Broad beans (or fava beans) have a long relation with the inhabitants of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. They are being cultivated for 8000 years and have left their mark in epidemiology and politics as well – they were used as votes in Ancient Greece. A small percentage of the population in the area do not take broad beans well and this is somehow related to the resistance against endemic malaria. So consuming broad beans was not always without risk.
Right now it is their season and our garden is full of them. So we decided to try out this dish, that an Iranian friend used to cook for us some years ago. We didn’t have the recipe, so we did some research and several trials.
It is a quick and easy recipe, given that you’ve already podded and shelled your broad beans, because that takes time. A lot of time actually…
To shell your podded beans, put them in a saucepan, cover them with water and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Then drain the beans and plunge them into a bowl of ice cold water. This step softens the second skin, making it easier to remove. With your fingers, squeeze the bean out from its skin.
The original recipe calls for dill, but as our garden is full of fennel at the moment, we gave it a try and we liked it.
This recipe serves two persons as a main dish or four as a starter.
- 300g fresh broad beans,podded and shelled (you will need 1,5kg beans in their pods)
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 cup dill or fennel, stalks and leaves finely chopped
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 4 eggs
Heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat and cook the garlic until soft and translucent for about one minute. Add the broad beans and stir well , taking care not to break them up.
Add the turmeric, the dill or fennel, sea salt and pepper, the warm water and cook for about eight minutes, stirring from time to time. If it starts to dry up, add some more warm water.
Crack the eggs one by one on the surface of the stew and let them cook using the heat from the beans, giving the pan a shake to distribute the egg whites. This will take about eight minutes.
Sprinkle the top of the eggs with some sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Serve with fresh sourdough bread.