Serving foul madammes
Dinner Health Recipes Mid-East/Mediterranean

Ful Madammes Feast: Serving Up Traditional Middle Eastern Flavors

Ful medammes or foul madammes (as it sounds more this way) is mostly a breakfast item across the Middle East and North Africa. Core ingredients like fava beans and olive oil come together in a dish that is both simple and complex.

The Evolution of Foul Madammes

Dating back to ancient Egypt, this hearty meal has nourished generations. The traditional methods of preparing ful medames have been passed down through millennia, evolving into today’s mostly-used recipes.

The term ‘Ful Medames’ roughly translates to ‘buried beans,’ and the ancient cooking technique buries fava beans in pots to slow-cook them with embers. This method ensured the beans were tender and flavorful. Today, Ful Medames is more than just sustenance; it’s a national treasure that pays homage to Egypt’s rich history and diverse culinary landscape. Still the same fava beans, also known now as broad beans, soaked overnight and then simmered until tender, they are seasoned with a medley of staples like virgin olive oil, onions, tomatoes, ground cumin and lemon juice. Each family may add their personal touch, including herbs, spices, tahini sauce, and additional toppings such as fresh minced greens, or even boiled eggs.

Ingredients and Health Benefits of Foul Madammes

At the heart of Foul Medames lies the unassuming fava bean, which retrieves its contentment from a night-long soak, softening to an ideal tenderness after gentle coaxing on the stove. For those pressed for time or desiring a quicker route, canned fava beans have emerged as an equally embraced alternative in today’s kitchens.

Foul madammes beans in cans

Integral to the dish’s earthy spice profile are cumin and coriander, elemental spices that define Foul Medames’ signature flavor. Salt and pepper provide the essential seasoning, while lemon offers a bright kick that cuts through the richness.

Affordable, filling, and nutritionally rich, Foul Medames is cherished for its bounty of protein, fiber, iron, and magnesium. A touchstone for creamy consistency, some beans are mashed right before serving, and a generous pour of olive oil is invited atop the hot dish.

Lastly, the nutrient-dense toppings like fresh herbs, raw onions, and ripe tomatoes not only add layers of flavor but fortify the dish with an array of vitamins such as vitamin C and K, along with phytonutrients, which are critical for maintaining good health and warding off diseases.

Foul Madammes with sides

Serving and Accompaniments

Garnishes play a pivotal role in personalizing each serving of Ful Medames. A sprinkle of freshly diced cucumber, a handful of aromatic fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro, and a final seasoning with salt and pepper can elevate the dish’s flavor profile. Adding a drizzle of tahini sauce can add depth and a nutty zest to the meal. For those who enjoy a bit of heat, add sliced jalapeno peppers, a sprinkle of chili flakes, or a dash of hot sauce can provide an extra kick.

Foul madammes on a plate

Traditionally, Ful Medames is served as a hearty breakfast dish, often accompanied by warm pita bread or crusty bread for scooping up the creamy beans. The combination of the tender beans with the satisfying crunch of the bread creates a delightful contrast in each mouthful.

However, this dish is not limited to breakfast. It can be enjoyed any time of the day, whether as a comforting lunch or a satisfying dinner. It can also be served as a side dish or as part of a mezze spread, alongside other Middle Eastern delights like hummus, falafel, and stuffed grape leaves.

Variations of Foul Medames

With each country spinning its own version of this traditional, savory breakfast, foul medames have become a part of Middle Eastern cuisine. In Egyp,t where this dish originated, it is lovingly paired with warm flatbreads. Across the Middle Eastern nations where foul madammes has been adapted and adopted, each household adds its unique perspective to the preparation.

Lebanese Foul Medammes

In Lebanon, foul medammes are concocted under the spirited drizzle of top-notch olive oil after the fava beans are stirred with flavors of lemon, garlic, and cumin. Adorned with an array of crisp veggies and served with pita bread as part of an extensive Lebanese breakfast spread, which may include delights like Manakeesh.

Somali Foul Medames

Known locally as ful, the dish mirrors the country’s love for layered flavors and aromatic spices. The introduction of the xawaash — a signature Somali spice blend simmering with ingredients like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cardamom — infuses the fava beans with a complexity that blends well with the legumes.

The Somali also enjoys their full medames with a liberal use of chilies, adding a satisfying kick that sets it distinctly apart from milder versions. Whether scooped up with freshly baked khubz or enjoyed with a side of eggs, the Somali Foul Medames is a celebration of gusto, delivering a zing with every mouthful.

There are versions from other countries as Syria, Iraq, Morocco, Ethiopia, etc.

Adding Creativity to Your Foul Madammes

Foul mudammas offers a delicious canvas for creativity! Here are some popular variations to take your breakfast or lunch to the next level:

  • Spicy Kick: Add a sprinkle of chili flakes for a fiery touch; a good replacement as well if jalapeno peppers are not handy.
  • Creamy Comfort: Swirl in some tahini (sesame paste) for a richer, nuttier flavor.
  • Lentil and Chickpea Power: For extra protein and texture, throw in some cooked lentils or chickpeas. While we are here, you may also want to try another legume breakfast recipe: Fatteh – a nice addition to your repertoire of Middle Eastern breakfast dishes.

No matter your preference, there’s a perfect foul medames variation waiting to be discovered!

Storing Leftovers

For those who have leftovers, Ful Medames can be conveniently stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. To recreate the warm, comforting original experience, simply reheat before serving, then topped again with freshly chopped sides and additional tangy pickles and served as usual.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Serving foul madammes

Foul Madammes Recipe

  • Author: Magida
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: appetizer
  • Method: cooking
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern, North African


Dive into a taste of the Middle East with this easy foul medames recipe! This hearty fava bean stew is perfect for breakfast or a light lunch. Enjoy it with fresh pita bread and customize it with your favorite toppings.


  • 2 450g cans of pre-cooked fava beans (ful), or pre-boiled fava beans
  • 2 tbsp virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized white or yellow onion (divided)
  • 12 medium-sized fresh tomatoes, chopped (divided)
  • 1 small-sized green bell pepper, diced finely (divided)
  • 1 small-sized red bell pepper, diced finely (divided)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh lemon juice (one lemon)
  • Extra olive oil for garnish
  • Chopped fresh parsley or coriander to garnish
  • Green Onions to garnish (optional, especially if you already used fresh onions)


  • Drain fava beans (whether from the can or pre-boiled from scratch). Mash them with a fork or potato masher. Set aside.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a round pan and add two tablespoons of chopped onions. Stir for about 2-3 minutes over medium heat. Just when the onions begin to be golden, add a tablespoon of chopped tomatoes and cook for another minute.
  • Add the mashed ful, stir, and continue to cook for another minute. Add water if the mixture looks dry (your judgement is golden here).
  • Add sweet paprika, cumin, black pepper and salt (I usually omit the salt when using canned fava beans).
  • Turn off the heat and transfer the ful madammes onto a serving plate.
  • Add the lemon juice, the remaining onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, and the chopped parsley. Add a generous sprinkling of olive oil.
  • Serve and enjoy.

Keywords: foul madammes


  1. I love all of the recipes specially the cauliflower vegetable medley and foul madammes. It reminds me always of my second home (Saudi Arabia) where I lived for more than 38 years. Thank you Chef Magida for sharing these delicious recipes.

    1. You are most welcome!
      There might have been a chance we ran into each other while you were here. Well, the possibilities :-). Anyways, Feastful Fork has more middle eastern recipes you would love. Enjoy and thanks as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating