Ful Medames (Fava Bean Stew)

Ful Medames (Fava Bean stew) is a breakfast that is very popular in the middle east. I tend to make a  stewversion and have it as my main meal because it is so delicious and hearty. Ful or Foul (pronounced fool) is a vegan, gluten free stew made up of Fava beans. On a recent trip to Saudi, it was served alongside the usual breads/eggs/fruits at breakfast daily. I have come across many variations of Ful and this version has become very popular in our home. You simply have to try it to understand why!

Ful Medames (Fava Bean Stew)

Ful is a dish I first came across on a course I am studying. As I haven’t yet travelled as extensively as I would have liked to, I tend to come across international dishes via people I meet. This time round, our teacher was talking about Ful and asked if any of the Arabs in the class would make some for our lunch the following day. The next day we sampled Palestinian Ful and Yemeni Ful. Both equally delicious, both hearty and both addictive. The main difference was that the Palestinian version was more salad/meze like and the Yemeni version was a very slow cooked stew. I tried a recipe from a link I was sent by one of the girls and amended it according to our taste.

Middle eastern breakfasts are colourful, exciting and inviting. Therefore, Ful is usually served alongside other breakfast options such as:

  • Fresh Pitta Bread/Fresh Bread
  • Sigara Borek
  • Hummus
  • Baba Ghanoush – How I love you
  • Falafel
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Mortadella/Cold Meats – A type of Salami
  • Labneh
  • Feta or other white cheese
  • Honey
  • Bowls of Olives, black and green
  • Bowls of turnips and pickles
  • Olive Oil for drizzling over foods
  • Tomato and cucumber slices
  • Zaatar or Dukkah
  • Fresh Jams made with natural sugars
  • Tea or Arabic Coffee

Being a huge lover of breakfast and a major stalker of Symmetry Breakfast over the years, the above arabic meze small plate style breakfast really appeals to me and it is one I really want to recreate for my loved ones soon. Basically, when they can watch the kids! This breakfast is particularly appealing because it is pretty healthy and filling enough to keep you going for some hours afterwards which is great for a grazer like me.

Do we really need to talk about how delicious each component of that list is? Don’t even get me started on Baba Ganoush. Who doesn’t like a smoky aubergine dip? The only bit that I tend to avoid is the cold meats. They just don’t do it for me and they tend to be heavily processed which is quite different to the rest of the breakfast. I sometimes avoid the pitta bread and sigara borek too. More now then ever before because I avoid gluten.

By the way, I often see tins of Fava beans labelled Ful Medamas and I used to wonder why they named the tin the same as the dish. So, I googled Fava beans in arabic which translates directly to Ful Medamas. DUH! Why it took me a google search to figure that out, I don’t know. 

Ful Medames (Fava Bean Stew)

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4


  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 1 Small Onion diced
  • 1 Tomato diced
  • 2 x 400g Tinned Fava Beans
  • 4 Garlic Cloves crushed
  • 2 tsp ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • Juice of 1 small Lemon
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Parsley Leaves to garnish


  1. In a medium sized pot over medium heat, heat the oil and add the onions. Cook for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  2. Turn the heat down slightly, and add the tomatoes and garlic. Cook for a further 7 - 10 minutes.
  3. Drain the the liquid from the tin and wash the beans.
  4. Transfer to the pot with 500 ml water.
  5. Bring to the boil and add the cumin, salt and pepper.
  6. Turn the heat off and mash some of the beans using a fork.
  7. Stir in the lemon juice.
  8. Dress the beans with a good quality olive oil.
  9. Garnish with Parsley.


Feel free to adjust the amount of garlic in this recipe!

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