Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tirmis on My Terms

Dear Tirmis,
I hope you don't mind if I call you Tirmis. You see, I can't seem to take you seriously when they call you "Lupini Bean". In fact, I didn't know that Lupini was your other name until after I got married which was over 3 years ago. (Thanks for not coming to the wedding, by the way.) Let's go back in time. Remember when we were kids? I would call out to you from my bedroom window, "Tiiirrrmiiiisss!" but to my disappointment, you didn't always come running home. You hung out downtown by the Nile instead. I don't get why you would never come over. Don't you know that mommy cooks everything she finds in her house with equal love and care? Why didn't you jump into the shopping cart at the grocery store? Why didn't you hide in the cupboard until she found you and got so bored of seeing you that she made you? Couldn't you see my love for you? Couldn't you feel my yearning, my longing, my need to run up to the hand-drawn tirmis cart on the street and let Tirmis Man give me a paper cone full of yellow you? According to Mommy, Tirmis Man who sold you wasn't very clean and neither was his cart so in turn, you weren't either. I couldn't meet you on the street like other kids either. No siree, not me. Especially after my cousin's husband entertained us with a story about how the people who prepare you by the Nile supposedly pee on you to get rid of your bitterness and add that extra saltiness we collectively crave as Egyptians. I couldn't have you at home because you refused to come over AND I couldn't buy you from the supposedly unclean Tirmis Man. The only times I got to have you were when we went out to a proper establishment where they would dump you, tirmis, on the table in hopes that maybe we'd buy more drinks to get more termis. [You should thank me because by now, I've said your name so many times that everyone foreign to Egypt knows your Egyptian name.] So Tirmis... Essmat, my friend, is leaving back to Cairo where you're casually hanging by Tahrir Square and she had some of you left in her kitchen in Malaysia because you managed to jump into her shopping cart here so she gave you to me and now you are under my mercy, all 500 grams of you. Serves you right for avoiding me for 26 years. Enjoy being soaked and boiled - our torturous version of waterboarding. After all, we've got to get rid of your bitter edge. 
Cackling and Callousness,

Egyptian Termis (Lupini Beans)
You'll need:
250 grams of lupini beans
The juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
salt to taste
[After being soaked for a day.]
Lupini beans are very bitter. They must be boiled and soaked in several changes of water for several days. They're eaten by biting the seed to press the flesh into the mouth and then discarding the skin. Soak the lupini beans for 24 hours and drain the next day. Fill a pot with water and add the beans. Bring to a boil then leave to simmer until the bean is soft but firm. Drain again and add to salter water. Continue to change the salted water until the bitterness subsides. To serve, add the beans to a serving dish, add the lime juice and the cumin and mix through. 


  1. I love tirmis! And your photos are absolutely GORGEOUS.
    PS. I'm Egyptian too! :)

  2. Hey Nourhan, thanks for dropping by. Thanks for saying the photos are gorgeous. At least one of us seems to think so. I left you a comment on your blog.

  3. Im making this right now.. I'll let you know how it goes:)

  4. DONE! It's amazing, required a lot of patience but it's worth it, I added chili powder though:)


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