Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Slow cooked broad beans فول مدمس Ful Medames

Slow cooked broad beans  فول مدمس Ful Medames

I caught up with some friends yesterday morning, one of whom is pregnant.  I love to find out how other people experience their pregnancies and births partly because there is so much that differs between women and even with the one woman’s experiences with multiple pregnancies.  The other part is because human development (and with all animals) is an incredibly amazing process that I can’t help but be enthralled by it.  Anyway back to my pregnant friend.  We were talking about what if any cravings she is having and I was shocked when she said that actually she wanted to know how to make Ful.  She is not Egyptian but has been to Egypt and loved it there so that explains her exposure to this dish.  I thought it was wonderful she has been craving this dish as it is not one that I would have thought of to post.  I did however promise that this would be my next blog.
So, about Ful Medames, Slow cooked broad beans,  فول مدمس 

This is THE national dish in Egypt.  A delightfully tasty dish that is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.  Ful is the Egyptian word for Broad beans (also known as Fava beans), and medames is a word meaning "buried." It refers to the original cooking method, which involved burying a sealed pot of water and beans under hot coals. 

Broad beans, Fava beans, Faba beans

My parents use a special metal pot specifically for cooking Ful ,  (pictured below) and it was filled with the pre -soaked dried beans, covered with water and left to cook over the lowest heat for 6 or 7 hours.  However you could use a normal pot or simply buy canned Broad beans.

Pot for making slow cooked broad beans , فول مدمس , Ful Medames

Ful can be made in advance and can be cooked, cooled then refrigerated for several days or frozen for several months.  Thaw out in the fridge overnight.  Then heat and add the remaining ingredients.

Slow cooked broad beans  فول مدمس Ful Medames

This dish takes me back to Saturday morning breakfasts when my dad would get up early and get fresh bread then make a huge spread of Ful medames, Tameya (falafel), boiled eggs, with feta, pickles, olives, chopped tomatoes and other salad items at the table.  I think about this now and how difficult it is to get up and arrange such a hearty breakfast for my own family (although we have been known to have it for dinner).  

Dried fava or broad beans are typically used.  Leave the beans covered in water to soak overnight. Then drain, add fresh water and boil in a saucepan until lovely and tender which may take several hours.  On the other hand the beans could be boiled in a pressure cooker to reduce the cooking time to 30 or 45minutes although be aware that the beans may break down using this method so it is not ideal.  When cooked drain and remove the flesh from the skin. Alternatively, the skins can be left on and mashed with a fork or as I prefer to do simply blend it all together with a stick blender and then add the remaining ingredients.

Serves 2

¾ can/ 325g or 1 cup cooked broad beans
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ - 1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch pepper
1 teaspoon cumin, or to taste

Remove the broad bean flesh from the skins and mash or puree the flesh with a fork.  Alternatively puree the beans and skins together for a smooth consistency.  And add the oil, garlic, cumin and lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper and taste to check that for the balance of flavours, adjusting if necessary.

Slow cooked broad beans  فول مدمس Ful Medames

For a heartier Ful medames you can add ½ a tomato, ½ small onion and ½ small Lebanese cucumber which are all very finely diced.  A boiled egg can also be added and mashed into the beans along with some feta cheese.  If adding these, check the flavour and add more garlic, oil, lemon juice, cumin or salt as required.  Serve with fresh Lebanese bread (By hand, break off some bread and form a scoop by pinching in two edges.  Then use it as a spoon to scoop up the cooked broad beans  فول مدمس Ful Medames!


  1. Hi Dyna. I was wondering if it would be ok to cook the fava beans in an actual slow cooker or crock pot?

  2. Hi Norah, the beans could be cooked in either a slow cooker or crock pot as they are just cooked very slowly on low heat.I think the slow cooker would be perfect although for ease now I often use tinned beans and so haven't tried then in my slow cooker. If you do I would love to hear what you think.:-)

  3. hi norah, i am egyptian living in melbourne. where can i buy that egyptian pot? is there anywhere online or here that i can get it from, or do i have to get it from egypt?

  4. What is the tin metal pot pictured above and do you know where I can buy one?