This thick stew of split dried broad bean and dried mulukhiyah comes from the Palestinian kitchen. Rich in vitamins, it is traditionally cooked “during the wheat and olive harvest seasons” says chef Rawhiyah Eltayeb. “It is without a doubt my favorite dish. My grandmother would cook this in the field and serve it alongside olives, pickled radishes, scallions, a generous drizzle of olive oil, a small pita and also makdous (small pickled eggplants stuffed with nuts, almonds and chili pepper).”
Dried mulukhiya leaves can be sourced online in the U.S. from Kalustyan’s.
2.2 lb / 1 kg split dried broad bean, soaked overnight in water and 1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup / 240 ml olive oil
4 onions, finely chopped
1 large hot chili pepper, coarsely chopped
1 garlic head, separated into cloves and peeled
2 tablespoons Ein Jarada (dill seeds)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¾ teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds
4 large tablespoons dried mulukhiyah, coarsely ground
Drain and rinse the broads bean well. Transfer to a large pot, cover with about 2 liters / quarts water and bring to a boil. Skim any froth that rises to the surface. Reduce to a low heat and cook, uncovered, until the beans are very soft, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, season lightly with salt and let rest for 10 minutes. Drain the beans and reserve the cooking liquid separately.
Meanwhile, slowly caramelize the onions over a medium heat in a large skillet with ¾ cup olive oil, until they soften and turn a deep shade of caramel.
Place the cooked beans in a pot and add 1½ cups of the cooking liquid. Using an immersion blender, grind to a smooth puree (if necessary, add more of the cooking liquid) and place over a very low flame.
Using a pestle and mortar, mash the garlic cloves, hot chili pepper, dill seeds and 1 teaspoon of salt into a paste. Add to the bean puree along with the cumin, black pepper, allspice, coriander seeds, and half of the caramelized onions. Mix well, taste, and adjust the seasoning to your taste.
Add the dried mulukhiyah and stir until it softens and absorbs the liquid. The stew should be thick; if it is too thick, add more of the cooking liquid, if it is thin, cook until some of the liquids evaporates.
To Serve: Divide the bissara into a serving bowls, garnish with the remaining caramelized onion and chopped parsley, drizzle the remaining ¼ cup olive oil, and serve with freshly baked warm pitas.