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Ful Muddames

Ancient breakfast of Egyptian lords

Fava beans are one of the oldest domesticated food legumes. They have been part of the Middle Eastern diet since at least since the 4th century. Remnants of Ful Medames were uncovered in a number of the 12th Dynasty Pharonic tombs in Egypt (1991-1786 B.C.) Fava beans were likely one of the main protein sources for the ancient Israelites. In fact, the ancient method for cooking fava beans is discussed in the Talmud. The beans were immersed in a pot of water, sealed, then buried beneath hot coals so they could slowly cook. Today the dish is one of the most common and popular forms of Egyptian street food and probably the national dish.
Ful mudammas (pronounced fool mu-dah-mahs) bears similarity to this ancient method of cooking. Sometimes spelled foul madames and often referred to as simply “ful,” this dish is known for making you feel full and satisfied due to its high fiber content. Ful is often eaten during Ramadan before sunrise so people can fast more easily during the daylight hours. When served on top of chickpea hummus the dish is called “hummus ful.”
Ful mudammas is served in different ways throughout the Middle East; in some countries they top it with hard-boiled egg, others like it with chopped fresh tomatoes. Some serve it mashed, others leave the beans whole. It is traditionally served for breakfast or lunch, sometimes together with hummus, alongside fresh warm pita bread. The bread is used to scoop up the fava beans.


  • 2 cups (16 oz.) canned fava beans

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • ½ onion, minced

  • 2 raw or 4 roasted garlic cloves, chopped

  • 1½ teaspoon ground cumin

  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 ½ cup water

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

  • Juice from 2 fresh lemons (or more to taste)

  • 1 tsp tomato paste

Optional Toppings

  • Sliced hard-boiled egg

  • Diced ripe red tomato (Cherry tomatoes)

  • Raw onion sliced into rings

  • Fresh minced parsley or cilantro

  • Red chili pepper flakes

  • Paprika

  • Tahini sauce


  1. Start by opening the can of beans, draining them in a colander, and rinsing them well with cold water. Drain and set aside.

  2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Fry the diced onion till it becomes translucent and golden. Add garlic and cumin, sauté for 1 minute till fragrant.

  3. Add the fava beans to the pan, and then add water enough to cover the beans. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, season with salt and pepper to taste (about ½ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper). Cover the pan.

  4. Let mixture simmer for about 15 minutes on medium low heat until the beans are nice and tender. Remove lid and continue to cook until the liquid has reduced by about 75 percent. Remove from heat.

  5. Take out a ladle or two of the beans and mash them with some of the cooking liquid to thicken the sauce. Mash the mixture to a semi-smooth consistency; it should be a little chunkier than hummus. (use a spice pestle, a potato masher or the back of a large metal spoon). Stir the mashed mixture back into the beans.

  6. Squeeze in the fresh lemon juice.

  7. Taste for seasonings, adding more salt, lemon juice and/or cumin as needed.

  8. Serve each portion in a soup bowl. Create a shallow basin in the center of the ful mudammas. Drizzle olive oil lightly inside the basin, then garnish with the ingredients of your choice. Serve hot.

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