Rose flavoured chewy sweets dipped in dark chocolate and decorated with a little white chocolate. The dark chocolate perfectly balances the sweetness of the Turkish …
This breakfast dish common to North Africa and the Middle East is made with fava beans and warming spices then topped with a citrus-dressed chopped salad. Perfect for scooping up with warm fluffy flatbread.
What is Ful Medames?
This ancient breakfast dish, originating in Egypt and then migrating to other countries such as Lebanon, Iraq, Ethiopia, Sudan and Morocco, is traditionally made by mashing fava beans cooked with cumin and then serving with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and chopped fresh parsley.
The recipe below has some some swaps, variations and extra additions to the traditional recipe and is very much loved by my family. My version of this recipe starts by frying onions with garlic and cumin, Pul Biber and oregano. I add chopped tomatoes and then the fava beans before mashing to coarse dip consistency. The final dish is served with a topper – a medley of chopped tomatoes, cucumber, red onions, fresh parsley and coriander dressed in olive oil and lime juice.
Ingredients in Ful Medames
- Fava Beans – use tinned fava beans to make the dish super-quick to prepare and cook because you won’t need to soak and cook dried fava beans. You can find tinned fava beans in most supermarkets. I use this variety.
- Water – a little cooking liquid for the fava beans.
- Cumin – ground cumin to give the Ful a warm and nutty flavour.
- Pul Biber or Aleppo Pepper – dried dark red pepper flakes with a mild smoky flavour and moderate heat. Alternatively use a little chilli or leave it out completely.
- Oregano – my addition to the classic recipe for an earthy and peppery profile.
- Garlic – used to enhance the aromatics in the dish.
- Onion – one brown onion to cook the fava beans with; and one red onion for the topping.
- Olive Oil – good quality extra virgin olive oil, used both during the cooking process and for serving the dish.
- Lime Juice – used during cooking to flavour the fava beans.
- Lemon Juice – used for the topper dressing.
- Tomatoes – I cook my fava beans with tomatoes as it gives a further depth to the flavour. Tomatoes are also required for the topper.
- Cucumber – for the topper.
- Fresh herbs – I use a combination of fresh parsley and coriander for my Ful Medames topper. Feel free to use only parsley or coriander if you prefer.
- Salt and Pepper – seasoning for the dish.
How to Serve Ful Medames
Serve Ful Medames with either boiled or fried eggs with a side of fluffy pitta bread or Sesame and Nigella Seed Flatbread (as pictured above) and tahini to drizzle over as well. Alternatively top further with crumbled feta to add another delicious layer to this dish.
Ful Medames is a vegan dish so a perfect addition to your recipes for vegan friends or family; or for the yearly commitment to ‘Veganuary.’ Just serve the Ful as the recipe sets out below with vegan bread.
Once the Ful has cooled down, store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for no more than 3 days. It can either be reheated gently in a saucepan or a microwave.
For the Ful Medames
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tins (400g each) fava beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 onion (finely diced)
- 4 cloves garlic (crushed or minced)
- 150 g tomatoes (finely chopped)
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp Pul Biber
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
Ful Medames Topping
- 150 g tomatoes (finely diced)
- 1 medium red onion (finely diced)
- 1/4 cucumber (finely diced)
- 1 small bunch parsley and coriander (finely chopped)
- 1 - 2 tbsp olive oil (plus extra to drizzle over the final dish)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
- Make the Ful Medames:Take a large frying pan and place over medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Once it glistens, add onion. Fry until golden.
- Add garlic and stir until aromatics released. Add cumin, oregano, Pul Biber and stir into the onion mixture. Add chopped tomatoes to pan and cook until they have broken down and thickened.
- Add fava beans to tomato mixture with 1 cup water. Season generously, add lime juice and, using a masher or the back of a fork, press down on the beans and mash until they roughly breakdown. Turn heat to medium-low and simmer until the mixture thickens (it should look like a coarse dip). Make the toppings while the Ful simmers.
- Make the Toppings:Finely dice cherry tomatoes, cucumber and onions. Add fresh finely chopped parsley and coriander. Dress with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and leave to one side until ready to use.
- Serve the Ful Medames: Spoon the Ful into a serving dish and heap the toppings on top. Drizzle with more olive oil and serve with fluffy, warm flatbread.
Other Breakfast Inspiration
A beautifully vibrant hummus made with beetroot and topped with a contrasting medley of green vegetables, herbs, feta and nigella seeds.
