking Kacang Pool
6a. In the meantime, prepare your garnish, fry your eggs, and toast and butter your bread.
7. Season with salt and a little sugar to taste. Remember that the calamansi, chillies and shallots will add more flavor to the dish but you do want it to be salty enough.
8. Once it is flavored to your liking, dish out into individual bowls. Serve the egg on top. Garnish with shallots, chillies, and cilantro to your liking. Squeeze some lime juice over your bowl.
9. Dig in with a spoon, making sure to break the egg yolk all over the beans and use the bread to sop up the yummy mess.
Kacang Pool on Toast
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See other recipes using fava beans by: