Broad beans or Fava beans

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Broad Beans, Fava Beans or Horse Beans were a staple of the Old World and are still found as a dried bean in the Mediterranean and Middle East where they are even delicious as a snack - e.g. Habas Fritas in Spain.

Dried broad beans have a floury, wholesome taste with a chewiness. Dried broad beans come either with the skin on or dearer ones that are ready-skinned. To prepare:

Soak for good length of time - overnight, ideally. Drain, then cook in fresh water for 2 hours, or less if they come without skins. Don't cook with salt, but you can salt afterwards.

Dried broad beans are key to ful medames, a classic Egyptian dish.

For fresh broad beans: Broad beans.


Beans last for a good length of time, but do toughen with age, so buy in smallish quantities. If you buy in bulk, check for dirt and insects as these are not uncommon and should be anticipated. Store somewhere dark and cool, and free from potential insect contamination.

Other Languages

Language Broad bean
French Haricot large
German Grosse Bohne
Italian Fava
Spanish Haba

Further reading

  • Christian, G. (2005) Real Flavours: the handbook of gourmet & deli ingredients, Grub Street. ISBN 1904943209.
  • Stobart, T. (1981) The Cook's Encyclopedia: ingredients & processes, Harper & Row. ISBN 0060141271.