This gorgeous hummus with a contrasting and complementary green topper came about by chance one weekend. I love both beetroot and hummus – the combination of the two brings about a delicious hummus with a slightly sweet yet earthy flavour profile. The colour, as you can see, is a vibrant pink and will look incredible at any dinner party as an appetiser for your guests.
What’s in the Topper?
After making a batch, my eyes kept being drawn to green items in my fridge which I felt would look incredible as a topper for the hummus. Luckily, the green items I had in my fridge all complemented a beetroot hummus perfectly including cucumber, olives, spring onions and dill. With the addition of feta (also a great friend of beetroot) and a few extra sprinkles (nigella seeds) and spice (cumin), a dash of olive oil and lemon juice, this hummus was complete.
Serve this Dish Alongside…
- Persian frittata dishes such as Kuku Sabzi (made with herbs); or Kuku Loobia Sabz (made with green beans).
- Flatbread such as Sesame and Nigella Seed Flatbread.
- Salad such as Cherry and Feta Salad or Salad Shirazi.
Beetroot Hummus with Feta and Anything-Green Topper
- 1 jar chickpeas (660g / drained weight 425g) (drained and rinsed)
- 125 g cooked beetroot
- 2 cloves garlic (minced or crushed)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 cup olive oil (60 ml)
- 1/4 cup tahini (60 ml)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup water (60 ml)
- Salt & pepper (to taste)
- 2 baby cucumbers
- 2 spring onions
- 5 green olives
- 50 g feta cheese (non-dairy alternative if vegan or preferred)
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp nigella seeds
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
- Drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice
- In order to get a smoother hummus (and if you can be bothered), after draining the chickpeas and rinsing, place the chickpeas on one half of a tea towel and rub gently with the other half of the tea towel to agitate the skins off. Then pick out the chickpea skins before blitzing.
- Add all hummus ingredients, except water, salt and pepper to a food processor / nutribullet. Blend until smooth. Then add water and blend further until you have a creamy texture. Season to taste. Adjust seasoning and / or lemon juice to taste. I leave my hummus in the fridge while I prepare the topper to firm up the consistency a little.
- Finely dice cucumbers, spring onions and olives. Crumble in feta and add cumin, nigella seeds and dill. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice and stir gently to mix all the topper ingredients.
- Spoon the hummus onto a serving dish and arrange the topper in the shape of a crescent as pictured above. Drizzle with olive oil. Serve alongside flatbread, crisps / crackers or vegetables to dip into the hummus.
First post in a while! And the first since returning from our travels to Türkiye. Other than a long holiday, life and my job as a lawyer taking priority over my recipe development for this site, I’ve been busy writing recipes for other sites and you can find them by clicking these links – The Kitchn and Simply Recipes.
I have cleared my timetable now and can dedicate some time this summer for some lovely additions to my catalogue of recipes, which I hope you will love too. You will be seeing more Persian recipes but also recipes from Türkiye and my own recipes influenced by my cross-cultural upbringing.
Anyway back to my holiday! We travelled to Istanbul and did some sightseeing and most importantly lots of eating before flying to Antalya for the second leg of the holiday to spend most our time sunning by the sea, lazing by the pool and eating more delicious Turkish food.
It was a glorious holiday my first time abroad since late 2018, when I became pregnant with my daughter. I had so many plans to travel once she had arrived and I was off work on maternity leave, but then the world went topsy turfy in 2020 and we were all grounded. So this was our first proper holiday in 4 years. And we were not disappointed! So many beautiful sights were seen and so many delicious dishes were tried. Turkish hospitality is finely tuned to perfection with so many kind people willing to welcome you to their country and talk to you about their incredible history and introduce you to their delicious cuisine.
This is not the first time I have travelled to this wonderful country and will no doubt not be the last time either. We Iranians have a very special place in our hearts for Türkiye and for many of us it is a home away from home as so many aspects feel familiar to us.
