Perhaps its my Asian DNA, but I've always been more of a savory breakfast person than sweet. Whether it's a bowl of Pho, or an Eggs Benedict I'll almost always chose the savory path when dining out. The trouble is, savory breakfasts tend to take more time to make than a slice of toast or bowl of cereal. That's why I often end up going sweet, or skipping breakfast when I'm in a rush to get out the door.
This is when Ful Medames swoops in and saves the day. It's originally an Egyptian dish, that's worked its way onto breakfast tables around the Middle East. Somewhere between a bean salad and a bean dip, it's usually made by seasoning cooked fava beans with olive oil, spices and aromatics before being served with bread and pickled vegetables. This makes it a quick, satisfying breakfast if you keep your pantry stocked with a few cans of beans.
The details of how Ful Medames are made and what goes into it them is a hot-button issue because every home makes them differently. Some people mash the beans, others leave them whole, some cooks (especially in the Levant) top Ful with Tahina, while others top it with boiled eggs. Even the transliteration of the Arabic name فول مدمس, runs the gamut from ful madammas to foule mudammes. My point is that there's no right or wrong way to make it.
Personally I like chopping up some sweet umami-rich tomatoes, crisp onions, and pungent garlic and mashing them together with the fava beans, lemon juice, olive oil, and a bit of cumin. The ratios are up to you, but I've included my recipe below.
- Heat the beans in their liquid either in the microwave or on the stove.
- Drain the beans and put them in a bowl, reserving the liquid to add later.
- Add the tomatoes, onion, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin and salt to the bowl with the beans. Mash the beans together with everything else until they are the consistency you want. The mixture will probably be quite thick, so add some of the cooking liquid from the beans until it reaches the consistency you want.
- Adjust the seasonings to taste and then plate ful medames in a bowl, using a spoon to make some waves on the surface. Cover with more olive oil and serve with bread and pickled vegetables.