Thursday, October 6, 2011

Vegan MoFo - F is for Ful Medames

Ful Medames is something I have wanted to make ever since sampling it a Middle Eastern cafe last year. It's an Egyptian dish consisting of fava beans, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic which is traditionally served for breakfast with eggs and pita bread. When I tried ful medames, it was served with salad and pita bread which was a nice combination. I wanted to replicate this for our meal at home and had already prepared a batch of pita bread for my Ethiopian soup which meant some of the groundwork was already done.

I searched high and low for a recipe containing the right balance of elements that were etched into my memory but none of them seemed quite right. There were also conflicting methods around how the beans were served as several recipes left them whole whilst others mashed them into a refried bean consistency. The ones I had tried in the cafe were whole beans but I had a feeling that my bean-loathing son would prefer them mashed.

I ended up not following any of these recipes, used my intuition and taste tested along the way instead. After cooking the beans, I started with liberal amounts of the seasonings, tasted and then added more lemon and garlic as these were the flavours I could recall as standing out and were the ones that I adored. There was one hiccup in the meal which I will admit to, some of my beans were undercooked which meant they didn't mash well and were a little bit chewy. This was the first time I had cooked dried fava beans so I will remember to taste test more than one bean before declaring them ready next time around!

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Ful Medames 

1 1/2 cups dried fava beans, soaked for at least 8 hours
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves crushed garlic (or less if you aren't that keen on garlic)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
pepper, to taste
flat leaved parsley, for garnish

After the beans have been soaking for 8 hours, drain them in a colander and rinse well. Place the beans into a pot and fill with water until the beans are covered with at least 2cm of water. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer, covered for about 2 hours or until all of your beans are cooked through.

Drain into a colander, reserving the bean cooking liquid, then return the beans to the pot. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and cumin and mash well with a potato masher. You may need to add some of the bean cooking liquid if they are too dry. Reheat the beans on a low temperature and serve garnished with parsley.


  1. That looks delicious! I made this for the first time during last year's mofo and I agree, there were so many different recipes to choose from

  2. never had these but I keep meaning to try some - I think they have them in a tin near me - your version sounds great to me - fantastic photo!

  3. Neat - I learned something new today! I had never heard of ful medames before. :)

  4. Ful Medemes sounds really delicious! I'd never heard of it before now, but it's definitely a great combo of ingredients.

  5. I must confess to never having heard of this dish - or even fava beans! I continue to be amazed at just how many bean varieties are out there. I will keep a look out for them now :)

  6. Mandee, it can make it hard to decide when there is so much choice and variance between recipes.

    Johanna, it would be a really easy meal if you could find tinned fava beans to use.

    Carrie, I'm learning new things via MoFo everyday too. It's great!

    Jes, the beans were delicious and I really enjoyed the lemon and garlic flavour throughout.

    Kari, the amount of bean varieties around can be mind boggling. There are still quite a few out there that I haven't tried yet.