I have returned fully inspired to develop and include some Turkish recipes on this site and the first of these is a simple yoghurt-based dip with sautéed grated carrot, crushed walnuts with a hint of garlic. Absolutely delicious, easy to knock up and I guarantee will end up being one of your go-to dips at any time of the year (because who doesn’t have some sorry looking carrots in their veg drawer once in a while). So forget about using those carrots for soup or coleslaw and try this dip and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
It can be served alongside a mezze-style meal with lots of other dishes; as an accompaniment to kebabs or other BBQ dishes; or just with crackers or crisps.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 medium carrots (grated on the coarse side of a box grater)
- 1 large garlic clove (crushed)
- 500 g Greek yoghurt
- 30 grams walnuts (coarsley crushed)
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Pul Biber or Aleppo Pepper (red pepper flakes)
- Squeeze or 2 of fresh lemon juice
- Pul Biber or Aleppo Pepper
- Olive oil (to drizzle on top)
- Walnuts halves
- Place a frying pan on a medium-high heat and add olive oil. Once the oil starts to glisten, add grated carrot. Then add crushed garlic and stir until the carrot wilts and the garlic is evenly distributed - this should only take a few minutes. Turn off the heat and let the carrot mixture cool.
- Take a bowl, add yoghurt, grated carrot, crushed walnuts, lemon juice, salt, Pul Biber and stir. Taste and adjust seasoning or other flavours as desired.
- Cover the bowl and leave in the fridge for the flavours to intensify and mix well through the yoghurt (no less than 1 hour).
- When you are ready to serve the dip, drizzle some olive oil on top and decorate with walnuts and a sprinkle of Pul Biber. Serve as part of a mezze-style spread of dishes, or as an appetiser.
Hands down, this is the best flatbread recipe I have developed. After a a year of testing various quantities (with milk, without milk, with yogurt, without yogurt, yeast or no yeast – and the list of variations goes on), I am so happy with this fluffy, pillowy yet perfectly chewy flatbread.
This recipe does include yeast so proving time is required, but it makes a better flatbread as no yeast alternatives can be dense and become even more so if you don’t eat them straight away. I have used a combination of strong white bread flour and stone ground strong wholemeal bread flour, but feel free to change the quantity ratios of each if you prefer a more or less ‘wholesome’ bread. The use of Greek yogurt provides a delicious tanginess to the bread and the sesame and Nigella seeds provide a nutty and aromatic pop with each bite.
See below for a number of my recipes you can dip this flatbread into – dals, dips and curry!
Sesame and Nigella Seed Flatbread
- 425 g strong white bread flour (plus extra for dusting surface if kneading by hand)
- 75 g stone ground strong wholemeal bread
- 250 ml tepid water
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 7 g sachet of dried yeast
- 100 g Greek yoghurt
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil (plus extra to oil proving bowl and to drizzle over dough pre second prove)
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp Nigella seeds
- Pour water into a jug, add sugar and yeast and stir to dissolve. Leave loosely covered for 10 minutes until it activates and has a bubbly surface.
- Sift the white and wholemeal flours into a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Stir in salt, sesame seeds and Nigella seeds. Pour in yoghurt and olive oil.
- Gently pour in the activated yeast and bring the mixture together (either by hand or slow speed on the stand mixer). Then increase speed and / or knead by hand until smooth-ish and elastic for about 8 to 10 minutes (the wholemeal flour and seeds will not result in a typically smooth dough). If kneading by hand you may need to add a little extra flour for dusting your surface as the mixture is quite wet.
- Tuck the dough under to form a ball and place in a bowl oiled with a drizzle of olive oil, cover with cling film and then a tea towel and leave in a warm part of your home to prove until it has doubled in size (usually between 1.5 to 2 hrs).
- Once the dough has proved, knock back gently and remove from the bowl. Divide into 6 pieces, dust with a little flour, and using the palm of your hand roll into balls. Leave the balls of dough covered with a tea towel on your work surface for about 15 mins to prove further.
- Roll the dough pieces one by one, using a rolling pin, into a circle shape approx 20 cm in diameter.
- Heat a medium sized frying pan or flat skillet on medium heat (allow for about 1 minute).
- Brush one side of the uncooked flatbread with olive oil and place that side down into the frying pan and cook until bubbles start to form on top of the flatbread (approx 1 to 2 minutes). Brush the topside of the flatbread with a little olive oil and then flip and cook on that side for about 30 second to 1 minute. The aim is to get the flatbreads golden and bubbly.
- Remove from the heat and place the flatbread in a tea towel to keep soft and warm, while you cook the others.
- Serve warm and straight after cooking, or reheat later on either by toasting in a toaster on a low heat or wrapping in foil and warming up in a medium / low oven circa (160°C (fan oven) / 180°C (conventional) / gas mark 4) for about 10 mins.