Arabian Bissara Recipe - A Delicious Vegetarian Dish from Arabia

Arabian Bissara

Arabian Bissara Recipe - A Delicious Vegetarian Dish from Arabia
Region / culture: Arabia | Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 4 hours | Servings: 4 | Vegetarian diet


Arabian Bissara
Arabian Bissara

Arabian Bissara is a hearty and traditional dish that has been savored across the Middle East for centuries. Known for its rich flavors and comforting qualities, this recipe combines tender beef, broad beans, and aromatic spices to create a meal that is both nutritious and satisfying. Perfect for a family dinner or a special occasion, Arabian Bissara is a testament to the rich culinary heritage of the region.


The origins of Arabian Bissara can be traced back to ancient times when it was a staple food for the people of the Middle East. Originally, Bissara was made primarily with fava beans and was considered a dish for the less affluent. Over time, as trade routes expanded and new ingredients became available, variations of the recipe began to include meats such as beef or lamb, transforming it into a more luxurious meal. Today, Bissara is enjoyed by people of all backgrounds as a comforting and hearty dish that embodies the flavors of Arabian cuisine.


How to prepare

  1. 1) Heat the oil in a saucepan. Cut the beef into pieces and cook it in the oil until browned. Add the broad beans, garlic, coriander seed, and salt. Cover with hot water. Put a lid on the pan and cook in a slow oven for four hours.
  2. 2) To serve: Pour the liquor and the broad beans, which have cooked almost to a purée, into a dish and arrange the pieces of meat on top. This dish can be served with pilaf or a puree of potatoes.


  • For a vegetarian version, omit the beef and add more broad beans or incorporate other vegetables like carrots and potatoes.
  • Lamb can be used instead of beef for a different flavor profile.
  • Add spices such as cumin, paprika, or chili flakes for extra heat and depth of flavor.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure the best results when making Arabian Bissara, consider the following tips:

- Use high-quality beef for a more tender and flavorful dish.

- Soak the broad beans overnight to reduce cooking time and achieve a smoother texture.

- Brown the beef well before adding the beans to lock in flavors.

- Cook the Bissara on low heat for several hours to allow the flavors to meld together beautifully.

- Adjust the seasoning as needed, but be mindful of the salt, as the dish reduces and flavors concentrate.

Serving Suggestions

Arabian Bissara can be served with a side of pilaf or a puree of potatoes for a complete meal. A fresh salad or steamed vegetables also make excellent accompaniments to balance the richness of the dish.

Cooking Techniques

Slow cooking is key to achieving the perfect consistency and depth of flavor in Arabian Bissara. Using a slow cooker or a dutch oven in a low-temperature oven ensures that the ingredients meld together beautifully, resulting in a rich and comforting dish.

Ingredient Substitutions

If broad beans are not available, lima beans or even chickpeas can be used as substitutes.

- For a lighter version, chicken can replace beef.

- Vegetable broth can be used instead of water for added flavor.

Make Ahead Tips

Arabian Bissara can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat gently on the stove or in the microwave, adding a little water or broth if the mixture is too thick.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Arabian Bissara in a deep dish or bowl, with the meat arranged on top of the bean puree. Garnish with fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley and a drizzle of olive oil for an elegant presentation.

Pairing Recommendations

A robust red wine or a cold beer pairs well with the rich flavors of Arabian Bissara. For a non-alcoholic option, a mint tea or a sparkling water with lemon complements the dish nicely.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftover Bissara in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, place it in a saucepan over medium heat, adding a little water or broth to adjust the consistency as needed. Stir occasionally until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A typical serving of Arabian Bissara contains approximately 400-500 calories. The exact calorie count can vary based on the specific ingredients used and portion sizes.


A serving of Arabian Bissara is relatively high in carbohydrates, primarily due to the broad beans. Broad beans are a good source of complex carbohydrates, which provide a steady release of energy. This makes Bissara an excellent dish for sustaining energy levels throughout the day.


The fat content in Arabian Bissara comes mainly from the oil used in cooking and the beef. Using lean cuts of beef can help reduce the overall fat content. The oil, preferably olive or another vegetable oil, provides healthy fats that are essential for a balanced diet.


