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Ful medames with malawach (Yemeni flatbreads)
Ful medames with malawach (Yemeni flatbreads)
Middle Eastern
Sharing plate
1.5 hours

Ful medames is an iconic bean stew popular across the Middle East, gently spiced with cumin, cinnamon, cayenne and paprika. Here, it's served with malawach, a crisp, layered Yemeni flatbread not too dissimilar to Indian parathas. Topped with a spoonful of yoghurt and a lemony lovage, basil and parsley pesto, it's an incredible dish that belies its simple ingredients.

Recipe courtesy of

Ful medames

  • 280g of dried white haricot beans, soaked overnight in cold water
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 dash of olive oil
  • 280g of onion, finely chopped
  • 12g of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 pinches of ground cinnamon
  • 4 pinches of cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 4 tsp lemon juice, plus a little lemon zest
  • 2 tomatoes, small, grated
  • 4 tbsp of natural yoghurt, to serve


  • 200g of plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 10g of caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 100ml of water
  • 1 tbsp of nigella seeds
  • Maldon salt
  • 125ml of clarified butter, melted

Lovage pesto

  • 12g of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 20g of fresh lovage, roughly chopped (if you can't find lovage, substitute with parsley or celery leaves)
  • 20g of basil, roughly chopped
  • 25g of parsley, roughly chopped
  • 10g of preserved lemon, blitzed to a paste (or ready-made preserved lemon paste)
  • 5g of lemon juice
  • 150g of olive oil
  • Maldon salt, to taste
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  1. Drain the soaked beans and add to a large saucepan with the bicarbonate of soda. Cover with cold water by at least 1 inch, then bring to the boil, skimming off any scum that rises to the top. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes to 2 hours until tender (the cooking time will depend on the size and freshness of your beans). Once cooked, drain and set aside
  2. While the beans are cooking, begin making the malawach. Mix the flour, sugar and salt together in a bowl, then gradually add the water until a dough forms (you may not need all the water). Knead for 5 minutes, then cover and set aside to rest for 30 minutes
  3. Divide the dough into 4 equal balls. Dust a work surface with flour and roll one of the balls out as thinly as possible. Brush the top with butter, sprinkle over some nigella seeds and Maldon salt, then roll the circle up to create a tight sausage. Coil the tube in on itself to create a spiral shape, tucking the end underneath itself, then roll out until thin. Brush with butter, roll into a sausage, coil into a spiral and roll flat once again, then repeat this step for a final third time until you’re left with a thin flatbread. Set aside under a tea towel and repeat with the remaining three balls of dough to create 4 flatbreads
  4. To finish the ful medames, heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic for 7 minutes or until soft but not coloured. Add the cumin, cinnamon, cayenne and paprika and cook, stirring for another few minutes until aromatic, then stir through the beans

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