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Ful Medames (Fava Beans)
Ful medames is one of the most popular breakfast recipes in Middle Eastern cuisine. It’s a staple food in Egypt, for which reason it’s also known as Egyptian broad beans. Besides, ful medames is a hugely popular dish in other Arab countries, from Lebanon, Syria to Jordan.
I’m going to show you how to make ful at home, and explain to you some regional variations of this dish.
What is Ful?
Ful medames, also known as ful mudammas, foul medames or simply foul (pronounced fuul) is a simple stew made of fava beans (broad beans), sometimes chickpeas and a few warm spices. Following the traditional recipe, the cooked beans are mashed and served hot with warm bread.
The dish is traditionally served for breakfast. Today, most people will eat it for breakfast, brunch or lunch on weekends. While ful is very easy to prepare, it’s a very filling and nutritious dish.
It’s originally from Egypt but it’s very popular across the Middle East and even beyond.
Ful Medames Ingredients
While ful is a simple dish, there are different ways to prepare it. The recipe varies from region to region, and even from one family to another. Some ful recipes call for fava beans (broad beans) and chickpeas, while others only require fava beans.
I’m going to show you the ful recipe the way it’s prepared in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, consisting of both fava beans and chickpeas.
- Fava beans: Fava beans, also known as broad beans, are the main ingredient in ful. You can use either dried fava beans or canned fava beans. More on the advantages of each and how to prepare them below.
- Chickpeas: Many ful recipes contain chickpeas in addition to fava beans. A ratio of 2 (fava beans) to 1 (chickpeas) is ideal, but you can also make it half and half.
- Tahini: Tahini is a thick paste made from sesame seeds. It’s commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisine and will give your ful medames a slightly nutting flavor. For ful, tahini is optional. Most people use it, but you can also leave it out.
- Garlic: Crushed garlic cloves are perfect.
- Lemon: You can add freshly squeezed lemon (or lemon juice) to your ful. Alternatively, serve cut up lemon when serving. Either way, lemon truly adds to the taste and should not be skipped.
- Seasonings: Salt and cumin are all you need for ful. Optionally, you can add pepper, chili powder and other spices of your choice.
- Tomato and parsley: Roughly chopped tomato and finely chopped parsley (or cilantro) are traditionally added as garnish when serving.
Note: Quantities can be found in the recipe card at the end of this recipe and can be adjusted according to the amount of servings you’d like to make.
How to Make Ful
Please note that I’m using canned beans for my ful recipe, to make it a quick and easy breakfast. You can also use dried beans instead.
Step 1: Prepare the garlic and lemon
First, we’re going to prepare the garlic and the lemon. Peel the garlic cloves and crush the garlic (or finely chop). Squeeze a lemon. Set aside.
Step 2: Drain the chickpeas
Keep in mind that you’ll have to drain the chickpeas, but not the fava beans (keep that canned closed for now). Drain the chickpeas in a colander. Rinse them thoroughly with cold water. Briefly let drain, then transfer the chickpeas into a saucepan.
Step 3: Add fava beans
Pour the canned fava beans into the saucepan together with the liquids. In contrast to the chickpeas, the fava beans don’t need to be drained. The liquids will be the base for your sauce. Turn on the stove on medium heat.
Step 4: Add garlic and seasonings
Add the crushed garlic (from step 1), cumin powder and salt to the saucepan. Stir well. Let simmer on low to medium heat for about 7-8 minutes. During that time, your beans will get soft and the sauce will mix with the seasonings.
Step 5: Prepare the garnish
While the beans are cooking, you can make use of the time to prepare the garnish. Ful medames is traditionally garnished with chopped tomatoes and parsley or cilantro. Both will add to the taste. Chop the tomato and the parsley/cilantro and set aside.
Step 6: Mash
Remove the saucepan from the stove. Use a masher to mash half to three quarters of the beans. That way, you’ll get a thick consistency which will be easy to eat with bread, instead of beans in water. Add tahini and lemon juice.
Step 7: Serve
Garnish with chopped tomato and parsley. Serve warm with fresh bread.
Cooked Fava Beans vs. Dried Fava Beans
Ful is made from fava beans which is one of the most commonly used legumes in Middle Eastern cuisine. Fava beans can be purchased either dried or canned. Each of them has their advantages and downsides.