Arabian Bissara is a protein-rich dish, thanks to the beef and broad beans. Both ingredients are excellent sources of high-quality protein, which is crucial for muscle repair and growth. This makes Bissara a great meal option for those looking to increase their protein intake.

Vitamins and minerals

Broad beans are a fantastic source of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. Beef also contributes important nutrients, such as iron, B vitamins, and zinc. Together, these ingredients make Arabian Bissara a nutritious meal that supports overall health.


The primary allergens to be aware of in Arabian Bissara are broad beans, which can cause allergic reactions in some individuals, particularly those with G6PD deficiency. Additionally, individuals with sensitivities to garlic or coriander should exercise caution.


Overall, Arabian Bissara is a nutritious dish that provides a good balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, along with essential vitamins and minerals. It is a hearty meal that can fit into a balanced diet when consumed in moderation.


Arabian Bissara is a rich and flavorful dish that combines tender beef, broad beans, and aromatic spices in a comforting and nutritious meal. With its deep roots in Middle Eastern cuisine, Bissara is a testament to the region's culinary heritage. Whether enjoyed as a special occasion dish or a hearty family dinner, Arabian Bissara is sure to satisfy.

How did I get this recipe?

The moment I found this recipe is one that will always be special to me. It was a warm summer day, and I was visiting a bustling market in the heart of Cairo. The air was heavy with the scent of spices and the sound of vendors hawking their wares filled the air. I had always been drawn to the vibrant colors and exotic flavors of Middle Eastern cuisine, and I was eager to learn more.

As I wandered through the market, my eyes were drawn to a small stall tucked away in a corner. The stall was run by an elderly woman with kind eyes and a warm smile. She was busy grinding herbs and spices, her hands moving with practiced precision. Intrigued, I approached her and struck up a conversation. She introduced herself as Amina and told me that she had been a cook for many years, specializing in traditional Arabian dishes.

I spent hours with Amina that day, watching as she expertly prepared dish after dish. She taught me the secrets of her trade, sharing the wisdom and knowledge that had been passed down through generations. As the sun began to set, she invited me to her home for dinner, promising to teach me one of her favorite recipes.

We walked through the winding streets of Cairo, the sound of the call to prayer ringing out around us. Amina's home was a cozy little apartment filled with the scent of spices and the sound of sizzling pans. She set to work immediately, gathering ingredients and explaining each step of the process to me.

The recipe she taught me that night was for Arabian Bissara, a simple yet flavorful dish made from fava beans, garlic, and spices. As she cooked, Amina shared stories of her childhood in the countryside, where she had first learned to make the dish from her grandmother. She spoke of the importance of tradition and the joy of sharing food with loved ones.

As we sat down to eat, I took my first bite of the Bissara. The flavors exploded in my mouth, a perfect blend of earthy beans and aromatic spices. I was hooked. Amina chuckled at my enthusiasm, pleased to see me enjoying the fruits of her labor.

That night, as I walked back to my hotel through the bustling streets of Cairo, I felt a sense of contentment wash over me. I had found not just a new recipe, but a new friend. Amina had opened my eyes to a world of flavor and tradition, and I knew that I would carry her teachings with me for the rest of my days.

Since that fateful day in Cairo, I have made Arabian Bissara countless times, each batch a tribute to Amina and the rich culinary heritage she shared with me. The recipe has become a staple in my kitchen, a reminder of the power of food to bring people together and create lasting memories.

I am grateful for the day I stumbled upon Amina's stall in the market, for it led me to a new passion and a dear friend. The recipe for Arabian Bissara will always hold a special place in my heart, a symbol of the beauty and richness of Middle Eastern cuisine. And I will continue to cook it with love and gratitude, honoring the tradition and wisdom passed down to me by Amina, the master chef of Cairo.


| Arabian Recipes | Arabian Vegetarian | Beef Recipes | Coriander Seed Recipes | Liquor Recipes | Potato Recipes |

Recipes with the same ingredients