Whole Bean Ful Medames – With Fava Beans or Marrowfat Peas – Recipe

Whole Bean Ful Medames
Whole Bean Ful Medames – With Fava Beans or Marrowfat Peas

Ful medames is sort of the national breakfast of Egpyt, though it has spread far and wide from there. I’ve published an Ethiopian version before. I’ve never been to Egypt, but it sounds like the most common kind there is at least partially mashed. The one I’m showing you today is more reminiscent of the first ful I ever had, at a terrific Armenian restaurant that I used to haunt in East Providence, Rhode Island, almost 30 years ago. The beans there were served whole, in their own broth, doctored up with plenty of garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice.

So, then what’s up with the “marrowfat peas” in the title of this recipe? Well, we were vacationing on Whidbey Island and wandered into a Dutch specialty shop. In addition to the usual tchotchkes you’d expect to find in such a place, they had actually a rather nice selection of Dutch specialty foods, including these marrowfat peas, aka kapucijners. (No, I have no idea how you pronounce that.) The nice lady at the counter said she uses them for soup, but the shape reminded me so much of round, dried fava beans that I immediately wanted to make them into ful. So I did. It has fresh oregano on it because I didn’t have any parsley. So maybe this is what an Egyptian on boat full of Dutch sailors would make for breakfast when he landed in Crete.

Ful makes a terrific, rib-sticking breakfast, but if you are one of these crazy Americans that can only handle pancakes for breakfast, it is darn good for lunch or dinner too. Traditional accompaniments would be toasted pita and a fried egg if you like that sort of thing.

Whole Bean Ful Medames – With Fava Beans or Marrowfat Peas
Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free
Serves 4-6

10 minutes after the beans are cooked

  • 1 pound dried dark brown marrowfat peas or dried *round* fava beans (the flat ones aren’t good for ful)
  • Optional: 1 cup cooked garbanzo beans (for a little variety)
  • 4 cloves garlic, very finel minced. Use more or less to your taste.
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Kosher salt
  • Copious extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lemons
  • Fresh oregano or parsley leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Rinse and pick through the beans for any extraneous material. Cover with a good amount of water and soak overnight. Drain and add fresh water to cover by about 1 inch. Bring to a low boil and cook until tender, adding more water if needed. You can also cook them in a pressure cooker if you like, but I don’t know the exact time you’ll need. You can refrigerate the beans and broth overnight if you like, and then reheat them the next day. Drain the beans but reserve the cooking liquid, which will become the broth for your ful. 
  2. Toss the marrowfat peas or fava with the optional chickpeas, garlic, cumin, and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. If you don’t like raw garlic, you can briefly sizzle it in a little olive oil first. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  3. Spoon the beans into serving bowls and ladle some, but not too much, of the hot broth over the top. If you like, you could mash some of the beans. Drizzle lots more olive oil over the top. Garnish with a generous squeeze of lemon juice, the oregano or parsley, and several grinds of black pepper. Serve hot.
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Saturday, July 13th, 2013 in Breakfast, Gluten-Free or modifiable, Main Courses, Recipes, Vegan or Modifiable.

9 Responses to “Whole Bean Ful Medames – With Fava Beans or Marrowfat Peas – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    July 13, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    I have not made this dish but I can tell you how long it would take to cook dried , soaked flat favas or marrowfat beans in the pressure cooker. My best estimate is that they would take between 6 and 8 minutes at pressure. I would add 3/4 to 1 cup water for each cup of dried beans that have been soaked. It most likely be about 2 1/2 cups water total to cook.

    If you ever want to know more about pressure cooking, I am your go-to person. I have been teaching pressure cooking for more than 17 years. All the info is also in my book The New Fast Food which has all pressure cooking recipes.

    I love cooking beans. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  2. Reply
    Erik P.
    July 14, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

    Those are tricky sounds to describe for an English speaker. The closest I can easily get is “cup ee siners”.

  3. Reply
    Razzy 7
    July 14, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    Jill, thanks for posting pressure cooking instructions for flat favas and marrowfat beans. I think Michael’s recipe looks and sounds delicious. I’m eager to try it using a pressure cooker.

    I also want to second what Jill said about her being a go-to person for info about pressure cooking. She definitely is my go-to pressure cooking expert. I own more than 50 pressure cooking cookbooks and I refer to Jill’s more often than any I own. Her recipes are wonderful and it’s a great reference as well.

    Michael’s Herbivoracious (which I also own) and Jill Nussinow’s The New Fast Food are two books that are well-worth owning.

  4. Reply
    July 15, 2013 at 12:30 am #

    Hi I finally learned the English word for kapucijner. Literally translated it wou like d mean Capuchin like the monks. What interest me is the fact you say they are brown whereas here in Holland they are definitely grey-green. Rarely eaten in soup but cooked and then doused with rendered smoked pork fat and eaten with chopped gherkins, fried and chopped raw onions, picallilly and the crispy pork rins, the whole is called a captain’s dinner. Definitely winter food!
    However when you say soup my thoughts turn to a hearty brown bean version of the traditiional pea soup but NOT vegetarian and a whole different ball game altogether. Having said all this I’m going for your recipe it looks grest:-)

  5. Reply
    July 15, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

    I love the idea of Ful Medames and always felt like it would be one of those foods I’d fall instantly in love with if I went to Egypt. Might start with this recipe, though! 😉

  6. Reply
    July 19, 2013 at 2:19 am #

    healthy and filling..looks delicious. Thanks for sharing

  7. Reply
    Demet Guzey
    May 14, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

    Believe me, I have never had them served in holland looking so appealing. This is usually served as a side dish made with with bacon, onions and other vegetables to make the menu sound more sophisticated, as many people don’t know what kapucijners are. Well they also don’t know how to make good cappuccinos but that’s another story!

    • Reply
      May 15, 2014 at 5:42 am #

      Thanks, Demet! That’s interesting to know that they aren’t especially well known even on their home turf.

  8. Reply
    May 24, 2017 at 2:44 pm #

    I’m from the Northern part of the Netherlands. We called de kapucijners ‘raasdonders’; they tend to effect some flatulation 🙂

    An old maritime tradition, but we had it at home too:
    “Captain’s dinner”
    It consisted of;

    cooked kapucijners, slices of potatoes & onion rings, fried in butter (gebakken aardappelen met uitjes), lettuce salad garnished with tomatoes, domino’s size pieces of layered, cured pork, fried in butter, sweet/sauer (zoet zuur) gherkins,

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