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Ful Medames (Egyptian Fava Bean Stew)

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.

Leftovers

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.


Ful Medames

Egyptian fava bean stew
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Egyptian
Keyword: vegetarian, vegan
Servings: 4 to 6 people
Author: Mersedeh Prewer

Ingredients

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)

Instructions

  • 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

 


Harissa and Lime Chicken Kebabs

Chicken kebabs marinated in harissa & lime

Simple yet delicious, this marinade for chicken can be used whether you are cooking on the BBQ, roasting in the oven, under the grill, on a griddle, in an air fryer or just frying the chunks of chicken in a pan. Either way the result is a powerhouse of flavour with very little effort required.

One of my favorite ways to eat this chicken is an element to a salad bowl (kind of like a Buddha Bowl) with the fragrant and smokey flavors from North Africa and the Middle-East, as pictured below. But it can be eaten with anything or any way you want, whether you want to eat it as a kebab roll with the chicken wrapped in some flatbread with salad, pickles and some garlic and / or chili sauce alongside some chips; or with some rice or Tabouleh or other healthy grain based salad.

The ingredients are simple – chicken breasts, harissa paste (any variety – I use Rose Harissa by Belazu but apricot or just the plain one is absolutely fine); crushed garlic, dried za’atar leaves or oregano and fresh lime juice. Leave the chicken to marinate for a minimum of 4 hours but for best results overnight and you will not be disappointed.

For those of you who may not be familiar with za’atar, it is a herb grown in some Middle-Eastern countries, like Lebanon, with a flavour like a cross between thyme and oregano. It is also the name for a spice and herb mixture used like a condiment.

Harissa originates from North Africa. While every region has its own variation and take on the paste, it’s particularly associated with Tunisia. It is a hot chilli pepper paste, the main ingredients of which are roasted red peppers, Baklouti peppers, spices and herbs such as garlic paste, caraway seeds, coriander seeds, cumin and olive oil. Rose harissa contains dried rose petals, and, usually, rosewater too. This softens the heat and adds a subtle floral note to the dishes it is added to. The use of yoghurt in the marinade also tempers the heat a little further making this a recipe that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Using a shop bought paste like this really helps to reduce thinking and preparing time so I welcome these shortcuts. A little addition of extras like lime, garlic and yogurt make it more personal.

On a side note – I am slowly putting together recipes for all the other elements of the pictures as they are all too delicious not to share with you so please watch this space!

 

See my how to reel on instagram via the link below…

 


Harissa & Lime Chicken Kebabs

Chicken kebabs marinated in harissa & lime
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Cross-cultural
Keyword: chicken, kebabs, harissa
Servings: 4 (to 6)
Author: Mersedeh Prewer

Ingredients

  • 1.2 kg chicken breasts (about 4 to 5 large chicken breasts)
  • 4 tbsp harissa paste (I use Belazu Rose Harissa)
  • 4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 4 cloves garlic (crushed or minced)
  • Juice of 1 large lime
  • 2 tsp dried za'atar leaves or oregano
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 to 2 tbsp butter and / or olive oil (Melted - to baste the chicken while cooking)

Instructions

  • Chop your chicken into chunks (fairly large as they will shrink when cooking). Put the chicken pieces into a bowl and then add all the ingredients except the butter and massage into the chicken until all the marinade is mixed in and evenly distributed amongst the chicken pieces. It will be a bright red / orange colour.
  • Cover and leave in the fridge for the flavours to develop for a minimum of 4 hrs but best left overnight. Take the chicken out of the fridge about 30 mins before you want to cook to bring up to room temperature.
  • When you are ready to cook the chicken (either on your bbq or under the grill on the highest setting), divide the chicken on to about 4 / 6 skewers and cook, basting with the butter and / or olive oil and turning the skewers until the chicken is a little charred. It takes roughly 15 to 25 minutes on a bbq or grill (depending on how hot your bbq / grill is).
  • Serve alongside chips, rice or lavash bread / flatbread, salad, mezze-style dishes including hummus and yoghurt dips.