Fava beans are a staple of Lebanese cuisine. Dry green fava beans are picked in the early spring, boiled, and served as a stew-type salad for breakfast, announcing the arrival of good days and fresh eating. Big pods are laid on the side of the road for people to buy bagfuls of them and eat as nibbles along with a mezze or a beer. Foul akhdar, green fava, is cooked as a stew, either vegetarian or with meat. Fava pods are chosen younger, when they are fresh and tender, so as to be cooked whole, and they have a very special aroma and flavor.
If fresh fava pods are not available, you can do as well with frozen fava beans, which are generally readily available.
- 3 1/4 pounds (1.5 kg) fresh fava beans (in pods) or 2 1/4 pounds (1 kg) frozen shelled green fava beans
- 2 medium yellow onions
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 bunch green coriander
- Kamal Mouzawak
Prepare the fava pods by taking off the string at the side of the pod. Cut the pods into thumb-size pieces. If using frozen favas, thaw them.
Finely chop the onions. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and sauté the onions until they start to color, about 10 minutes. Finely chop the garlic and add it to the skillet. Add the favas. Cover and cook over very low heat for about 1 hour, so the favas can cook and soften without any addition of water (though you can add a bit of water if needed).
Chop the coriander and add to the skillet. Stir well and season to taste with salt. Serve hot or at room temperature.