Broad Bean Mash


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • To Make A Bowlful (Will Feed


    As A Generous Side Dish)

Appears in


By Sally Butcher

Published 2014

  • About

A versatile purée from the Maghreb – and a top comfort food to boot. Enjoy hot or cold. Again, it is rather good with a platter of raw vegetables. Pictured at bottom.


  • 200 g/7 oz. generous 1 cup dried split broad (fava) beans, soaked for 6 hours, or overnight
  • splash of olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cumin seeds (optional)
  • 1 level tsp smoked paprika
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Garnish

  • olive oil, for frying
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1 soupçon of paprika


Drain the broad beans. Next, heat a little oil in a saucepan and fry the onion and cumin seeds together for a few minutes, followed by the smoked paprika and most of the drained beans (keep a handful back). Stir well before adding about 500ml/18fl oz/generous 2 cups water. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 1 hour, or until the beans are mushy and most of the water has been absorbed (do check during the cooking process that the liquid has not dried out – if it looks dry, just add another glass of water). Once the beans are cooked, blend or mash them together with the lemon juice and season to taste.

Finally, heat a little olive oil in a pan and fry the remaining beans until they are browned and crispy. Spoon the besara into a bowl, scatter the fried beans on top, then swirl the surface with extra-virgin olive oil and paprika. This is a dish that is best enjoyed fresh and still warm. Serve with crusty bread, extra lemon wedges and perchance some crudités.