Ful medames is a fava bean stew flavored with olive oil, lemon juice and spices. Usually served for breakfast, this Egyptian classic is so easy to make and is ready in less than 30 minutes. Follow along to learn how to make ful medames at home.
When it comes to breakfast, I'm all in for Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes. From Turkish Çilbir and borek to shakshuka and manakeesh, I love me some flavorful savory breakfast any day of the year. Ful medames is another favorite of mine and I can't wait to share it with you!
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Egyptian fava beans (Ful medames)
Ful medames, also known as foul mudammas or simply ful, is an Egyptian savory stew made with fava beans and topped with a good glug of olive oil, tomatoes, herbs and sometimes onions and hot peppers. Some say ful is Egypt's national dish and dates back all the way to the ancient Egypt and then found its way into other countries including Lebanon, Palestine and Syria.
This fava bean stew is usually served for breakfast and is so hearty and easy to make. I first came across foul mudammas when I was traveling in Dubai and tasted it in various restaurants and hotel breakfasts. Like many other dishes from the Middle East and the Mediterranean, there are various ways to make ful medames.
All about fava beans
If you're not familiar with fava beans, also known as broad beans, they're somewhat large beans that have a creamy texture with a nutty flavor. Fresh fava beans are green and usually come in pods. To cook them fresh, check out my Persian fava beans recipe.
Dried fava beans are usually brown with a small black line in the middle. Like any other bean, you need to soak them in water for a while and then cook them in water for a couple of hours until tender. You can also find canned fava beans in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean stores, which is more convenient.
Ingredients to make Ful Medames
- Fava beans: To make this recipe easier, I use canned fava beans which I drain and rinse prior to cooking.
- Olive oil: Like any other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern recipe, quality olive oil makes all the difference in this recipe.
- Onion and garlic: I love using red onion for this recipe, but white onion would work as well. You don't need much garlic for this recipe as we want the flavor of the fava beans to shine.
- Tomatoes: Use fresh tomatoes and dice them finely. Canned tomatoes are not suitable for this recipe.
- Spices: You need paprika, cumin and salt.
- Lemon juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice adds some brightness and zing to the creamy fava beans.
- Topping: I love topping ful with diced tomatoes, chopped parsley and some sliced jalapenos or chili peppers.
How to make ful medames
- Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. Saute the onion until translucent. Add in the garlic and cook for a minutes.
- Add the diced tomatoes followed by the fava beans and the spices. Pour in the water and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
- With the back of a wooden spoon, gently press and mash some of the fava beans to give the mixture a creamy texture. Finish with the lemon juice.
- Transfer the ful medames into a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Top with diced tomatoes, chopped parsley and slice jalapeno.
Storage and reheating
Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Reheat in a pan or a saucepan over medium heat for about 15 minutes. You might need to add a bit more water and olive oil since it tends to dry a bit in the fridge.
This dish also freezes well. To do so, let the ful cool completely then transfer it to a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, let it thaw in the fridge overnight or reheat from frozen.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, however keep in mind that it would take longer to make this dish using dried fava beans. To do so, soak the beans in water for 2 hours, drain and boil them for 1 to 2 hours until fully cooked and tender. Then proceed with the recipe as instructed.
As I mentioned before, there are so many ways to make foul mudammas. You can leave out the tomatoes (and even the onions) if desired and simply cook the beans for a bit, then roughly mash and serve. However, I find the onions, garlic and tomatoes to round the dish pretty well.
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Ful Medames Recipe (Egyptian fava beans)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ red onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 large tomato chopped
- 2 cans fava beans 15 ounces each
- ½ tsp paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 lemon juice of
Topping and serving
- 3 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1 tomato chopped
- ½ cup fresh parsley chopped
- 1 fresh jalapeno sliced
- Pita bread
- Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. Saute the onion until translucent.
- Add in the minced garlic and cook for a minute. Add the chopped tomatoes as well.
- Drain and rinse the fava beans. Add them to the tomatoes followed by the paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Add ½ cup water, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
- Using the back of a wooden spoon, gently press and mash almost half of the fava beans to give the ful a creamy texture. Add in the lemon juice and stir.
- Transfer the ful medames to a serving bowl and top with olive oil, tomatoes, parsley and jalapeno. Serve with pita bread.
- You can use dried fava beans for this recipe, however, it would take longer. For this recipe, use 1 cup dried fava beans and soak them in water for 2 hours. Then drain and place them in a pot and fill it with water until it covers the beans by 3 inches. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 hours or until the beans are fully cooked and tender. Drain and use them in the recipe as instructed above.
- Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Reheat in a pan or saucepan over medium heat for about 15 minutes. It's best to add a bit of water and olive oil while reheating since fava beans dry out when refrigerated.
- You can also freeze this dish for up to 4 months. To serve, thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat or place the frozen ful in a pot with some water over medium heat and stir occasionally until fully thawed and reheated.