Learning to Make Foul – One of Jordan’s Oldest and Most Important Dishes

My first day in Jordan, as part of a trip sponsored by the Jordan Tourism Board, was a whirlwind. I was tired, but didn’t want to waste a single moment while exploring Jordan. At last, we sat down for a simple lunch and I was excited to try some fresh hummus and falafel. What I wasn’t expecting was a strange, small dish that everyone seemed to be enjoying – foul.

Foul (pronounced fool) is a very simple concept, which explains why it dates back thousands of years and can be traced around the Middle East. In Jordan, it was most commonly eaten as or with breakfast, but I quickly noticed that it was a side dish at every meal, and even offered as a snack. Served with warm rounds of bread, it makes a great meal.

The key ingredient in foul are fava beans, and a rich variety of spices and olive oil that, once combined, make a delicious, hummus-like meal or snack. I asked my guide Abed how to make it and, after a quick call to his mom, this is what he supplied.

Jordanian Foul:

Ingredients

Fava beans
Salt
Garlic
Green peppers
Lemon
Olive Oil

Directions

Boil the fava beans with water until they are very soft. (can also be soaked overnight for same result)
When soft, remove from heat and grind with salt until a paste forms.
Add green peppers, lemon and salt to taste, and continue to mash.
Top the finished product with olive oil and serve!

By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer.

13 thoughts on “Learning to Make Foul – One of Jordan’s Oldest and Most Important Dishes”

  1. I definitely have to try and make this!!! Of course I keep wanting to pronounce it like it’s spelled and it just makes me think of the stinky foods I’ve encountered living over here. We have some unique spice and ethnic stores here, I will see if I can try to track down fava beans, otherwise I may have to wait until I return to the States this summer. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  2. That’s looks so different from the foul I’ve had in Egypt! There’s has much less oil and must be made with different beans as it is actually kind of dark. First I thought it was kind of weird – but then I started to dip my bread in it and actually got to like it :)

  3. Did you actually do a cooking class to learn this? After a cooking class in Buenos Aires, I’m going to seek out more cooking classes while traveling. So much fun to learn to make the traditional dishes, and they taste so much better when homemade.

    1. No, sadly didn’t have time, my guide’s mom supplied all of my Jordan recipes. I’ve done cooking classes elsewhere while traveling and love it.

  4. Looks very easy to make dish. I definitely have to try and make this. Glad that you told us the correct pronunciation. Otherwise it was making a foul smell. :)

    Have you tried making at home after that?

  5. This is delicious dish, i ate in Amman in a very modest but very popular shop close to the central mosque that was serving only foul and hummus. And the bread was put in one place and everybody was taking from there, it was so traditional and i liked it so much.
    I took the recipe from the man there, but i never made home.

  6. I love foul medames,,, but find it interesting to see that travel Jordan has linked to you page claiming this dish as theirs when in fact its Egyptian/Sudanese.
    Levant cuisine is indeed a mixed bag of shared dishes but this is one with a definitive origin.

  7. I’m assuming you mean regular green peppers. But your picture shows something green that does not at all look like cut green peppers. It looks like parsley that has been processed a bit then poured on top.

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