Ethiopian ful medames

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This Ethiopian ful medames recipe makes a superb, spicy breakfast, served with boiled eggs and crusty white rolls. Be sparing with the mitmita before serving, adding more later if you'd like to increase the heat – it packs a real punch thanks to the bird's eye chillies.

First published in 2018

Ful medames, or 'stewed dried beans' are a common breakfast dish throughout Egypt and the Middle East. The Ethiopian version stews the beans in berbere and niter kibbeh, a fragrantly spiced clarified butter and is sprinkled with the fiery spice blend mitmita.




Ful medames

Niter kibbeh


To serve


  • Muslin cloth or a coffee filter
  • Spice grinder


Begin by making the niter kibbeh. Place all the ingredients in a pan and slowly simmer for 15–20 minutes. When the solids in the butter start to caramelise, strain the butter through a muslin cloth or coffee filter
The niter kibbeh can now be kept refrigerated for up to 2 weeks
For the ful medames, heat 3 tbsp of niter kibbeh and gently sauté the diced onion, garlic and berbere spice until soft, about 5 minutes
Drain the beans and add to the pan with the stock. Simmer on a low heat until the stock has nearly all evaporated and the beans can be mashed with the back of a wooden spoon
  • 100ml of stock
As you wait for the beans to cook, prepare the mitmita spice blend. Toast the chillies, cardamom and cloves in a hot dry pan until fragrant. Transfer them to a spice grinder with the salt and blend to a powder. The mitmita can now be kept in an airtight container for 3 months, though is best used within 2 weeks for a more vibrant flavour
Spread out the roughly mashed beans onto a serving plate and drizzle with some more niter kibbeh. Top with the boiled eggs, tomato, spring onion and parsley. Serve with a sprinkling of mitmita and some crusty white bread rolls

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