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Ful medames

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Ful medammas, also foul medammas, is popular in Egypt, Hijaz, Somalia, Palestine and Sudan, often eaten at breakfast. It consists of brown fava beans, partially or completely mashed, which are slow-cooked and served with olive oil, chopped parsley, onion, garlic, and lemon juice. Ful medames is typically eaten with Egyptian bread.

Left: Ful Medames served with sliced hard-boiled eggs.

Though originally a peasant food, ful medames has long been part of the daily Egyptian diet. Some have described it as being "like a stone in the stomach". This has led to it being consumed by many in the Middle East in the early morning meal to prepare for a day of fasting during Ramadan.

The dish's name derives from the Egyptian language: ful is the Egyptian word for fava beans, and medames is a Coptic word meaning "buried." The second word hints at the original cooking method, which involved burying a sealed pot of water and beans under hot coals. This cooking method for beans is mentioned in the Jerusalem Talmud, indicating that it has been used in the Middle East at least since the 4th century.

Ful medames was exported from Egypt to the Arab World, particularly the Levant, Sudan and Somalia. Ful medames came to the Horn of Africa when the Egyptians captured Zeila in the beginning of the 19th century. From there, it spread to other regions. In northern Somalia, ful is eaten with a pancake-like bread called laxoox. Ful is also part of Ethiopian cuisine, where it is served with flatbread and mitmita powder.

The combination of ful and hummus is popular in Syria , Lebanon and Israel. A typical hummus-ful dish consists of a layer of hummus topped with a serving of ful, accompanied by a quartered egg.


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