Sana’s story – Sudan

Sana’s love for cooking began at the age of 10 in her home country of Sudan, guided by her Grandmother who bought her, her own small dish to practice with.

Sana says “every morning we would start the day with “Foul” (pronounced Fool)”. Foul is made from Fava beans, which have been soaked, cooked, mashed and flavoured with lemon and herbs.

“Every local shop would sell it: they’d cook it fresh and by 10am it would be ready for everyone to come and buy it”.

One of Sana’s most poignant memories of Sudanese cooking is the special foods she and her family would eat when breaking the fast at Ramadan: “we would cook a special stew which is made with dried meat and dried onion – I will always remember the smell of that special onion. We would eat this with Aseeda (a thick porridge) – when we’ve fasted we can’t eat strong things so this is very easy to digest”.

Growing her own food is important to Sana “I don’t have the space to grow my own at home, but I volunteer with the Communal garden in Barton Hill, so now every Wednesday I work for an hour or two in the garden there”.

Inspired by Sana’s recipe, here is a recipe for Foul:


cups dry fava beans


lemon, juiced

teaspoon garlic powder

cup minced parsley

pinch cayenne pepper

small cucumber, peeled and diced

medium tomatoes, diced

cup sliced onion

cup crumbled feta cheese

tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

pieces warm grilled pita bread, naan or other flat bread


  1. Sort the beans and place in saucepan;
  2. Cover with water until 2 inches higher than the beans.
  3. Boil for 3 minutes then remove from heat, cover and let set for one hour.
  4. Drain liquid and add liquid again to up to 2 inches over the top of beans. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until tender, for an hour or two.
  5. Mash beans until almost smooth
  6. Season with salt, garlic powder and lemon juice and cook for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  7. Place warm beans in bowl, and top with a mixture of chopped parsley, diced tomato, diced cucumbe, sliced green onion, and feta cheese.
  8. Season with a pinch of cayenne if you like and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil.

Serve with your favorite flatbread.