I have always considered myself quite a nice person. I like food of all shapes, flavours and colours. From every country and continent. I don’t discriminate, I am an equal opportunity eater. It’s only the doctors who say I’m intolerant. And certain foods who refuse to tolerate me. They certainly refuse to recognise and respect my right to eat them without major physical discomfort and distress.

Gluten and lactose are not my friends.

Despite the negative attitudes surrounding me from many of those I love best, (cakes, ice cream, hot toast) I decided to become a chef. Not always easy when you live in a bread and milk filled world. I like to think that this has helped me become a better person as I embrace my differences and refuse to let the gluten get me down. I believe InTolerance. I am the InTolerant Chef.

Food should not be about what you can’t eat, but what you can and what you enjoy eating. This blog is about my journey of cooking and eating and discovery. It’s not a definitive guide to allergy awareness nor do my intolerances make me an expert. Your body is your responsibility, not mine. I only know what works for me.

I can tell you this..... No glutens were harmed in the making of this website.

June 10, 2013

Ful Medames

When I go away, even for just a day, I tend to take a supply of food with me

Not because I'm fussy, not because I'm OCD, but because it's just easier to know that I'm not going to be stuck ill for hours by accidentally eating gluten. Muesli bars are a great stand by, and that's what I had in hand when I spent the night at my Bloggie Bestie Celia's house- just in case.
BUT, if any of you know anything about Celia, and her generosity of spirit, you would have know how silly and ridiculous that kind of thinking really is. Instead of dry, fairly tasteless muesli bars, I was served up a big, steamy bowl of the yummiest bean dish you could imagine, Ful Meadames.


Apparently the national dish of Egypt, Ful or Fuul is delicious, filling and suitable for vegos and vegans as well as us InTolerants. Ful is the Egyptian word for Broad beans (sometimes known as Fava beans), and medames is a word meaning buried, which refers to the original cooking method of burying a sealed pot of water and beans in hot coals and simmering it away for hours and hours until tender. This would be prepared by the public bath attendants who could put it there each evening and have a nice hot breakfast waiting for the next morning.

After having this delicious breakfast at Celia, I was determined to make it here at home as Winter's chill and minus temperatures need a rib-sticking breakfast to keep up your strength up!

When I make a recipe, especially a classic or traditional cuisine, I really like to research it well first. I turn to my multitude of cookbooks, my tech books, and even Mr Google for ideas and inspiration. This time though I actually found very little variation in the basic bean recipe, just in the toppings, and the Internet search gleaned mostly mashed-up-tinned-bean recipes that didn't interest me at all.
I decided in the end to go with Food Safari's great recipe which had a combination of both broad beans and red lentils, but cook it my own way with a couple of little changes to suit my taste and time restraints.

Ful Medames
(start the day before if presoaking the beans)

2 cups dried Broad Beans
1 cup dried Red Lentils
1/3 cup EVOO
6 cloves Garlic
1 tablespoon ground Cumin

Rinse the beans and lentils really well until the water runs fairly clear

Soak the beans and lentils for a few hours, or overnight. Less if you cook it longer in the pressure cooker

Drain them well, then place the soaked beans into the pressure cooker with 6 cups of water, garlic cloves, cumin and 1/3 cup of good olive oil. Cook for an hour in a pressure cooker, then check to see if they are soft.
If you're cooking them on the stove top, you'll need to bring them to the boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 to 8 hours- checking and stirring occasionally. A simmer mat is really good for this as you don't want the beans to catch

The broad beans should be lovely and tender by now, and the lentils should have disappeared all together into the murk. Don't worry that there seems to be a lot of liquid, trust me it will soak into the beans and you might even need to add more!

Ful can be served as is, roughly mashed with a potato masher and served as a stew-ish bowl, or blended up well with a stick blender into a thick type of dip as I did. Whatever style you prefer though, DON'T take out ANY of the liquid!

As you can see, this dish thickens up remarkably

Ful is often served spread thickly on a pita and packed with salad then rolled as a quick eat-as-you-go breakfast, or in a bowl as a stew with cooked tomatoes, onions and spices and even boiled eggs. The toppings I've decided to include for my feast include Tahini, Hummus, Garlic, Cumin, Sumac and Lemon juice

Spoon a good splodge into a bowl, I like to make a channel to hold in all the extra yummies

Season very generously with salt- remember that no salt has been added yet, and beans are quite bland on their own really. Crush on the garlic now too- I like the warm hum of a bit of raw garlic, but you can leave it off if you have an important breakfast meeting :)

Now add a great big spoon of tahini, a little scoop of hummus, a big sprinkle of cumin and sumac, a drizzle of very nice and grassy EEVO, and serve up with a wedge of lemon for squeezing and some GF flatbread for scooping- Yummo!

This has been a delicious breakfast or lunch for days, and I packed portions in baggies in the freezer for busy mornings as well. All in all it made about 12 very decent portions for a tiny price. Well worth it!
Brown foods are so hard to photograph well, but doesn't this look delicious with all the toppings swimming around bathing the beans with flavour? Yummo!

So my Dearest Readers, what do you enjoy for breakfast on a cold day, and have you tried Egyptian cuisine before?


  1. Rebecca..I have never heard of this dish before...omg...I so want it! It is a flavorful dish so full of yumminess. I would eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner...so so good!

  2. G'day Rebecca! Your photo look so warm and welcoming, TRUE!
    Reminds me exactly being in Egypt and LOVE the cuisine too!

  3. Hehe you know I'd love to stay at Celia's too but I don't think she'd let me because I'd just raid her chocolate and bread stash and then I'd be like the wolf boys! :P

  4. Becca, you're such a sweetheart, and didn't we have a fabulous time when you stayed over, even if I was a lousy friend and forgot about your birthday the entire day I was with you (still feeling bad about that, sorry love!). Your ful looks so much better than what I served up for breakfast that morning, so I'm going to make it your way from now on! Thanks for such comprehensive instructions! Come back and play again soon! xxx

  5. I'm not one bit surprised that Celia looked after you with ful medames or anything else. What a star.

  6. This sounds delicious and very filling Bec and Celia!

  7. Of course Celia looked after you and your dietary needs. She's such a generous soul and I'm sure a wonderful host as well. I have never made this and I don't have a pressure cooker. How long would you cook it for without one? That is a filling start to the day for sure and this would not only be economical to make but so very good for you too - a lot better than a bowl of Fruit Loops xx

    1. She is wonderful indeed Charlie! You need to cook the beans for 5 to 8 hours, just ticking away quietly on the stove. A simmer mat is really helpful for this if you have one. It's certainly much healthier and yummier than fruit loops for sure! Xox

  8. Oh it looks so delicious and healthy. I love enjoy breakfasts from other countries, so much more interesting than Mr Kellogg offerings :)

  9. I love these kinds of dishes, this is one we love.

  10. Ooooohhh this looks good! And I like the idea of beans for breakfast! :D

    I've never cooked broad beans so far, but there are plenty of Turkish or Arabic food stores around, so I think I'll be able to get them there (they aren't sold in regular supermarkets here).

  11. I love Egyptian food.. was so happy with all the offerings when we visited 3 years ago (the year before the riots)..

  12. I love Egyptian food & this looks as good as it can get! I've found that cooking pulses in my slow cooker is a great shortcut, too. I just stick the lot in and forget about them.