The Greeks prepare their ‘fava’ only with split yellow fava beans. The most famous variety is the one of Santorini. In the photos that I share, I use another popular variety from the area of Feneos in the Corinthia prefecture. The Greek meal of ‘fava’, just like ‘fakes’ (brown lentil soup), is a wholesome, healthy Greek dish that can be very comforting on a cold wintry day. Try it today and see for yourself!
INGREDIENTS (SERVES 2-3)
250 grams of split yellow fava beans (1 tumbler approximately)
1 onion, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
1-2 teaspoons of capers
Parsley, fresh lemon juice, salt, pepper
Optionally: cayenne or paprika, ginger powder
Put a few beans at a time onto a large plate to inspect them. Take out any foreign materials such as tiny stones. Depending on the quality of the product, you’ll find a lot, or virtually nothing to take out. As you check them bit by bit, transfer them to a bowl.
Wash the beans in the bowl under a running tap. Use cold water and your hand to stir, tip the bowl carefully to remove the water, fill again and so on, until the fava beans don’t froth and no bits (like skin) float in the water. Drain the water well and keep to the side.
Warm up 800ml of water (about 3 tumblers) in a pan. When it boils, throw in the fava. Stir a little, adjust temperature to moderate heat and, using a spoon, remove the froth as it forms until none is left.
Throw in the chopped onion. NO SALT. Stir, cover and simmer for an hour. Stir a couple of times during that time.
Throw in the cayenne/paprika/ginger powder (if using).
Add olive oil (about as much as you would to prepare a tomato sauce).
NO SALT YET or the beans will go hard.
Add a little hot water from the kettle, if needed.
Cook covered for another 30-45 minutes depending on the variety. Stir a couple of times during that time. When the beans are soft, the soup is ready. If you wish, you can use a hand (immersion) blender to puree the soup at this point. This is the typical way Greek fava is served.
Add salt, pepper, lemon juice to taste.
Add chopped parsley and capers. Done!
Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, as well as bread and cheese of your choice (an omelette and a few olives also go nicely!). Or, you can do what I do: Enjoy your meal the typical Greek way with some kind of salt-cured fish and raw onion – use dry onions cut up into four parts, or go for green onions (scallions) for a milder kick to your taste buds. Either way, you’ll enrich your meal with powerful antioxidants, and antimicrobial properties to keep those nasty germs at bay 😀