Ful Medames, a Hearty North African Breakfast Treat
Ful medames is a hearty Egyptian breakfast staple that’s also delicious as part of any mezze spread. It takes just 30 minutes to prepare, and is packed with nutrition and flavour. Guaranteed to become a new family favourite!
If you have not yet had the pleasure of starting your day with a piping hot bowl of rich, satisfying ful medames, you don’t know what you’re missing! This traditional Egyptian breakfast staple goes back thousands of years. And, in just one bite, you will understand why.
If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, ful medames ticks all the boxes. It’s delicious, flavourful, and packed with fibre, protein, and nutrients to get your brain and body off to a strong start.
Like many traditional foods, ful medames can take hours to prepare. Traditionally, the recipe starts with soaking and cooking dried fava beans. While homemade beans are delicious and rewarding, they’re not practical for a busy working mom.
So, I’ve used tinned butter beans to speed the process considerably and make this tasty dish a delicious any-time treat. As an added plus, it makes this dish easy to prepare with those tinned beans everyone hoarded at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown!
What do I Serve with Ful Medames?
Ful medames is a perfect dish to serve for a lazy weekend brunch. It is also a welcome part of a mezze spread. Either way, you will want to serve it with an array of sides. This allows diners to customise their plates and make a full meal of it.
There are probably as many accompaniments to this dish as there are cooks in the Middle East and North Africa. However, my personal favourites include:
- Tomato salad,
- Cucumber salad,
- Feta cheese,
- Hard boiled eggs,
- Fresh Herbs (dill, parsley, and coriander), and
- Pita bread.
About this Recipe
This is a very simple, stress-free recipe. Because I am not Egyptian, I have felt free to adjust the recipe to my taste and lockdown kitchen. So, I have used tinned beans for convenience and homemade harissa to give my ful medames a little heat.
Adding harissa to ful medames is not traditional. It’s just my way of adding an additional layer of flavour and is fully consistent with the classic seasonings. However, if you don’t like the heat, you can simply leave out the harissa and instead add 2 cloves of chopped garlic after browning the onions. If you use harissa, but don’t have time to make my recipe from scratch, you should also add garlic, because most store bought harissa is not garlicky.
You will notice this recipe calls for quite a lot of olive oil. I use an every day, fruity Mediterranean oil for this purpose and I love the rich creaminess it contributes to this dish. If, however, you are watching your oil consumption, feel free to adjust the quantity of olive oil down to about 1/4 cup.
Otherwise, I’m confident you’ll find this recipe extremely easy to follow and there are no special tricks. I sincerely hope your family will enjoy this classic recipe every bit as much as mine does. Bon appétit!