The Pharoah's Fava Beans

(Ful Medames)

Ful medames is an ancient, pre-Ottoman, dish, probably as old as the Pharaohs. There are a large variety of dried beans available, from small to large, split or not. This dish is eaten in Egypt throughout the day for breakfast, lunch, as a mezze, or a side dish. The garnishes add interest to the beans. Add them as desired. Barb L.


1 pound small dried fava beans (ful medames), whole or split

1 clove garlic, crushed


3 Tbsp Flying Olive Garlic, Lemon, Gremolata, or a Single Varietal Extra Virgin Olive Oil of Choice

¼ cup lemon juice

¾ tsp salt

a few grinds of pepper

1 tsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

Garnishes to top, as desired:

Additional Flying Olive Extra Virgin Olive Oil of Choice

Peel hard-boiled egg, about 1 per person. Quarter them and place in the bowl

Chopped cucumbers or tomatoes


Chili-pepper flakes, if desired

Lemon wedges

Pickle slices and/or sliced green onions

Garlic and tomato sauce-spicy or not

Yogurt or feta cheese, olives, and small cucumbers, sliced


Rinse and drain the beans. Place in a large saucepan. Add 2 quarts of unsalted water, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to low. As the beans cook, stir occasionally, skimming off any foam and skins as they rise to the top. Cook the beans for 1 ½ -2 ½ hours, until tender. Add water to keep the beans covered, as needed. NOTE: Beans will cook at different rates depending on how old they are, their size, and whether they are split or whole. Check their progress after 1 hour.

When the beans are soft, drain half the liquid. Take out a ladle or two of the beans and mash them or place in a blender or food processor with some of the cooking liquid. Stir the crushed beans back into the whole beans to thicken the sauce.

Pass around the garnishes for everyone to help themselves: Flying Olive Extra Virgin Olive Oil, the quartered lemons, salt and pepper, a little saucer with the crushed garlic, one with chili-pepper flakes, and one with ground cumin, etc.

Serve the beans in soup bowls sprinkled with chopped parsley. The beans are eaten gently crushed with a fork, so that they absorb the dressing and condiments.

Submitted by Barb L.