- Broad Beans400 Gram(s)
- Cloves of Garlic5 Piece(s)pressed
- Lemon1 Piece(s)freshly squeezed
- Ground Cumin1 Tablespoon(s)
- Salt1/2 Teaspoon(s)
- Parsley1 Bunch(s)finely chopped
- Tomato1 Piece(s)seeded and diced
- Cayenne Pepper1/2 Teaspoon(s)
- Olive OilAs needed
The ful medames (فول مدمّس), more simply called foul, are a vegan Egyptian breakfast consisting of cooked beans flavored with lemon juice, garlic and served with olive oil, chopped parsley and tomatoes.
Ful is an Arabic word in the plural which means beans. Medames is a Coptic word which means “buried”. Originally, this dish cooked in a pot buried in hot coals.
Ful medames are undoubtedly a dish of Egyptian origin, popular in several variations in the Middle East , North Africa , Sudan , and the Horn of Africa.
This dish consists mainly of cooked beans, specifically faba beans , and is generally eaten for breakfast or lunch with pita bread .
This inexpensive dish, considered by the Egyptians as a “gift from God”, is prepared with dry beans.
They are boiled in water until tender. Cooking can sometimes take a night, the beans being placed on the fire before bedtime so that they can be tasted upon waking up for breakfast.
In the modern version, the one offered here, canned beans are used and they are obviously soaked, which saves time for an equally delicious result.
How to prepare ful medames?
The lucky ones who will find an oriental grocery store nearby, will undoubtedly find canned faba beans, which can therefore be heated and seasoned.
Otherwise, here is how to prepare ful medames with small dry beans:
Soak the beans overnight with a touch of baking soda to aid digestion. Rinse them thoroughly, place them in a cast iron casserole dish, and cover them with water.
Cook in small stocks until the beans become tender. Salt and season.
Whatever beans are used, at the end of the recipe, they are coarsely crushed, and are divinely creamy and flavored with garlic, cumin, lemon and, depending on taste, sometimes other spices.
Medames are generally served with flat pita bread, and possibly sheep’s cheese, torshis, boiled eggs, onions or diced tomatoes, hummus , labnee, or tabbouleh for breakfast in Arab countries.
The beans can be served in mezze or a main dish.
In Upper Egypt, especially around Aswan, ful medames are served in sandwiches, in flat bread called eisch ful , just like falafels are served .
We cook it slowly in a special pot called qidra (pronounced edra). Today, all spices and condiments are allowed to decorate the traditional version: garlic, onion, chilli, chopped coriander, tahini etc. Some even decorate the ful with a béchamel, or a tomato sauce, or even accompany it with spicy dried meat called basturma .
What are the origins of the ful medames?
The ful medames date back to ancient Egypt .
An indisputable proof of the consumption of ful is a cache of 2,600 dry beans found in a late Neolithic site on the outskirts of Nazareth. Nazareth is a city in northern Israel , in the Galilee.
The method of cooking ful is also mentioned in the Talmud Yerushalmi, indicating that this method has been used in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East since the 4th century.
The Talmud Yerushalmi, Talmud of Jerusalem (תַּלְמוּד יְרוּשַׁלְמִי), is a collection of rabbinical notes from the 2nd century to the end of the 5th century, concerning the Jewish oral tradition known as Mishnah.
This dish began to gain popularity in Egypt in the Middle Ages, when consumed mainly in baths, by ladies.
Ful medames in the middle east
Many recipes of ful dish have been exported from Egypt to other parts of the Arab world, but also to Africa and Asia , but especially to Lebanon , Syria , Jordan , Israel , Palestinian Arab Territories, Saudi Arabia , Yemen , Somalia , Ethiopia , Eritrea , Sudan , Morocco , Algeria , Tunisia , and Libya .
In Lebanon , the recipe is similar to the Egyptian recipe except that chickpeas and tahini are added to it.
In Syria , ful is also the quintessential breakfast dish, popular especially in Aleppo. The beans are left to simmer in large copper jars overnight, to be served the next morning. The beans swim in tahini, and olive oil, and are topped with Aleppo pepper paste on top.
In Jordan , ful is prepared like hummus in the form of a dip, usually made from tahini, garlic, tomato, lemon juice, ground cumin, olive oil and salt.
In Palestine, in Libya as in Saudi Arabia the ful medames are prepared according to the same recipe as in Egypt.
In Yemen , the ful are simmered with a tomato sauce, chopped pepper, and onions and flavored with cumin and coriander.
Ful medames in Africa
In Ethiopia and Eritrea , ful is one of the few dishes that is not tasted with injera but is served with standard bread made with wheat flour, which is not entirely typical of Ethiopian diets or Eritrean. The beans are garnished or mixed with a combination of oil and berber.
Ful are also served in Somalia , along with the traditional Somali lahoh ( canjeero ).
In Sudan , ful are served for breakfast. The beans are first cooked with onions and olive oil and then seasoned after cooking with paprika, cumin, and lemon juice. They are then served topped with raw tomato, hard-boiled egg and parsley.
In Morocco, ful are known as bissara and consist of beans and split green peas called jalapenos, boiled with garlic and served with cumin and seasonings. They are particularly popular in the north of the country and are especially eaten during the cold winter months.
In Algeria, the beans are steamed until tender. Add salt and sometimes pepper and cumin. Ful are eaten without sauce, unlike in Egypt, apart from Constantine where they are called ros bratel , specialty of Jewish cuisine, this dish is flavored with coriander and spicy.
In Tunisia, the beans are cooked in lemon water and salt and cumin are added at the end of cooking. Ful are consumed without sauce in Tunisia.
First of all, pour the beans with their liquid in a large Dutch oven and heat them over medium heat for 10 minutes.
Then, in a bowl, combine the garlic, salt, and lemon juice.
Transfer the warmed beans to a bowl.
Using a mortar, mash the beans until just over half of the mixture is mashed.
Add the mixture of garlic, lemon juice and cumin. Mix.
Add the cayenne pepper (or other red pepper).
Serve the ful medames with a teaspoon of parsley and tomatoes, and drizzle with olive oil.