One of the most memorable movie quotes, in at least my life time, is that of Hannibal Lecter played by Anthony Hopkins’ in The Silence of the Lambs: “I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti“. Unfortunately since then fava beans have had a bad rap, and most people won’t give this delicious legume a chance because of that very chilling scene! Almost every time I mention I’m making fava beans to any of my friends they recite that line with the horrific stutter sound that Hopkins makes at the end of that scene! Well I hope that I can change your mind about poor old fava beans and get you to give it a go, and taste the buttery deliciousness of this legume!
Fava beans are actually sold at street vendors in Iran. Crazy, right? Here, there are hot dog stands, and in Iran there are fava bean stands! Of course what kid doesn’t like junk food? Fava beans just happened to be my childhood junk food in Iran. This recipe is so easy it’s ridiculous!
1 lbs Fresh organic fava beans, (broad beans)
salt to taste
olive oil (optional)
Before starting the cooking, lets talk about how to buy fava beans in case you’ve never bought them fresh. When buying fava bean pods, you want to make sure that you are buying pods that are bright green in colour with no browning and firm to the touch. Feel the size of the beans inside the pods, to make sure they are large and firm beans. Not small unripe beans. The broader the beans, the better the taste, even if there’s just two beans in there, I’d take that over a skinny pod that’ll have 5 small beans! The larger and firm beans produce that creamy and buttery flavour that makes fava beans so yummy.
Wash the fava beans pods with cold water and put them in a big enough pot and top it with fresh cold water. Add some salt and get the heat going. Once you get it boiling, you can put the lid on with a bit of gap to allow steam to escape and reduce the heat to medium-high. Cook for about 45 minutes. Like most legumes, the more you cook it, the easier it is on your digestion and the less it will toot!! If the pods are falling apart and coming loose, and they’ve changed colour from bright green to a mossy green, then they are ready!
Once cooked, drain in a sieve and add a little or a lot of salt to your liking. I like a lot of salt..I’m bad that way and start shelling the beans. The outer pod, and the shells are edible, especially if the beans are young and fresh. I love the taste of all of it. But some people don’t, especially the pods. To shell, just pinch an opening on the skin of one of the beans and push the bean out. It should slide right out. Some people like to add a bit of olive oil and salt….but I like it just with salt.
The benefits of fava beans are amazing. It’s the most protein loaded bean out there, and almost a complete protein! One cup packs in 12.9g of protein with 9g of fibre and less than 1g of fat, where as one large hard boiled egg has only 6.3g of protein, 5.3g of fat and absolutely no fibre!! For your daily requirements of vitamins fava beans has 11% Thiamin, 9% Riboflavin, 6% Vitamin B6 and a whopping 44% Folate!! And as for minerals it has 14% iron, 18% Magnesium, 21% Phosphorus, 22% Copper, and a huge 36% Manganese.
So have your fava beans with or without a nice Chianti, because it’s so good for your body that a glass of wine, with all it’s antioxidants will just make it even better! Besides, it’s junk food as far as I’m concerned! I like to have it watching tv with a glass of beer!!