Fake Bessara: A Recipie for Moroccan Fava Bean Soup without Fava Beans
You may know that bessara is a fava bean soup eaten in Morocco, particularly in the north. And, you may notice that is a picture of orange lentils on the right, not fava beans. But, bear with me.
My Armenian sister-in-law makes a soup of orange lentils which she calls “Priests’ soup.” Each time I served it to a Moroccan, they swore it was bessara. So, by happy accident I found a way out of the soaking and mashing that a real bessara recipe requires. Even my father-in-law, who used to eat bessara for breakfast when he was a kid in the Rif, thought this soup was bessara. So here follows the recipe for fake bessara/priest’s soup.
- Bag of orange lentils, also known as red split lentils or ulundhu.
- 1-2 chopped onions
- Olive oil
- Salt, cayenne pepper, and cumin
- Rinse lentils.
- Put lentils in a large pan and cover with water. Boil. Skim foam off top of boiling lentils and add more water as needed.
- Sautee chopped onion in olive oil until it is soft and golden.
- When the lentils are cooked, which takes about 20 minutes, they will be mushy. No need for hand mashing, yea!
- Stir in the caramelized onion. Add salt to taste.
- Serve with fresh bread and olive oil, cumin, and cayenne pepper as condiments.