How I like to eat Foul in Saudi Arabia.

First of all foul is actually pronounced as if it you were saying the word “fool.”  Foul Medames (commonly refered to simply as foul) are a bean product and staple of any Saudi diet.  Foul can be readily served at every meal – breakfast, lunch, dinner and even in-between.  It is available in all the grocery stores both large and small as well as one can go to any restaurant and purchase fresh foul to take home.  Foul may also be known as fava beans.  While the typical color is hues of red, sometimes one may see foul which is more yellow in color as well as almost black in color.  However when buying it off the shelf in a can, the foul is usually the red beans.


Foul is not unique to Saudi Arabia.  It can be found throughout the Arab world.  It is traditionally served in small bowls and eaten by scooping chunks of traditional Arabic style bread into the foul similar as to how one dips chips into a picante sauce.


Foul is a tasty dish which can fill one up very quickly.


I like foul but I am a little bit picky on how it is prepared and prefer to “doctor” my own.  I’ll start with an “off the shelf” can of foul medames (or fava beans).  I’ll pour the can (beans and sauce) into a blender.  I will also add some finely chopped tomatos, onions and chili peppers.  On top of that I’ll season it with salt, pepper and cumin.  Then I will squeeze the juice from half a lemon and start the blender.  I’ll let it blend until it has the texture of a thick paste.  From the blender I will transfer it to the stove and let it heat until it is bubbling and hot, stirring occasionally so as not to stick or burn. 


For serving I put foul in several small dishes around the dinner table for easy access to everyone.  I’ll pour a small amount of olive oil on top of the foul in the dish, garnish with a few pieces of fresh parsley and add a very small amount of ground cumin to the top.  Served piping hot with warmed Arabic bread makes it an instant hit at any meal.

27 Responses

  1. Fool is wonderful! I thought Egyptians were the only fool-eaters.

    There are several variations of its preparation. I like to saute onions and garlic, add tomatoes and cumin, cook the mix for a few minutes, then add a can of fool.

    When everything is hot, I put it in the serving bowl, and top with olive oil, lemon juice, and chopped coriander.

    Sometimes I buy fool with hummus.

    The beauty of cooking fool is that you can add or subtract any of these extra ingredients, or blend it or leave the beans whole.

  2. I love foul! You’re right – it has to be doctored up just right. Quite often we have it for breakfast. I love it with the bigger thicker Afghani bread called tameez. It reminds me a little bit of Mexican refried beans. Yummy!

  3. Hi Carol nice pics 🙂
    I miss my mom’s foul but luckly I can find some in AUS.

    I just want to add, to those who are not in Saudi Arabia, ”foul” is (Fava Bean) in English.

  4. I eat this a lot because I’m so lazy 🙂

    My favorite version is fool mashed up with garlic, lemon, harissa, onion, and olive oil. And then eaten with hardboiled eggs, salata, and pita bread

  5. I love to eat this too and it is very filling. I just heat up a little olive oil in the pot, add garlic, lemon juice, and the can of “foul”. After cooking I add a tbsp of tahini and serve with olive oil on top. Sometimes I will add chopped tomatoes on the top. I like your version Carol and Marahm. I am going to try it that way too.

  6. A friend of my Mothers found FOUL in the grocery store in Arizona. The Grocery Store Chain Bashas is owned by a family from Lebanon.

  7. Tried once in a 5 stars hotel in Jeddah.
    Sorry, not in my taste.

  8. A version that I like is the Sudani foul. Mixed with minced hard boiled eggs and diced tomatoes. Breakfast of champions!

  9. MMmmmmMMmm,

    I’m actually in the mood to dip into some foul and hommus right now 😀 yum hehe…

    great, thanks a lot Carol (sarcastic tone) hehe 🙂

  10. when i was in the states, usually at the end of the month, i would dream about the cheap goodness that is fool. i used to miss it ha ha

  11. well…. during my first weeks in the states, i bought a can of dog food, thinking that it was fool… grrrrr.. what a fool I had been!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. I looove foul!! I like it best blended really smoothly, with olive oil on top and some fresh cilantro. Also, the best bread to eat it with IMO is freshly made Egyptian bread:)
    Also, I have seen foul (aka Fava Beans) even at WalMart in the USA. If not, it will definately be in stock at your local Arabian grocery store.

