Fresh Fava Stew
110 Min

Fresh Fava Stew

A good friend, who also happens to be a national food authority, was in town last weekend and I took her around all my favorite places in Houston. We visited the cheese shop, Houston Dairymaids, the local farmer’s market Saturday morning, among other things but the place that blew her away was the Houston Farmer’s Market on Airline Blvd. “There is nothing like this in New York City”, she declared, with great enthusiasm. While I have visited that market many times, never on a Saturday, when it is lined with outdoor food stands selling everything from pupusas to tacos. It’s lively and festive and bursting with hard-to-find produce like rambutan, purslane and fresh fava beans. Sacks of varieties of dried chiles and bowls of mole bases are placed next to rows and rows of special dried herbs like chamomile, elderberry or echinacea. Lot of the produce is local, but much is also imported from Mexico. 

Here is a fresh fava curry that can be adapted to be eaten just as a soup, topped with yogurt, herbs, nuts and greens or with a side of rice or bread. Fava beans are rich in fiber and minerals like iron and manganese but the real reason to eat them is because they are simply delicious. Just like most stews or curries, it is best enjoyed at least a couple of hours after all the ingredients has had time to chill together and mellow out. 

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Cook Time

110 Minutes



Step 1
Combine the fava beans with 8 cups of water in a large stockpot and over high heat, bring them to a boil. Lower, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn the heat off and let them rest and cool off. Drain and peel each bean gently removing the outer thick inedible skin. Set aside.
Step 2
To make the stew, in a medium stockpot over high heat, warm the olive oil and pop the cumin and mustard seeds. They will pop and sizzle, immediately add the onions. Cook on high to medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until the onions have sweated and darkened slightly. Cut the sweet potato into 1-inch chunks and add to the onions. Continue cooking until the potatoes have some color then add the garlic.
Step 3
Now add the turmeric, red chile, black pepper, coriander, salt, tomatoes, and ginger. Continue cooking the mixture on medium to low heat until the oil appears at the edges of the tomato mixture. Now add 2 cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower and simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes ~ this is when the flavors all come together.
Step 4
Add the peeled fava beans, ginger and garam masala. Continue cooking for another 10 minutes. Add minced greens just before serving or serve alongside.

2 pounds of shelled fava beans (about 4 cups)

4 tablespoons ghee

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1/2 cup minced onions

2 teaspoon minced garlic

1 small, sweet potato

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon dried turmeric

1 teaspoon red chile powder 

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 cup crushed canned tomatoes (or 2 cups of fresh minced tomatoes)

2 tablespoons minced fresh unpeeled ginger

1 teaspoon garam masala

4 to 5 cups of minced greens (optional)

Notes & Variations

  • For a creamer version, add a can of coconut milk and reduce the water accordingly.
  • This recipe will also work for dried favas – just soak overnight before cooking them.
  • Garam masala is a blend made with aromatic spices like cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, mace and more. It is easily available where spices are sold.
110 Min


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