Ful medames, (or foul muddamas) is a traditional Egyptian dishes made of cumin- spiced fava beans topped with a lemon and garlic dressing. Served with flat breads and salad, it's typically eaten for breakfast, but is also a popular street food sold in a pita as a sandwich. Ful Medames is so loved by Egyptians, that it's the national dish.
Ful Medames is pre-Ottoman and pre-Islamic. Some writers have suggested that it may date back to the pharaohs. While it originated in Egypt, it appears in cuisines all over the world. Different variations might inspire you to create your own twist on this much loved Arabic dish.
- Lebanon: Lebanese ful is typically made using a combination of fava beans and chickpeas. The ratio is 2:1 fava beans to chickpeas.
- Syria: In Syria, you might eat ful medames for breakfast. Syrians like to swirl tahini into their beans, which makes them extra creamy and rich.
- Sudan: The Sudanese call it Sahan ful ( a plate full of beans) or ful masri (Egyptian beans). Typically it's served with sesame oil and arugula (rocket). You could also add a simple vegan cheese.
- North Africa: Ful medame appears all over North Africa as a spicy bean stew. Try adding harissa paste for an authentic North African twist.
- Somalia: Somalians bake their ful. Simply add the presoaked beans to a casserole dish, cover with 2 inches of water, add copious amounts of cumin and garlic and bake covered for four hours.
Ingredients in Ful Medames:
- Fava Beans: This ful medame recipe uses canned fava beans, but if you prefer to use dried beans, soak them overnight and cook them for 2-2 ½ hours over low heat. You will need one cup of dried fava beans to yield three cups cooked.
- Olive Oil: We'll be using olive oil to cook the red onion before adding the fava beans. Olive oil will increase the creaminess and depth of flavor of the finished dish.
- Garlic: Garlic is in the fava beans and the dressing in ful medames. Garlic and lemon are what make ful medames so special.
- Red Onion: Red onions provide a flavor base for the cooked fava beans.
- Cumin: Cumin is one of the most essential spices in Egyptian cooking.
- Lemon Juice: Tangy lemon juice lifts creamy earthy fava beans.
- Pickled Jalapenos: I don't suppose the Egyptians would have used jalapenos, but I think they're too tasty to miss. You can substitute any chili pepper in this recipe, or omit it entirely.
- Parsley: Choose flat leaf parsley as opposed to curly leafed. It has a much more robust taste.
- Cherry Tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes are a typical topping for ful medames, but feel free to make your own salad.
- The first step is to saute the onions for 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin and saute for a further minute.
- Drain and rinse the beans and add them to the pan along with the water. Simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes.
- While the beans are simmering, combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl or jug and chop your salad vegetables.
- When the beans are finished cooking smash some of the beans with a potato masher or the back of a fork. If you prefer a creamier consistency, you can use an immersion blender.
- Serve ful medames in soup bowls accompanied by flat breads, salad and pickles. Pass the lemon and garlic sauce around and enjoy!
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- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 cans fava beans
- 1 cup (250 ml) water
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lemon juice of
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- small handful parsley finely chopped
- cherry tomatoes cut in half
- large handful parsley finely chopped
- Heat the olive oil in a medium size saucepan. Saute the onion for 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and the cumin and saute for a further minute.
- Drain and rinse the fava beans. Transfer them to the saucepan, add the water and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.
- When the fava beans have finished cooking mash some of them with a potato masher or the back of a fork. Stir to incorporate the whole fava beans.
- Meanwhile, combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
- Sprinkle parsley over the top and add the tomatoes and jalapenos. Serve with flat bread and pickles. Pass the dressing around and enjoy!