Brace yourselves friends, winter is here.
At least in Canada it is. Long, dark, cold winter. If you want to know what it feels like, think of Game of Thrones, but only the Winterfell parts. Now, imagine you’re stuck there for 4-5 months. Except, you are not living with the Starks and enjoying all of the Starkian luxuries.
You will be shovelling snow left and right, scraping ice, walking very carefully to avoid slipping and bruising your butt and your face will freeze. Plus it’s night time at 4.00 p.m.
That’s why hot soup. That’s the only thing I want in the winter.
What is Bissara ?
The name “Bissara” is derived from “bees-oro” which means cooked beans. It’s a traditional North-African dish that is usually made with dried fava beans and/or split peas. There are many varieties of it. For instance, Egyptian Bissara includes leafy greens such as spinach and fresh herbs like mint and dill.
Today we will be making the Moroccan version. The one I grew up eating on cold winter days.
Well, Moroccan cold winter. It was as cold as 7 degrees centigrade in Marrakesh … brrrrrr
I loved it, though. It was perfect then, and it is perfect now. And chances are if you are having a case of the winter blues, you will love this soup.
How to prepare Bissara
The first thing to know is that you can make Bissara with either dried fava beans or dried split peas (yellow or green) or a combination of both. You don’t have to soak your beans, but they will cook faster if you do.
I personally don’t soak them.
If you want to cook them faster, you can do so by using an Instant pot or any other kind of pressure cooker you like.
That said, there are 2 main steps to this recipe:
1. Bring to a boil your peas/beans in a large pot of water. Add your garlic cloves, olive oil, salt, turmeric and cumin. Lower the heat and cook until your beans get very soft. This should take about 30 to 35 minutes.
2. Let your soup cool down, and blend it. You can use an immersion blender or a regular one. If you find that your soup is too thick then add a little more water to it, if not, enjoy as is.
As far as garnish goes, I like to garnish my soup with some flaky salt, hot cayenne, cumin and a drizzle of olive oil. And of course some crispy bread.
It’s a Moroccan recipe, you know bread must be involved at some point.
Moroccan Bissara Recipe | Fava Bean and Split Peas Soup
Made with Fava Beans and Split Peas, this Moroccan classic is the classic winter dish you've never heard of.
- 1 cup dry fava beans
- 1 cup dry split peas
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic
- Salt to taste
Add your dry fava beans and split peas to a large pot. Add 4 to 6 cups of water or just add enough to completely submerge your beans/peas. Place your pot on your stove at medium-high heat and add cumin, paprika, turmeric powder, salt and olive oil. Using the palm of your hand, crush your garlic cloves, peel and add them to the pot.
Bring your pot to a boil, cover and lower the heat to medium-low. Let cook for 30-35 minutes. Once your beans are broken down turn the heat off and let your pot cool down for about 10 minutes. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until you get a smooth texture.
To garnish, add a drizzle of olive oil, some cumin and some hot cayenne powder if you're feeling bold. Serve with a slice of bread and enjoy!
Looks yummy, will try out the recipe.
What a wonderful recipe. Thanks so much for sharing.
Garden Thyme says
This looks amazing, can you use other types of beans as a substitute?
Any kind of dry split beans is a good choice for this recipe. I have even used red lentils and it worked quite well 🙂
Just Had it last week , it is so tasty for the lover of winter soup.
Reminder take the bubbly part when boiling the fava bean , it is full of gases…
Very good reminder AJ! I will add that to the instructions.
Glad you enjoyed it 🙂
Is something wrong with the amount of water called for in the recipe? I used 2 liters and soup was thin like a broth. Seems like 1 liter of water is more appropriate to get a thick soup. Also recipes instructions say “add cumin, paprika, turmeric powder, salt…” yet the ingredients list does not mention paprika at all. How much paprika should be added? Seems some edits are needed!
Thank you for the heads’ up! I updated the recipe.
How much paprika? You mention it in the recipe instructions but not the ingredient list.
Thank you for catching that Sarah. I updated the recipe card (it’s 1 tsp).
Andrew Bennett says
How can dried fava beans only need 35 minutes of cooking? They generally take at least 2 hours, maybe slightly less for really small slivered ones.
Hi Andrew, if cooked in a pressure cooker fava beans cook much faster.
Christina J says
Hello! Looks great and I can’t wait to try. How much cloves? I see it talked about but I can’t see the amount. Thank you!
Hi Christina! It’s 2 cloves. Thank you for letting me know. I will update the recipe.