Ful medames, (or foul muddamas) might just be the new hummus! Creamy fava beans lightly spiced with cumin are topped with an herby lemon and garlic dressing.
Serve ful medames with warm pita bread and fresh veggies, or eat it for breakfast as they do in Lebanon.
If you've never tried medames, you're seriously missing out. It's creamy like hummus, but has a dressing of lemony olive oil and a spicy salad. It's earthy and tangy and hits all the right taste buds.
You can serve medames as a dip ( I guarantee everyone will ask for the recipe), or you can eat it as a breakfast dish as they do in Egypt. So much better than our Western bowl of cereal. Don't you think?
I've included a bunch of regional variations of this heavenly dip, so if you want to switch it up you can enjoy ful medames as the Syrians, Sudanese or Lebanese folks do.
Top Tip: If you like Egyptian dishes, you might also like Koshari.
What Is Ful Medames?
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.
This Egyptian fava bean dip 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.
- Lebanese Ful Medames: Lebanese ful is typically made using a combination of fava beans and chickpeas. The ratio is 2:1 fava beans to chickpeas.
- Syrian Ful Medames: In Syria, you might eat ful medames for breakfast. Syrians like to swirl tahini into their beans, which makes them extra creamy and rich.
- Sudanese Ful Medames: 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 African Ful Medames: Ful medames appears all over North Africa as a spicy bean stew. Try adding harissa paste for an authentic North African twist.
- Somalian Ful Medames: 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.
- Fava Beans: This ful medames 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. Garlic and lemon are what make this Egyptian fava bean dip 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.
How To Make Ful Medames
- Saute your chopped onions for 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin and saute for a further minute.
- Drain and rinse your fava 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 fava beans are finished cooking, smash some of them 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!
- Serve with a Lebanese flatbread such as Za'atar Bread - Za'atar Manaquish.
- Use these easy to make Ultimate Vegan Potato Tortillas. Use the tortillas for dipping, or even make a yummy wrap sandwich.
- Serve as part of a grazing board. For more ideas on how to make a beautiful vegan charcuterie board, see my article: How To Make The Best Vegan Charcuterie Board.
- Serve with my to easy to make Lentil Chips- High Protein and Gluten Free.
- Serve with my gluten free chickpea chips.
- Fava bean dip would be a welcome addition to any falafel mezze board. You could also use it in a falafel sandwich.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, there's no gluten in ful medames.
Absolutely. Fava beans are rich in protein and fiber. They're also absolutely loaded with nutrients. They're rich in copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, riboflavin, calcium and phosphorous.
Store them in a shallow airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Craving More Easy Vegan Recipes?
Egyptian Koshari by A Little Nomad
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 red onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 cans fava beans
- 1 cup water
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lemon juice of
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- small handful parsley finely chopped
- 4 cherry tomatoes cut in half
- large handful parsley finely chopped
- a few jalapeno peppers
- 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. *see note 1
- 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!
- I like to remove about a third of the fava beans and smash them. If you have an immersion blender, that works well here too.
- Store ful medames in an an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.