Recipe: Ful Medames - Egyptian Fava Beans

March 02, 2009

I was doing a little research on Egypt and had a rare flash of brilliance. Instead of reading about ancient dietary habits, why not track down a few recipes and try the food? So my stomach went on a journey and it came back fully satisfied.

Ful (pronounced FOOL) is commonly eaten at breakfast, and one of Egypt's national dishes. It's hearty and filling! The traditional method of preparing ful involves soaking dried fava beans overnight, then letting all the ingredients stew on low heat for 12 hours. I've cheated by using canned beans to avoid the soaking and long cooking time and combined a couple recipes I found online.

Job wanted: being paid to travel the world and eat. Hello Food Network? Are you hiring?

Ful Medames - Egyptian Fava Beans Serves 4


  • 2 cans of fava beans (approximately 4 cups) rinsed well.
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 3 diced cloves of garlic
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 large chopped tomato
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Optional: 3 tbsp cilantro, 1 tbsp chili flakes, and 1 tbsp chili oil (my additions! I like a little spice)


  1. Cook the lentils according to the package directions or using your usual method.
  2. Saute the garlic, onions, tomato, and chili in oil.
  3. Add the fava beans to the onion garlic mix and let simmer for 30 minutes
  4. Add in the cooked lentils and let simmer. Add cilantro now if you want. (I like to add some extra into the cooking because I always buy too much...)
  5. Cook until the beans are as mashed as you like. Some like them whole, and others like them mashed. I like something in between.
  6. Season to taste
  7. Serve with flat bread to scoop it up. Yum!
  • Olive oil or melted butter
  • Chopped hard boiled egg
  • Garlic sauce - in a mortar and pestle pound garlic, salt, and chopped cilantro together. (My personal favorite!)
  • Egyptian Tomato sauce - You can find a recipe here.
This is easy, filling, and you won't miss the meat at all.

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