Ful medames served with sliced hard-boiled eggs
|Place of origin||Egypt|
|Main ingredient(s)||Fava beans, vegetable oil, cumin|
|Variations||lemon juice, onion, parsley, garlic, hot pepper|
Ful medames (Arabic: فول مدمس fūl midammis IPA: [fuːl meˈdæmmes]; alternate spellings include ful mudammas), or simply fūl, is an Egyptian/Sudanese dish of cooked and mashed fava beans served with vegetable oil, cumin and optionally with chopped parsley, onion, garlic, and lemon juice. A staple meal in Egypt and Sudan, it is popular in the cuisines of the Levant, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia.
The roots of ful medames can be traced to Ancient Northern Sudan and Egypt. Quantities of beans have been found in Twelfth Dynasty tombs (1991–1786 BC). Fava beans were also mentioned in Hittite texts and the Bible. Ramses II of Egypt is known to have offered 11,998 jars of beans to the god of the Nile.
Some writers have suggested that beans were not commonly cultivated in Ancient Egypt, and Herodotus in the fifth century BC, mentions the fact that the Egyptians "never sow beans, and even if any happen to grow wild, they will not eat them, either raw or boiled."
Some believe that the word medammes was originally Coptic, meaning "buried," and its use here might mean that the beans are buried in the pot. This cooking method is mentioned in the Talmud Yerushalmi, indicating that the method was used in Middle Eastern countries since the fourth century. Although there are countless ways of embellishing fūl, the basic recipe remains the same. Once the fūl is cooked it is salted and eaten plain or accompanied by olive oil, corn oil, butter, clarified butter, buffalo milk, béchamel sauce, basturma, fried or boiled eggs, tomato sauce, garlic sauce, tahini, fresh lemon juice, or other ingredients.
In the Middle Ages, the making of fūl was monopolized by the people living around the Princess Baths, a public bath in a tiny compound near today's public fountain of Muhammad ‘Ali Pasha, a block north of the two elegant minarets of the Mosque of Sultan Mu’ayyad Shaykh above the eleventh-century Bab Zuwaylah gate. During the day, bath-attendants stoked the fires heating the qidras, huge pots of bath water. Wood was scarce, so garbage was used as fuel and eventually a dump grew around the baths. When the baths closed, the red embers of the fires continued to burn. To take advantage of these precious fires, huge qidras were filled with fava beans, and these cauldrons were kept simmering all night, and eventually all day too, to provide breakfast for Cairo's population. Cookshops throughout Cairo would send their minions to the Princess Baths to buy their wholesale fūl.
Fūl is prepared from the small, round bean known in Egypt as fūl ḥammām. The beans are cooked until very soft. Other kinds of fava beans used by Egyptian cooks are fūl rūmī ("Roman", i.e. European broad beans), large kidney-shaped fava beans, and fūl baladī, country beans, of middling size. Fūl nābit (or nābid) is fava bean sprouts, fūl akhḍar ('green fūl') is fresh fava beans, and fūl madshūsh is crushed fava beans.
Ful is a popular breakfast meal in Syria, especially Aleppo. The fava beans are left simmering in large copper jars throughout the night, to be served from the next morning on; the beans swim in tahini and olive oil, completed with a hint of red pepper paste over the top.
In northern Somalia, ful is eaten with a pancake-like bread called laxoox. It is also part of Ethiopian cuisine, where it is one of the only dishes not served with Ethiopia's traditional injera (flatbread). Instead, ful is served with standard flour bread, often providing a communal kitchen for patrons seeking to bake such types of breads. The beans are topped, or mixed with, a combination of oil and berbere.
In Malta, ful bit-tewm (beans with garlic) is usually associated with fasting during Lent and Good Friday. The beans are soaked in water overnight, cooked in oil with garlic and fresh or dried mint and dressed with olive oil or vinegar before serving.
A typical recipe of ful medames has the following nutritional analysis per 200g:
- Calories: 342
- Total fat (g): 27
- Saturated fat (g): 4
- Cholesterol (mg): 0
- Carbohydrates (g): 20
- Protein (g): 7
- http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/198803/a.harvest.of.legume.research.htm A Harvest of Legume Research
- Gil Marks, Encyclopedia of Jewish Food
- 1,001 Foods to Die For, Madison Books, Andrews McMeel Publishing, p. 570.
- Professor Janet Abu-Lughod - Princeton University Press
- James C. McCann, Stirring the Pot: A History of African Cuisine, (Ohio University Press: 2009), p.99.
- ful medames recipe and nutrition facts
- Step-by-step guide
- Ottolenghi, Yotam. "The perfect hummus debate", The Guardian, June 29, 2010.
- Cuisine and Culture: A History of Food and People by Linda Civitello