A Breakfast Fit for Pharaohs – Ful Medames


It’s been 2 hours, 45 minutes and 38 seconds … I’m still waiting. Should fava beans really take this long? Maybe my trusty pressure cooker has met it’s last day. I’ve never cooked dried fava beans before but seriously? Hmm, perhaps I’ve forgotten something. Water, beans, pot, check! Hahaha, that’s why this has taken so long, I forgot the bicarbonate of soda. Three years postpartum and I’m still suffering from baby brain.

Ok, never mind, I have started so let’s continue. I am adamant that these beans will cook, with or without the addition of soda. My heart is set on eating some Ful Medames today. They where too tough for breakfast, but there is always lunch. Failing that I will happily boil these stubborn beans right up until dinner. Watch out Ful, here I come!


You see, there is something unique about Ful. It may look like just a humble, bowl of mashed fava (broad) beans, but actually this hearty Egyptian dish bursts with flavour. Pungent garlic, aromatic cumin, fresh parsley… Can you feel your taste buds travel to North Africa and back? Then there is the sharpness of lemon that so nicely contrasts with the distinct earthy taste of the fava beans . Drizzled with olive oil for added luxury and taste, and neatly pair with warm flat bread…lush. Ful Medames, a breakfast fit for .

Finally!  3 long hours, and opening the pot for the 10th time my fava are done! I mashed, seasoned, and served myself a generous helping of delicious goodness. It was well worth the wait. I enjoyed every last morsel and can’t wait to make it all over again … don’t worry, next time I wont forget the bicarb.


Ful Medames

Prep time: 5 mins. Cook time: 5 min (tinned beans) – 2 hrs ( dry beans)   Serves: 2-3


  • 225g dried Fava (broad) beans or 2 cans of cooked
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate (baking) soda (for dried beans only)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (more for drizzling)
  • 1 lemon (adjust to taste)
  • 1 handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
  • salt and peeper to taste
  • 1-2 tomatos (diced)


Preparing dried beans
  1. Place beans in bowl, wash and submerge in 4 inches of water.
  2. Add 1/4 tsp bicarbonate soda and leave to soak overnight
  3. Rinse beans and transfer into pressure cooker
  4. Cover with 4 inches of water
  5. Add 1/4 tsp bicarbonate and boil for 2 hours, or until beans are soft (if using a conventional pot allow further boiling time)
  6. Drain beans reserving some liquid for use later
Preparing canned beans
  1. Rinse beans, add to cooking pot with 1/2 cup water and simmer for 5 mins
  2. Remove from heat
Preparing Ful
  1. Add garlic, cumin, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper
  2. Add 1/2 -1 cup reserved liquid if you have cooked your beans from dried
  3. Mash or blend half the beans, leaving half the beans whole
  4. Add diced tomatoes and chopped parsley.
  5. Stir and rest for 10mins
  6. Serve, drizzle with olive oil and enjoy with warm Arabic bread or pitta.