How to Make Ful Medames

'Ful Medames (or Ful Medammis) is an ancient breakfast dish from Egypt and the surrounding Middle East. Medames means buried, which is a clue to its ancient method as the beans and water were sealed in a pot, which was buried in the dying coals of the fire to cook slowly in time for breakfast.

Traditionally cooked very slowly in a large copper pot or cauldron, this dish is a delicious, filling and protein-rich meal. It is perfect served with flat bread and salad and is a great meal to start the day for active people.

Also favoured by those practicing Ramadan looking for a good meal before the daily fast, this recipe will serve 4 generously.


  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 cups dried fava beans (a.k.a broad beans)
  • 3 cups water
  • Lemon or lime juice (to taste)
  • Cumin (to taste)—about 1 tablespoon is gives mild flavour. You may also add the same amount of dried coriander.
  • Salt and pepper

To serve: (options)

  • Unleavened flat breads.
  • Fried eggs (some variations also use hard boiled eggs that are then fried until crisp and served cut into wedges as a garnish).
  • Salad and pickled vegetables
  • Tahini paste.


  1. Image titled Make Ful Medames Step 1
    Soak the dried beans and lentils overnight in a large bowl. Drain in a colander and rinse under the tap to ensure they are clean.
  2. Image titled Make Ful Medames Step 2
    Heat the water in a large saucepan. Add the soaked beans and bring to the boil. Skim the surface to remove any froth and scum. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 4–5 hours or until the beans and lentils are tender and have just started to form a mash.
    • You may transfer them after boiling to a slow cooker and cook overnight, but this method does not always give the best result.
  3. Image titled Make Ful Medames Step 3
    Add the seasonings: lemon juice, salt and pepper and cumin and coriander (if desired), stirring well.
  4. Image titled Make Ful Medames Step 4
    Serve hot. Drizzle generously with good olive oil at serving. Serve the Ful with flat bread, which can be used as a scoop—similar to corn chips—and enjoy with the flavour tahini, eggs and crisp, fresh salad.

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Categories: Middle Eastern Cuisine | Vegetarian