Ful Medames


This is one of my favourite breakfasts. It is pure comfort food, cheap to make, fresh and easy. There are a lot of variations on how to make it both between and within countries.

In Egypt ful medames is a staple food and served generally quite plain.The levantine countries prefer to jazz the whole affair up with parsley, olive oil, tomato, onion, garlic and spices. Or ‘chuck a salad on top of it’ in the words of an Egyptian friend.

Canned beans, dried beans, all mashed, part mashed, not mashed, garlic or not, tomatoes or not, to combine with chickpeas or not and so forth. Essentially the fava beans are the only given in the recipe.

You can get good quality canned beans – please see the link here to view Ful beans which avoids the overnight soak / boil for 2 1/2 hours / drain / reserve liquid and store. If you do lots of beans at once though they store very well in the freezer in 1/2 kilo portions.

Ingredients – enough for 4

Half kilo cooked weight fava beans

Handful of chickpeas (optional)

Juice of one lemon

2 spring onions finely sliced

2 medium green chilli peppers finely chopped or more if you like spice.

Cumin -1 1/2 heaped teaspoons toasted and then crushed

Ground coriander – I level teaspoon

1 clove of garlic crushed or finely chopped

2 tomatoes peeled and finely chopped

Large handful of chopped parsley

Small handful of chopped mint

Plenty of fruity olive oil

Salt – to taste

First heat up the beans in some water. Simmer them in a pan with salt and 1/2 a clove of finely chopped garlic for approximately 15 minutes until most of the liquid is evaporated.

If you are using canned beans, do not use the liquid in the can; drain the beans well and use fresh water.

Meanwhile peel and chop the tomatoes. If you do not have a sharp peeler, to get the skin off the tomatoes by placing them in boiling water for 5 minutes, then run them under the cold tap and the skins will peel off easily. Chop to a small dice removing the seeds and core.

Combine all the other ingredients and set aside.

When the beans are ready put them in a bowl. I used to go for a whole mash but now I mash half and keep the other half whole; the flavours combine very well but the beans retain a more pleasant texture. Combine the mashed and unmashed beans and add the tomato mix. Put the beans on a plate, drizzle the dish with more olive oil and parsley.

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