fava beans anjarian style

In the Middle East each locality seems to have its own variations of preparation for the same basic foundational ingredients. And that means different languages and different names and beans for bean stews: fassoulia, fosulia, lupia, fasulye. Armenians, Turks, Greeks, Lebanese, other Arabs, etc. Mostly beans with a tomato based sauce. The Armenians typically do a green bean stew with some lamb meat for taste. But this one is particular to fava beans, and the hard headed Armenians of Anjar who are descendents of the Musa Dagh Armenians who resisted the Turkish death march in their genocide event.

Ani's maternal grandmother was 3 months old when they fled up the mountain on the Mediterranean coast. The father wanted to leave the baby behind so her crying would not give away their presence to the Turkish army down in their villages. The mom insisted. So two generations later, Ani is here with us. Her paternal grandfather was already a young man during the genocide, but by dumb luck had immigrated to the US because of pograms against Armenians in the decade before the genocide and missed the mess. Returning after it was over. But leaving a daughter with a brother in Connecticut for chain immigration later in 1976 when the Lebanese civil war shook things up in Anjar. Ani's grandmother brought up Isgouhi  in Aleppo, and imparted her cooking skills to her daughter. bob gets to enjoy her cuisine today. Mother-in-law benefits.

It seems that fava beans have a short season in May (Northern hemisphere), when Italians will shell them, then peel the outer skin and eat them raw with a little chunk of parmigiano. My inlaws just eat them raw without the cheese. Here in the USA fresh fava beans are a rare find, though one can do this with frozen favas from a Middle Eastern specialty food store. Peeling is tedious, so you have to cook them well if you are lazy, as is our case and this approach to cooking them.


a bunch of fresh favas, shelled, boiled maybe 30 minutes or more
1 onion, chopped finely
5 cloves garlic, pressed  (to taste, we like garlic)
extra virgin olive oil for sauteeing
1 heaping T tomato paste
1 less heaping T sweet red pepper paste
1 t Aleppo red pepper (if the red pepper paste is not spicy)
1 heaping teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Shell the fresh favas and boil them at least 20 minutes to soften the outer skin as well as cook the interior. With dried favas, soak according to web found instructions and precook to be ready for the next step. For canned favas, cook as directed. Just guessing here. Use your judgment. 
  2. Saute the onions in extra virgin olive oil till softened.
  3.  Stir in the pressed garlic and add the cooked fava beans and cook them 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. Then stir in a heaping tablespoon tomato paste, a bit less of the sweet red pepper paste, and a bit of water, the cumin, and salt and pepper to taste and Aleppo red pepper (or a touch of cayenne red pepper for a flavor boost), stir around, cover and simmer 30 minutes.
  5. Serve with yogurt and chopped green onions / scallions. [ani added pressed garlic to the yogurt as well.]


  1. Musa Dagh [Wiki].
  2. Illustrations available.
favas-anjarian.htm: 21-may-2020 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]