Green fava beans can be used to make all kinds of salad, as well as hot dishes that are both healthy and delicious. Below are two vegan recipes: green fava rice with coconut and coriander, and green fava beans with herbs.
If lemongrass is available, it would also make a good, aromatic addition. Take a stalk of lemongrass, trim the top and bottom, and cut into two. Take one half and bash it once or twice with something heavy (like the bottom of a jar), until lightly crushed. This way its flavors will release more readily. Add to the skillet along with the coconut, and remember to fish out the lemongrass stalk at the end before serving.
Wiam El-Tamami is a writer/translator, traveler, and vegetarian cook who loves to play things by nose and ear — in the kitchen as in life.
Hala Barakat is a trained botanist. Her interest in cooking combines her passion for vegetarian food with her knowledge of food heritage in Egypt but also in relation to other countries and regions. Hala established Rohana Green, a small-scale vegetarian catering and baking project, to serve her yoga students and friends.
Fava beans are a staple food in present day Egypt and have a long history in the country and region.
One of the earliest food plants to be cultivated in Egypt, the first remains of seeds found in the Delta date to 5600 ago. Fava beans (Vicia faba) were introduced from the Levant, where they grow wild.
Finds of fava beans at archaeological sites are common all through the Pharaonic era and later sites, indicating their importance as food and their cultivation throughout Egypt since predynastic times.
The young beans are tender enough to eat raw but the tougher mature beans must be cooked. Fava beans are mostly dried and as with most other beans and pulses, the cooking is accelerated by soaking the beans for several hours in water prior to cooking. The slow cooking method (tadmees) yields the traditional fuul medammes. The beans could also be sprouted (fuul nabet) and used to make soup and fatta with bread. The hulled beans are used for patties (falafel) or cooked into a puree with green leafy vegetables and onions (bessara).
Low in fat, high in protein and carbohydrates, fava beans are particularly rich in Vitamins B1, 2, 3, 6 and 9 (folate), iron, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus.
Favism, a hereditary disorder known to largely affect men of Mediterranean origin who due to an enzyme deficiency, may have an allergic like-reaction to fava beans. The breakup of red blood cells and subsequent anemia may be triggered by eating the beans or even exposure to the pollen.
Information on history of fava beans contributed by Hala Barakat.