Mediterranean Street Food

by Anissa Helou

Published by HarperCollins

277 pages, 2002

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Beyssara (Fava Bean Soup)

from Mediterranean Street Food by Anissa Helou


This soup is found both in Morocco and in Egypt, but it is in the former country that it is served on the street. In Marrakesh, beyssara is usually cooked in large, round earthenware jars that are balanced over charcoal fires in a tilted position, to make ladling out the soup easier. Even when it is cooked in aluminum pans, the vendors will tilt the pan over the charcoal fire.

Serves 4-6

1 cup dried peeled split broad beans, soaked overnight in plenty of hot water with 1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cloves garlic

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, plus more for the garnish

scant 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 1/2 teaspoons paprika


extra-virgin olive oil


1. Rinse and drain the beans and put in a large saucepan.

2. Add the unpeeled garlic cloves, cumin, red pepper flakes, and 4 cups water. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and cook for 30 minutes, or until the broad beans have turned in a mush.

3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Discard the garlic if you can find it and add the paprika and salt to taste. Pour into a shallow bowl, drizzle olive oil all over, and sprinkle with a little more cumin. Serve very hot with Moroccan bread and more oil and cumin for those who like them.