Moroccan Yellow Pea Purée | Bissara
Bissara, which is a legume purée, is a typical Moroccan appetizer. This mellow, yet flavorful dip can be served with bread or crackers. It even makes a deliciously healthy soup.
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- 1 cup yellow split peas*
- 3 whole cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 to 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 to 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne
- extra virgin olive oil (optional)
- lemon wedges (optional)
- To make the purée, first sort and wash the yellow peas in several changes of water.
- Bring the peas, garlic and turmeric to a gentle boil over medium low heat. Turn the heat to low and partially cover the peas and let cook for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the peas are very tender.
- In the meantime, gather the remaining spices.
- *Note: This recipe is often made with dried split broad beans (fava beans), which can be found in Middle Eastern grocery stores.
- Once the peas are tender, remove the cloves of garlic, peel and mash with a fork and add to the peas. Next, depending on how broken down the peas are, you may need to use a potato masher to break them down a bit. Ideally, the mixture should be thick with a somewhat coarse texture.
- *Note: Typically, the purée should be thick enough to be able to pick it up with some bread, but not so thick that it is solid-like. However, the final consistency is up to you. If it's a bit thinner, it can be served as a soup. Also note that the purée will thicken as it cools. Once cooled, you may even need to add a touch more water to thin it out a bit.
- To finish the dish, add the salt, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon paprika and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne. Taste for seasoning, adjusting the salt and other spices as desired.
- To serve the dish, you can serve it family style in a large bowl, or you can serve it as follows. Ladle the purée into 3 shallow bowls — leveling out the surface with the back of the ladle. Next, sprinkle each bowl with 1/4 teaspoon, cumin, paprika and 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne. If desired, pour a tablespoon or so of olive oil over the surface. Each bowl is intended to be shared between 2 people.
- Serve hot with lemon wedges, if desired.