My Armenian family all grew up in Egypt.  They came to the United States a few years before I was born, so we ate quite “globally.”  There was certainly a lot of Egyptian influence in our home.  One of my Dad’s favorite breakfast dishes was foul (pronounced fool).  I like it for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Foul Medames are Egyptian fava beans (apparently, broad beans here in the United States, but I think we all refer to them as fava beans).  You can find them in any Middle Eastern grocery store, dried or canned. I like to use the canned.  They are just more convenient.  If you don’t have access to a Middle Eastern grocer, I’ve seen canned fava beans in my local grocery store.  You’ll have to experiment with different brands.  Some of the grocery store brands have a tougher outer skin that is not as appealing.

In making foul, the beans are simmered a bit, mashed just a little, and traditionally served with a hard boiled egg on top.  I like just a sunny side up egg on mine.  Fried on a high heat with olive oil, it gets a crispy edge that I really like.  A warmed wedge of pita is also usually served with foul to scoop up the yumminess!

Foul before being topped with the egg.

Foul Medames

2 tablespoons onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon cumin
450 gram can Foul Medames or Fava Beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup water
1 -2 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
sprinkling of crushed red pepper flakes
2 large eggs, either hard boiled, soft boiled or fried (omit the egg to keep this dish vegan)

In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, sauté the onion for about 2 to 3 minutes then add the garlic.  Continue sautéing for just a minute.  Add the cumin, stir around to get it’s oils going, then add the fava beans and water. Bring the beans and water to a boil, then simmer for about five minutes on medium heat.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.  Using a fork, mash some of the beans, but try to leave some whole.  It makes it prettier when you can see them.

Spoon a portion in a bowl and drizzle the top with the olive oil, salt and pepper.  This makes two servings, so just use about a half tablespoon for each bowl.  Top the foul off with the egg and sprinkle it with the crushed red pepper flakes.  Serve with a warmed pita and an empty belly!

The Fava Bean – Isn’t it cute?  When I was little I thought that black line looked like a smile!  :)



  • You can add chopped tomatoes to this dish.  I just prefer it without, but if you’d like, throw them in after adding the cumin and sauté for just two minutes.
  • My favorite brand of foul, although so many of them are really good, is California Garden.  I find it at a Middle Eastern market nearby.
  • I think this makes a great appetizer too.  You’d want to double the recipe, omit the egg on top and serve the foul in a pretty bowl with pita chips on the side.
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