Ful medames

Broad bean dip

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Lands of the Curry Leaf

Lands of the Curry Leaf

By Peter Kuruvita

Published 2018

  • About

This dip is a favourite dip all through the Arab world. I tasted the best on a recent trip to Kuwait, served in a Sri Lankan tea shop and cooked by a Persian (Iranian) chef. Here is the Afghan version, which is wonderful served with fresh tamiz — a thick Afghan bread that is very popular in Saudi Arabia as well.

Preparation 10 minutes + overnight soaking (optional)
Cooking 15 minutes (+ 3 hours cooking if using dried beans)


  • 200 g (7 oz/1 cup) dried broad beans (fava beans), or a 540 g (1 lb 3 oz) tin of fava beans
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons tahini, or to taste (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • lemon quarters, to serve
  • Obi non or Afghan bread, to serve


If using dried beans, soak them overnight in plenty of cold water. Next day, drain the beans and place in a saucepan with 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 2–3 hours, or until the beans are very tender. Drain, reserving 100 ml ( fl oz) of the cooking water, and set aside.

If using tinned beans, drain half and reserve 100 ml ( fl oz) of the liquid from the tin.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the onion and garlic over medium heat for about 3 minutes, or until the onion starts to brown. Add the ground spices, stirring well.

Add the beans and reserved cooking water or brine. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and simmer for 5–10 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.

Remove from the heat and stir in the tahini, if using.

Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle with the parsley, chopped tomato and onion.

Serve as a dip, with lemon quarters and bread. The dip can be served hot or cold, although my preference is hot.