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Anglo-Egyptian Ful Medames: Spicy Fava Bean Stew

Hodmedod's version of the classic Egyptian ful medames, which went down very well at the Aldeburgh Food Festival in 2012 when we offered samples to show off the potential of British-grown Whole Fava Beans.

The national dish of Egypt, ful medames is a delicious spicy stew traditionally eaten for breakfast (and to break fast), often with eggs.

Myriad variations of this dish are cooked across North Africa and the Middle East. Here's the recipe for our version, inspired by the classic Egyptian dish but made with Hodmedod's British-grown beans, of course!

(If you’re pushed for time you could try our 15-minute ful medames.)

Serves 4-6 (ideal for home freezing)


  • 500g Whole Dried Fava Beans or 3 to 4 drained cans Whole Fava Beans in Water
  • 25g Fresh Coriander
  • 10g Fresh Parsley
  • ¼ tsp Cayenne
  • ¼ tsp Cinnamon
  • 1½ heaped tsp Cumin
  • 1½ heaped tsp Sugar (or more to taste)
  • 300ml Tomato Passata
  • 1 heaped dsp Tomato Paste
  • Juice of 1 Large Lemon
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1 small Red Onion
  • 1 small Chilli
  • 50ml Sunflower Oil (plus oil for frying)
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • Pepper to taste


  1. If using dried beans, soak them overnight. Drain, place in a pan, cover with plenty of water and cook until tender – about 35 - 40 minutes in a pressure cooker, an hour or more if boiling.
  2. If using canned beans, simply open the cans, drain and rinse the beans.
  3. Chop the onion and garlic until very fine (or puree in a food processor), fry gently in a little oil. Meanwhile chop and mix (or blend) the herbs, oil, lemon juice, chilli and spices.
  4. Add the spice and herb mix to the onions and garlic and cook for a few minutes. Add the passata and tomato paste plus 100ml of water (use it to wash the remains of the passata out of the jar or packet it came in).
  5. Cook for a few more minutes and then add the beans, continue to simmer and taste – add sugar, salt and pepper to adjust seasoning. The beans are ready as soon as the seasoning is balanced, though you can leave them to reduce for a thicker sauce.
  6. Eat straight away and/or cool and freeze in portions. Delicious eaten with pitta bread, tomato salad and a fried egg!

Nick Saltmarsh
Nick Saltmarsh


2 Responses


October 27, 2016

Too much cumin, I will try again with just 1/2 tsp


April 23, 2016

Worth making the slow way, with rich deep flavours and a hearty consistency. It freezes beautifully, so making up a large potful is both economical and handy. Use for any meal, but especially nice for breakfast, topped with a poached egg and dribbled with chilli sauce.

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