Ful Medames: A Rich, Protein-Packed Meal From The Middle East

Most Indian pulses/lentils are infused with a lot of spices, making them delicious to be consumed all by itself as a one-pot meal. A bowl of pulses/lentils is packed with lots of protein and is an extremely healthy meal, especially for breakfast. There is one such stew in Middle Eastern cuisine called Ful medames that you must know about, simply because it might just remind you of Indian flavours by the time you’ve finished cooking it.


Ful medames are also called as just ‘Ful’ (Phool). Interestingly, Ful is an ancient dish that predates the Ottoman empire. Apparently, some traces of Ful have been found in tombs in Egypt, and if any food was found in an ancient tomb that was good enough for the afterlife, it is safe to assume that it must have been a popular culinary treat.

Even though it’s an Egyptian dish, it’s also prepared throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Ful medames is a common dish in countries like Djibouti, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Ethiopia, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia and Saudi Arabia.

Ful medames is a staple dish of the Egyptian diet, so much so that the price of beans is regulated by the government in order to ensure that they are affordable even for its most poor citizens. In many countries, street vendors sell Ful medames all day from morning to night. All one has to do is follow the aroma of the spiced and flavourful beans.

Process To Make Ful:

Ful medames, isn’t just a dish. It’s a culinary ritual. The dish is prepared with Fava beans (Broad beans) that have many health benefits as it is rich in fiber and protein.

Ful is usually slow-cooked in a special pot called “Edra”. The Fava beans are soaked, boiled, slowly simmered and later seasoned with garlic, lemon juice and olive oil.

Making Ful Medames: A Step By Step Recipe

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Ful is easier to make and as delectable than it looks. The dish can also be adapted to various palates.

  • Wash the fava beans thoroughly, pick any deformed ones and discard them away.
  • Soak the beans overnight in cold water. If you add a teaspoon of baking soda to the water while soaking them, it helps with digestion or heartburn issues. Change the water once or twice if you can.
  • Before you begin cooking, rinse and drain the beans. Later place them in a cooker and keep checking them every 30 minutes whilst cooking on a slow flame for about four hours.
  • Once the beans have cooked, season them with grated garlic, lemon juice and olive oil

Ful Medames Cooking Tips:

  • If you cannot find fava beans you can use pinto beans as it is the closest in taste and size.
  • Ful can be garnished with various options as mentioned below:
  1. Tahini, Akawi cheese, and olives (green)
  2. Diced tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and parsley
  3. Diced tomatoes, onions and boiled eggs
  4. Somali spice flavoured tomato puree and Akawi Cheese

This hearty stew is traditionally served out of big metal jugs with freshly baked pita bread. Flavourful, healthy, nutritious and easy to prepare, this stew is literally a blast from the past.

Are you going to try this stew soon? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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