  13. Yummy! I think I will go for my Spanish styled Foul- Refried Beans with hot burrito tortillas, and some monterey jack cheese to spice things up…and a large hot mug of chocolate a la grandma with whipped steaming milk poured from one hot pot to the other -frothy chocolate! –

    ok so its cold and blustry here in NY today…so all this talk of beans has me fit to be tied! Thanks Bedu for reminding me why I have to stick to a strict diet- of not overindulging! LOL

  14. Looking from the picture, this is the “dry” one. The one my mum makes is the “wet” one (some sort of bean soup type). Since Arab bread is nowhere to be found here, we eat it with bread or with French baugettes. To neutralise any salty flavours or anything, onions and lime juice is provided.

    When my mum was in her lazy mood few days after Eid, she prepared fool that was a little generous on the salt yet it was wiped clean by the visitors who came to our house for visitations. Surprisingly, many asked for more.

  15. hate it 🙂 But I do love the big breads that are so cheap here with a lentil dip that is mmmm yummy. Mr. Man gets foul and I get the adas and the kids tear through those big breads in no time. We get it from an Afghani place sooo good

  16. No mint? No ginger?

  17. Oh Nader that is sooo funny, When I first arrived here I bought laban thinking it was coffee cream. Ruined a perfectly good cup of coffee. My Mom suggested putting a quarter tsp. of baking soda in the foul while cooking on the stove. This will reduce the amount of gas it creates in the tummy, for those of us with sensitive G I tracts. I just found out she used to do this with home made baked beans back home. (Canada) Moms are so smart!!!

  18. Yumm… I quite like it and hubby and my 7 year old love it! He thinks the best Foul is from somewhere near Euromarche and of course he always brings some Tamese to eat with it and sometimes Kibdah (chopped liver (not my thing 😕 ). Very healthy, nutritious and CHEAP!

  19. I would like to let you all know that American Bedu is not ignoring any of your comments. She’s just having an internet withdrawal at the moment, and it is expected to last till Saturday, November 1. Since most of her posts are written in advance, she’s asked a friend to upload them for her.
    For updated information on American Bedu, you can check the following:

  20. Oh Nader…dog food!!! Actually one time I took a taste of moist cat food just to see what it actually tasted like. Didn’t kill me but I would’nt repeat it.

    Yes…I GOT DISCHARGED!!!!!!! so I am now slowly catching up on all comments…and responding slowly….but I am back and so happy to catch up here.

    I love all these comments and hearing of the many ways to prepare the versatile foul.

    One time we were out of foul and I had refried beans. My stepchildren were visiting and I made omelets and served them with the refried beans and afghani bread. I also melted monterey jack cheese over the beans. They kept asking where did I get this foul and I just simply told them it was “foul, American style!”

  21. Reuters picked up this post:

  22. MMm Mmm Good! I love foul! I like to serve it with rice and salad. I make this at least once a week. Usually on a night that I’m pressed for time and ideas. One year while making up my Ramadan days ( 23 of them! ) I ate this each time I broke my fast and I still love it! Its really good if you dip your bread in hot sauce before scooping up some of the foul.

  23. You’re making me hungry Tina reading how much you enjoy eating foul!

    I will also fix it when I need a “quick fix” for a starving husband who wants something fast!

  24. […] Other favorite dishes my family preferred when not feeling well include white rice with milk and sugar; kupsa (chicken and rice); seleek;  and as they are feeling better, foul. […]

  25. Hello, I currently moved to Saudi Arabia and cooking here has me going crazy…I can’t seem to find many ingredients here as I had in the US. Where can I find colby-monterey-jack cheese?? Please let me know, much appreciated!

  26. veeeeeerrrrryyyyy tasty

  27. i spend a lot of years working in Saudi and my favorite was a dish just like foul but it have tomatoe and looked reddish and had a different name and to save my life can not remember the name of this cousin to foul dish . please tell me the name of my dish

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