Last Updated: 2021-04-12
2 SERVINGS EASY 105 CAL APPETIZER 20 MIN (6 MIN PREP + 14 MIN COOK TIME)
One of my oldest friends in Morocco is Fatiha from the town of Asilah. We hit it off from the very beginning. She’s both charming and incredibly generous. I don’t mean the type of person that just says, “I’m here for anything you need”, as if it were a set phrase. She’s the type that gives you the help you need before you even ask.
As if those virtues weren’t enough, she is also a great cook. So, I was thrilled when she taught me how to cook an appetizer that’s colorful, simple and suitable for vegans: Moroccan bean dip (also known as bissara or bessara). This is a great choice if you have dinner guests but not a lot of time.
I suppose most of you know what hummus is (chickpea cream that is served as a starter, usually with pita bread). This recipe is similar but made with broad beans instead.
Let’s get started!
1 diced onion
2 garlic cloves
400 gr. boiled broad beans (also known as fava beans)
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
100 ml. olive oil
1 tablespoon oregano
The juice of a half a lemon
1 Boil the beans. If you don’t have enough time, you can buy cooked beans in a can or jar from the supermarket. Don’t worry. It won’t impact the flavor. Either way, drain them and rinse them well, then leave them aside in a colander.
The original and most popular version of bissara is more soup-like. It’s also a low budget favorite, thus the common Moroccan phrase: “He’s so poor that he only eats bissara”.
I took the liberty of making it into a creamy appetizer. (For the traditional soup version, at this point, don’t drain any of the water from the beans).
2 Put half the olive oil in a frying pan along with the finely minced garlic and onion. Two cloves of garlic is what I recommend, but if you want a stronger flavor you can add one more (and if you prefer it very mild, one less).
3 Sautée everything over low heat, stirring from time to time to prevent sticking.
4 When the onion begins to turn clear, put the beans into the frying pan and leave it over medium heat for 5 or 6 minutes.
5 Put everything in the blender, along with the rest of the olive oil, the lemon juice, the cumin, the oregano, the black pepper and the salt. Blend until you get a nice purée, which is the ideal texture for flavor and presentation. If it’s too thick, add a tablespoon or two of water. (For the soup version: add water until you achieve your desired consistency).
Now for presentation: the most common is to present it on a large plate in the center of the table, with batbout (Moroccan bread), pita bread, nachos or some vegetable such as carrot sticks (this last option is my favorite).
It’s best to cook the day before in my opinion. Everyone’s taste is different, but to me the flavor is better and the texture is more consistent if you serve it cold.
That’s the Moroccan bean dip recipe. I hope you add it to your personal recipes filed under “simple starters to make me look like a real chef to my friends”. See you in the next post. Much love to all!
If you want to learn more check out our page on easy Moroccan recipes.