Besara is an Egyptian cuisine also known as busara. The main ingredient of besara is the broad beans (fava beans) which is widely used in Egyptian cuisine. Other ingredients are green leaves like coriander, parsley and dill are used in the Egyptian version of busara.
Mloukhieh leaves are a type of edible green similar to spinach and in the English language are called Jute mallow. First cultivated in Egypt known as Egyptian spinach. When cooked, the leaves exude a slimy jelly which many liken to the texture of okra. Mloukhieh leaves can be found at many Middle Eastern groceries and most likely in frozen form. You can also get dried Mloukhieh leaves, which is best used to cook the besara.
Fava beans are an ancient food, first eaten in Egypt over 5000 years ago. Split fava beans spread throughout the Middle East and are now used in a wide range of cuisines. The split fava beans used to cook the besara are nutty –flavoured broad beans which have been dried, skinned and cracked. The peeled splinted fava beans are an enormous time saver, as you do not need to peel the beans before cooking. Split fava beans are also the main ingredient in falafel and the Egyptian fried fava bean patties, (TAMIYA).
– 500g fava beans skinned and dried ( soaked in water overnight)
– ½ cup of olive oil
– 3 large onion chopped
– 200g of mloukhieh, dried and finely crushed and sifter to powder form 3 cups
– 8-10 garlic gloves minced
– 2 tablespoon of coriander powder
– 1 tablespoon of cumin powder
– Red Chilli powder ( optional)
– 1 tablespoon of black pepper
– Salt for taste
Soak the fava beans overnight till double its sized
Finely crush and sifter the Mloukhieh to powder form and get rid of the leaf veins. You should get around 3 cups of fine Mloukhieh powder.
Fry the onions with olive oil until the onion are caramelized, crispy and brown in colour. Remove the fried onion and divide in half on paper towel for the garnish the rest with the oil to add later to the cooking.
In a cooking pot, add the soaked beans and cover completely with 10 cups of water. Cover the pot, over medium heat cook for an hour and half until it becomes tender. You can also cook them in a pressure put to speed up the process, it takes about half an hour.
After one hour of cooking add the half caramelized onion with its oil, the garlic and the chilli, coriander and cumin powder with salt and black pepper stir well and let it cook for another 30 min.
After the beans are completely cooked. Add the Mloukhieh powder stir well until it turns green in colour.
Blend well together with a hand blender to smoothen them to a thick creamy form. Add 1 and a ½ cup of boiling water and Simmer over low medium heat for 30 min stirring every 5 min so it does not Bern and the Mloukhieh is cooked.
When it becomes a fine paste with a uniform consistency
remove from heat and pour in deep small diches. Garnish with the caramelized onion and chilli powder if you like it spicy. Best served cold with Lebanese pita bread or Naan bread. You can also squeeze lemon juice on top when eating.