Rez Bel Fool
It has been a bumpy ride for the last few months, but all things pass and i'm ready to rock and roll again. I have lots of plans for recipes and lots of celebrations are heading my family’s way which I will share with you as we go along. For my first post back in the saddle I decided to make a family tradition dish which I attempted to get from my mum and yes, of course there is a story attached: it’s my mum…..
Rez bel fool:
Don’t you just love the name, it sounds like don’t be a fool to me, but then again, I’m eccentric. But don’t be fooled, this dish is delish, whatever it sounds like. It actually means ‘rice with beans’ (broad beans) and it’s a common dish in Lebanon which was eaten in spring before you could buy it frozen at the supermarket all year round. This is a family recipe that my Lebanese mum got from her mum who got it from her mum, so you can imagine how scared I am to tell my mum that I made my version of her rez bel fool and posted it for 2000 people to see, after she told me not to change a THING because I shouldn’t mess with family tradition. When we spoke on the phone, I reassured her that I would stick to her recipe (while I crossed my fingers) that’s not really lying if you cross your fingers is it?? I have to add, in all fairness to me I have written about the way my mum gives me the recipe: A little bit of this, a lot of that, when I ask how much is a lot her voice get louder and she repeats, “A LOT” and you can imagine how helpful that is. Sadly she has dementia so it took 5 phone calls to get the list of ingredients because she kept leaving things out. So when I altered the recipe just a little and we’re talking a little (I’m whispering for those of you who are wondering how little) it’s just a ½ teaspoon of this and ½ teaspoon of that with a couple of cinnamon sticks that’s it, oh and a little garnish of pistachio nuts. When I sent her the photo to test the water she got super cross because I made the addition of pistachio nuts. Boy, did she let me have it which is why I chose to keep the addition of the spices, to myself. She is already unhappy with the presentations of my food and desserts as it is. She often complains that I ruin the photos by using flowers when I post and I really should stick to just photographing the food and nothing else. When I tell her people actually like the photos she says “they’re being polite”. There is no pleasing some people. Like I said, sadly my mum has dementia, but the good news is that she won’t remember that I altered the recipe. This recipe is home for me, it transports me back in time to my childhood. A wholesome flavoursome vegan dish (before vegan was a thing) which is meant to be eaten as a side dish or part of a feast. I personally eat it as a main, sometimes with a fresh garden salad. This dish is simple, light and very flavoursome, it has such a distinct flavour I honestly can’t describe what it tastes like other than itself. I can tell you it’s definitely worth trying.
1 ¾ cup rice + 2 teaspoons oil
2 ½ cups water
½ teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon all spice
2 cinnamon sticks
500g frozen broad beans
3 purple onions (450g) cut into rings or half rings
2 tablespoons oil + 1 tablespoon
3 bunches of coriander stem removed finely chopped (it ends up being 1 ¼ cup of finely chopped coriander)
5 large cloves of garlic crushed
In a large saucepan cook the onions with 2 tablespoons of oil on medium low heat for 20-25min stirring occasionally or until onions have caramelised.
Add the 1 tablespoon of oil and stir in garlic until fragrant (about 1 minute) stir in beans, salt and coriander, stir thoroughly to combine.
Add 2 ½ cups of water and bring to the boil. While you are waiting for the water to boil prepare the rice.
Pour rice into a bowl add 2 teaspoon of oil and stir to coat the rice. Stir in salt, mixed spice and all spice, stir thoroughly to coat the rice.
Add rice to beans, stir to combine, add the cinnamon sticks, stir once again, then reduce heat to low and let it cook for 15-20 minutes until all the water has been absorbed and the rice has been cooked through.
Serve as a side dish or as a main.