Reader’s Recipes: Patricia’s Dried Broad Bean Soup (Bessara)

I must say I use more and more pulses in my cooking now, as I am also trying to balance my budget, but I have to say that I really enjoy this kind of food. If you have a chance do try this recipe. It is absolutely delicious.

Beyssara, or Beyssar, depending on who you speak to, is a street food staple, somewhere between a thick soup and a thin puree. In Marrakesh it is cooked in large, round earthenware jars which are balanced over charcoal fires in a tilted position. The narrow opening of the jar faces the cool and he ladles the soup out into bowls using a long handled spoon.

Ingredients (Serves 4-6.)

250 g/ 9 ounces dried split broad beans, soaked overnight with 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda added to the water
2 unpeeled garlic cloves
1 ½ teaspoons each ground cumin and paprika scant ½ teaspoon dried chillies crushed to a coarse powder, or taste (or use chilli powder) salt to taste extra virgin olive oil


Rinse the broad beans, which will have swelled to twice original size, and put them in a large saucepan. Add the unpeeled garlic cloves and the spices and cover with water (about 2 litres / 3 ½ pints). Bring to the boil over a medium high heat, then cover the pan and leave to boil for 30 minutes or until the broad beans have turned into a mush.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes. Add dried chillies, cumin and paprika. Discard the garlic and add sea salt to taste. Pour into a shallow serving bowl, drizzle olive oil all over and sprinkle with a little more cumin. Serve very hot, with more oil, cumin and chilli powder for those who like it.

Wishing you all the best.


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  1. I was wondering if I could use this recipe to use frozen broad beans? If so, would I have to take the skins off?

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