Another one of my blog-related resolutions for 2011 was to try new things. This applies to the ingredients I am using, the cooking styes & techniques, and cultural cuisines. That being said, last week while at the farmers' market, I picked up a one pound bag of dried fava beans. I have never cooked with fava beans, fresh or dried, but they run rampant at farmers' markets here, primarily in the spring when they are fresh. I had no idea what to do with them, so I let them sit on my counter and did some research.

Most fava bean recipes center around fresh favas and are often mixed with other spring-time favorites, including asparagus and peas. They all sounded fabulous, making me more excited for spring and all the fresh produce that comes along with it. But for now, I had a bag of brown, dried favas that I had to do something with. Finally after some searching, I came across a recipe that sounded delicious and also allowed me to venture into a new cultural cuisine: Ta'miyya.

Ta'miyya is an Egyptian food which is very similar to the falafel we know and love, but its primary difference is that it is made with fava beans instead of chickpeas. It is a lovely puree of soaked favas, green onions, parsley, cilantro, garlic, and spices, formed into little patties and pan-fried, providing the perfect combination of a crispy outside with a soft-warm inside. Dipped in a yogurt-mint sauce, they are a perfect appetizer and would provide great variety to the nacho-and-chicken-wing spread at your Super Bowl party. They can also be stuffed into warm pitas with sliced tomatoes and yogurt-mint sauce for a delicious sandwich. Even better, is that you can make the mixture ahead of time and cook them up only when you need them.


Makes 24 pieces

1 pound peeled, split, dried fava beans*
1 garlic clove, halved
3/4 c parsley
1/2 bunch of scallions, chopped (green tops only)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cilantro
Vegetable or olive oil

1 6-oz cup low-fat plain yogurt
1 handful of mint leaves, diced finely

Soak the fava beans in water overnight (or at least 8 hours).

The next day, drain the beans and place them in a food processor. Add the garlic and puree until ground. Add the parsley, scallions, cumin, salt, baking powder, and cilantro. Puree until the mixture is thoroughly ground and comes together. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Take a small amount (about 2 tbsp) of mixture and form into a ball with your hands. Flatten slightly then place in pan. Fry about 1-2 minutes per side, or until golden. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate. If you are making them all at once, keep finished ta'miyya in a low heat oven (150-200 degrees F) until ready to serve.

To make the dipping sauce, mix the yogurt and chopped mint a small bowl. Serve alongside the fresh ta'miyya.

*Note: You can find dried fava beans at Middle Eastern grocery stores if you cannot find it at a farmers' market or food co-op. You can also substitute chick peas (garbanzo beans) if you cannot find fava beans.

Adapted from Epicurious.com

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