I’ve sung the praises of middle Eastern food before on this blog but I haven’t yet touched on Ful. Ful Medames (also spelt foule mudammas or Ful mudammes) is a mouth wateringly delicious Egyptian breakfast dish popular all over the Levant. The recipes vary as much as the region but essentially it consists of cooked broad (fava) beans blended with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and cumin. A bit of a surprise it hasn’t cropped up here yet then; full as it is with all my favourite flavours. I have to confess though that I hadn’t tried it at all until recently when a good friend of mine (who experienced it first hand from the Syrian refuges she helps out) pointed me in its direction. I owe her; I’ve been hooked ever since my first mouthful and amazed that the rest of the world doesn’t want to start the day with the same style.
Now I’m not from that region so I can’t claim that my version is authentic but I can claim it’s delicious. And from all I’ve read on its provenance this is the way forward; every family seems to have their own take on it as with all the best traditional dishes. I’ve adapted it to suit busy cooks by using tinned beans and have added a little za’atar to accompany the cumin. We like ours for a weekend brunch, or a meat free midweek supper so we use loads of beans paired with Lebanese flatbreads (tortilla wraps or chapattis would also do the trick) folded round some hard boiled eggs, tomatoes diced up with spring onions (scallions) and sometimes cucumber but it is versatile. Feel free to pick the sides to suit your family’s tastes and the occasion; I’m sure it would also score top marks as a quick and easy lunch time filling for pittas. I’m not sure what else you’d want from a meal. Ready in 15 minutes, full of high fibre healthy, fresh ingredients and bursting with flavour with only one pot to wash up afterwards. Who could ask for more?
Ful Medames Recipe
2 x 400g tins broad beans (fava beans)
1 x 400g tin chick peas
6 cloves garlic
2 tsps cumin seeds
2 tsps za’atar
1-2 tsps cayenne pepper (depending on taste)
Juice of 1-2 lemons
60ml olive oil (more if you like)
2 tbsps chopped flat leaves parsley or coriander
Salt and pepper
Flatbreads or pita breads
3-4 spring onions
Hard boiled eggs
Open and drain the tins of beans and decant them into a heavy bottomed pan. Slice the garlic and cover with cold water.
Bring to the boil and simmer for ten minutes.
Meanwhile hard boil some eggs.
When the beans are finished and are nicely soft, roughly mash a quarter to a half of them and all of the garlic.
Gently stir in the rest of the beans. Grind the cumin and za’atar with a pestle and mortar and then stir them through the beans along with the oil, cayenne and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and do a quick taste check. Sprinkle over the freshly chopped parsley or coriander and it’s ready to go.
Warm through your flatbreads if you fancy and chop the tomatoes and spring onions. Mix them together in a bowl and put them on the table too along with the eggs (chopped into quarters), flatbreads and the beans.
Pile whatever you fancy into a flatbread and devour only keep the napkins close at hand.