Faba Bean Description and Recipe

Ancient Egyptian Vicia Faba Bean Plant Description and Recipe.

Egyptian Vicia Faba bean young pods are eaten as snap beans or cooked and eaten as vegetables.

Egyptian Vicia Faba Bean Plant
Egyptian Vicia Faba Bean Plant 

The family Leguminosae or bean families of plants are an important family of flowering plants that feed the world. The Vicia Faba plant is a lesser-known member of the bean family and is known by many names; gerenge in Ethiopia, Kikuyu bean in Kenya, lubia in Sudan, Vicia Faba bean, and poor man's bean. The Vicia Faba bean is a spreading, warm-season plant that can grow up to 6 feet tall.

The Vicia Faba bean is a plant native to Africa. The seeds contain large amounts of vitamins and minerals and preparing Vicia Faba beans involves first removing the beans from their pods, then steaming or boiling the beans, either whole or after parboiling them to loosen their exterior coating, which is then removed.In Egypt, the Vicia Faba bean plant is considered a traditional food. The Vicia Faba bean plant; the leaves and pods are cooked, the flowers are eaten raw or steamed, dried seeds are used in soups and stews or to make the most delicious Egyptian dish Ful medames.

The seeds can be white, cream, pale brown, dark brown, red, black, or mottled depending on the variety. Vicia Faba plant is simple to establish and easy to manage under harsh subsistence conditions producing high yields and resisting droughts. Vicia Faba plant pods of the culinary type are popular vegetables in India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and elsewhere in the Asian tropics.

They are eaten like green beans or snow peas. Seeds in India the dried seeds are split like lentils and used in making dhal, the major protein source for millions of the populace. They are also sprouted, soaked in water, shelled, boiled, and smashed into a paste, which is fried with spices and used as a condiment.

In Africa, Vicia Faba seeds are cooked in any of the ways commonly used for beans: boiled with corn, ground and fried, or added to soups. In Egypt, Vicia Faba seeds are used in preparing the popular fried bean cake called Ta'ameyya.

Vicia Faba plant is a popular food for rural peoples of southern India, for instance, its pods and seeds supply much of the daily protein. The sprouts are said to compare in flavor and quality with those of mung bean. 

The leaves and flowers are consumed like spinach beyond being a prolific food producer; Vicia Faba thrives on relatively acid soil of low fertility and high aluminum toxicity.

Its penetrating roots draw nourishment from deep below the surface. In addition, this vigorous legume improves the land’s nitrogen content through the action of the highly active beneficial bacteria residing in nodules on its roots.

Having been cultivated since ancient times, Vicia Faba plant as food has reached a high degree of development throughout Egypt and Africa.

Egyptian Fava Bean Dip with Fresh Cumin Recipe

Egyptian Fava Bean Dip with Fresh Cumin Recipe


2 ½ cups cooked fava beans1 medium onion, diced

4 crushed garlic cloves

½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds

½ cup of water

Lemon juice from 1 large lemon

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

Salt and pepper to taste 


Chop the onion very finely. Heat 1-tablespoon olive oil and sauté the onion for about 3-5 minutes until soft. Add garlic and cumin seeds sauté another minute. Add fava beans to a food processor. Add the onion mixture, about ¾ of the cooking water or plain water, lemon juice, olive oil, and some salt and pepper. Process until very smooth, stopping the food processor a few times in between and scraping its walls properly. Adjust the consistency with some of the remaining water, if necessary. Add more salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.

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