Ful Medames (ful mudamas or just ful or foule) is considered by some as the unofficial National dish of Egypt (second only to Koshari). There are many preparation styles in Egypt, let alone across Middle Eastern countries. Among them, the simplest method involves some olive oil, cumin, salt, and maybe a little lime with the beans whole or mildly crushed. From there, recipes branch out.
I grew up eating ful medames and I never really loved it until my family settled on this recipe. The flavor of fava beans is somewhat an acquired taste (especially when eating them simply). They don’t taste bad at all, but they do have a funky earthy taste that’s not for everyone. Nonetheless, when made properly, fava beans transform into a wonderfully filling comfort food dish.
This recipe builds on the basic style of ful medames and incorporates some fresh sweet onion and tomatoes that really round out the fava beans. The onions add a touch of sweetness with a bite while the tomatoes add a mild acidity that cuts through the heaviness of the dish.
One of the biggest additions to the recipe is using a little tahini oil and a touch of tahini paste to bind all of the flavors in a reminiscently hummus sort of way (though still very different). The optional garnishes of scallions, tomatoes, and feta also really contribute to a variety of flavorful texture in a commonly uniform dish.
Whether you’ve tried ful medames before and loved it or hated it, this recipe may give you a peak at what fava beans have to offer. It may expand your concept of ful medames or at the very least it may solidify your opinion whatever it may be. I think anyone that enjoys beans and/or hummus will really enjoy this take on a classic Egyptian staple.
Fancy Ful Medames Recipe (Egyptian Fava Bean Dip)
- 14.5 oz fava beans (1 can) (Dried fava beans also work, but they need to get soaked overnight and then simmered for a few hours until soft. Canned are easier and work wonderfully.)
- 1 tbsp tahini (sesame) oil (This is tahini oil, not to be confused with dark or roasted sesame oil, which is very different. If you don't have any tahini or don't want to use it, you can substitute with extra virgin olive oil. I also suggest using the oil from tahini and not from a bottle of light sesame oil because many are low quality.)
- 1 tsp tahini paste
- 1/2 tbs fresh lime juice (Roughly 1/4 of a lime. Try 1/2 a lime for more zest and acid.)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 large plum tomato
- 1/4 medium sweet onion
- 1/8 cup cold water (If the mixture is a little too thick, try adding a 1/4 cup of water instead of 1/8.)
- 1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper (Optional, but adds a little heat.)
- 1 tbsp diced scallions (Optional garnish)
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (Optional garnish)
- Large bowl
- Optional: Potato masher
- Cutting board
- Teaspoon measurements
- Open and drain the liquid from one 14 / 15 oz can of can of fava beans before placing them in a large bowl.
- Add the tablespoon of tahini oil (or extra virgin olive oil) and the teaspoon of tahini paste to the fava beans.
- Add the 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, the 1/2 tablespoon of lime juice, and the optional 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the fava beans.
- Using a fork or a potato masher, crush all of the fava beans. The idea is to crush most of the beans into a mush, but to leave some of the beans half crushed so that there are a varity of textures.
- Finely chop the 1/4 sweet onion and plum tomato. Add all of the onion and 3/4 of the tomato to the fava beans.
- Mix all of ingredients together being careful not to mash up the tomatoes too much. If the mix is a little too thick, add 2 tablespoons of water and if you want it a little thinner then add a tablespoon at a time until you get the desired consistency. It should be thick, but also easy to spoon.
- The ful medames is actually ready now to eat, but a little garnish makes it more inviting.
- Finely dice 1 loosely packed tablespoon of diced scallions and crumble a 1/4 cup of feta cheese.
- Garnish the fava beans with the remaining 1/4 chopped tomato, scallions, and crumbled feta cheese. Then garnish with a little olive oil drizzle over the top as well.
- Serve immediately with pita bread or chips. Before garnishing you can even put the ful medames in the microwave for about a minute and serve it warm.
- Try it on toast with a little hot sauce too!
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