Cooking fava (Lathyrus Sativus) two ways

Fine, I admit this recipe is not the easiest to make if you are not from Greece. The main ingredient is a bit tricky to find. It’s one of those things that I am always excited to find in my mother’s packages.

Reading the title you might think I am talking about the fava bean but no, nope, nein, nee. It’s a totally different pulse. It’s yellow and small and looks like small split peas. There are different brands in Greece but the one I got from my mom is the one in the picture. The area where it grows is a magnificent place close to my grandparent’s village. You can see some pictures here.

Fava

Fava

So, let’s say you manage to order fava (the “lathuri” kind) online or from a Greek products shop. What do you do with it?

fava as a spread

fava as a spread

The most popular and easiest version is to boil with onions, blend and serve at room temperature as a cold dish or even as a spread. Here is how you do that.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fava
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 laurel leaves
  • 1 big onion, chopped up
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 onion chopped up for serving
  • capers for serving
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a bit of olive oil to serve

Instructions

  • Put in a pot the fava, water, onion, garlic and olive oil and bring to a boil.
  • Simmer till the beans have absorbed the water.
  • Make sure to stir frequently as fava has the tendency to stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • If needed, blend using a hand blender. Many times though the fava is already creamy by the time the water is gone.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Divide into bowls and let cool.
  • Sprinkle with capers, onion and olive oil and serve.
It's great on toasted bread too!

It’s great on toasted bread too!

The second way is a bit more labor-intensive but still pretty easy and delicious. If you are vegan and have cravings for cheese balls, these little treasures might make you happy without the guilt.

fried fava balls

fried fava balls

Instructions

  • Boil fava exactly the way you did for the previous version. Just don’t add capers and raw onion on top.
  • Add in up to 1/3 cup of flour to turn it into a dough. It will still be sticky, so make sure to wet your hands with cold water before you start forming the fava balls.
  • Roll the balls in flour and shallow-fry them in a bit of oil. I used sunflower oil just because I had some left-over from a cake recipe. They turned out golden. I was pretty excited.
Ready to go into the pan

Ready to go into the pan

Enjoy!

Enjoy!

You can make similar dishes (both the cold spread and the fried balls versions) with lentils or beans as well. You just need to adapt the spices and the amount of flour that you add in there. Such recipes are high in protein and B vitamins, which is a plus, but really, they are worth making just for the taste.
Experiment and enjoy!

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