Dried fava beans can be purchased in bulk which makes them much cheaper when compared to their canned counterparts. On the downside, they require some effort. Dried fava beans need to be soaked overnight (ideally 12-14 hours). The next morning, the soaked beans need to be cooked for about 1 – 1 ¼ hours. Once they are cooked, you’ll add the tahini and seasonings and mash them as per this recipe. Dried fava beans are the best option if you’d like to prepare a large quantity of beans. It’s not worthwhile for small portions.
Canned beans are a great way to save time. In fact, many modern families use canned fava beans and canned chickpeas to make ful. It’s a true time saver if you want to (spontaneously) prepare ful for breakfast or brunch. They are briefly cooked in the same pan, seasoned and mashed. When preparing small quantities, canned beans are the best option. One can of fava beans and half a can of chickpeas is enough for 2-3 people.
How to Serve Ful
Ful is cooked (and mashed) in a metal pot or saucepan. Traditionally, it’s served in the same pot. However, you can also serve it in individual bowls of course.
What to Serve with Ful Medames
Ful is traditionally served for breakfast. It also makes a great brunch or lunch. It’s commonly served with bread. Homemade pita bread is the best choice. If you’re short in time, you can just buy Middle Eastern flat bread in the grocery store.
Depending on how many people there are and how much time you have, you can serve it with other mezze. That’s basically a range of small dishes and the way people eat in the Middle East.
Serving for breakfast:
- Pita bread
- Boiled eggs
- Sliced tomatoes and cucumbers
- Mezze such as hummus, falafel, labneh or manakeesh
Make Ahead & Storage
If you decide to make ful from dried fava beans (and dried chickpeas), it’s best to make a large quantity. That’s because of the cooking time of dried fava beans, which isn’t worth the effort if you’d like to make one or two portions. That being said, ful isn’t a dish that you’d typically prepare in large quantities ahead of time (unless you have a big family). You can store the cooked beans in the fridge and use them for foul or other recipes in the coming 3-4 days.
Leftovers (mashed and seasoned) can be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. It’s always better to store a dish without lemon, and add lemon when serving. Add a little water when warming up, as the gravy might become too thick when stored in the fridge.
Any Questions or Feedback?
If you liked this recipe, I’d appreciate it if you could leave a star rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. In case you’ve any questions or feedback, please leave me a comment (down the page). I’m happy to help you make delicious Middle Eastern food at home.
Ful Medames (Fava Beans)
Ful medames (ful mudammas) is a simple stew made of fava beans, chickpeas and a few warm spices. It’s traditionally served for breakfast, with cut up lemon and pita bread.
- 400 g (1.5 cups) fava beans 1 can = 400 g = 1.5 US cups (with brine!)
- 100 g (0.5 cups) chickpeas 1/2 can = 100 g = 1/2 US cups (drained!)
- 1 Tbsp tahini sesame paste
- 0.5 lemon
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tomato
- 0.5 tsp ground cumin
- 0.5 tsp salt
- Parsley for garnish
- Peel the garlic cloves, then crush the garlic. Squeeze a lemon. Set aside.
- Drain the chickpeas in a colander. Rinse with cold water. Transfer to a saucepan.
- Pour the canned fava beans into the saucepan, including the liquids. Turn on the stove on medium heat.
- Add the crushed garlic, cumin powder and salt to the saucepan. Cook over low to medium heat for about 7-8 minutes.
- While the beans are cooking, finely chop the tomato and the parsley for garnish. Set aside.
- Remove the saucepan from the stove. Mash around ½ to ¾ of the beans. Add tahini and lemon juice.
- Serve in the saucepan or transfer to small bowls. Garnish with chopped tomato and parsley. Add fresh lemon juice. Serve warm with fresh bread.
- To make this recipe quick and easy, I’m using canned beans. Of course, you’re free to use dried fava beans and chickpeas. Note that they need to be soaked overnight before you can cook them.
Calories: 372kcalCarbohydrates: 61gProtein: 22gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 602mgPotassium: 920mgFiber: 17gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 573IUVitamin C: 25mgCalcium: 131mgIron: 5mg
Nutrition information is only a rough estimate and may vary depending on factors such as the cooking method, exact weight, type, and brand of ingredients used.
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