janet @ the taste space

Snowpeas, Snap Peas and Fava Beans in a Tomato-Cardamom Sauce

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) on June 18, 2012 at 5:56 AM

I have yet to meet a bean I do not like.

Except for coffee beans…. but they don’t count. I don’t usually drink my beans. (they are also not technically a legume)

For a while, though, I thought I didn’t like fava beans (also known as broad beans).

For some, they herald the excitement of spring produce, amidst the stress of shelling and shucking the fresh beans.  When I found frozen fava beans, I thought I had hit jackpot: someone had done the shelling and shucking for me.

Last year, I made pomegranate-braised cabbage and fava beans but couldn’t get myself around the fava beans. I just didn’t like them.

The beans have been in my freezer since then. Untouched.

However, when I saw Ottolenghi had a recipe for Mixed Beans with Many Spices and Lovage which included fava beans, I decided it was worth checking them out again. Just in case I would like them this time. I also have to keep emptying my freezer. It also called for lovage, a new-to-me herb which my grandmother gifted me from her garden. It looked like a flavourful vegetable curry with an assortment of spring beans. His recipe combined my favourite unshelled beans (snow peas and snap peas) with fava beans smothered in a tomato-cardamom-lovage sauce.

The dish was great. It was my first time using lovage which has that Maggi taste, supposedly similar to celery. The flavours in the tomato sauce were a great spin off of a tomato curry and the beans were nicely cooked. Well, the snap peas and snow peas were nice. The fava beans, well, I still didn’t appreciate.

But then, it dawned on me. There was a creamy bean inside the fava shell.  My frozen beans hadn’t been shelled yet! I then dived back into my dish, scooping out all the fava beans and slipped off their shells.

I tasted. Lovely beans. Now I understood how people could enjoy fava beans… they are just a tad labour-intensive!

Oh, what I do for the most pleasing bean…. 😉

This is my submission to this month‘s Simple and in SeasonCookbooks Sundays and to this week’s Weekend Wellness.

Snowpeas, Snap Peas and Fava Beans in a Tomato-Cardamom Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
2  garlic cloves, sliced
1/2  tsp ground cumin
1  tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1  tsp ground cardamom
A pinch of ground cloves
2 tsp agave, or your choice of sweetener
2 tsp tomato paste
14 oz canned diced tomatoes, with juice
200g  snow peas, trimmed and sliced in half on an angle
200g  snap peas, trimmed and sliced in half on an angle
200g shelled and peeled fava beans (could substitute lima beans or edamame)
2 tbsp fresh lovage (I used 1 tsp dried) – consider substituting tarragon or cilantro
salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Once hot, add the onion and saute over medium heat for 4 minutes, until softened slightly. Add the garlic, cumin, ginger, turmeric, coriander, cardamom and cloves and stir for 1 minute more, to toast the spices.

2. Add the tomato paste and allow to brown slightly, sauteing for 1 minute. Stir in the agave and tomatoes and mix well.

3. Add in the snow peas, snap peas and shelled fava beans. If using dried lovage, add it now. Bring to a boil, cover and lower the heat to allow to simmer for 15 minutes, or until cooked. The beans should still have a bit of a bite and not overtly mushy. If using fresh lovage, add it now. Stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with brown rice or your favourite grain.

Serves 4.

  1. Like you, I have never been that keen on broad beans. I cannot stand the outer skin and simply can’t be bothered to peel them from their skins. Over here the frozen ones still have their cases on too. If they came pre-shelled I would buy them regularly because they taste wonderful. But, having shelled thousands when I was a chef, I am certainly not going to do them ever again now!
    Lovely recipe and one which I will attempt because I love Ottolenghi and spices.
    Thanks so much for entering Simple and in Season,
    Laura@howtocookgoodfood xx

  2. Never cooked fava bean before, they do intimidate me… for some reason I immediately wanted to use the exact same sauce on garbanzo beans, that could work well too… I think

    I actually just had a dish at an Indian place called “chola” – garbanzo beans in a tomato cardamon tamarind thing, wish I had the recipe, but in a strange twist of mind, your dish made me think of that one

    • Chickpeas would definitely work here. I think chola is very similar to chana masala, so have a peak to see if those recipes look similar to your resto gig! 🙂 I love these saucy tomato Indian curries. Yum! I still haven’t found a fabulous chana masala yet, though. So if you find a great recipe, let me know. 🙂

  3. I love these flavors together! Fava beans are one of my favorite, and I always add cinnamon to tomato-based meals. The richness and flavor it adds is delicious!

  4. I adore all sorts of beans and peas…this is right up my alley.

  5. What an original and lovely recipe. It was the “cardamom” in the title that first grabbed me, but then I read the rest and was sold!

  6. I’m posting my first ever fava bean recipe tomorrow! I bought them still in the pods and they were actually really easy to shell…the pods are super soft. 🙂 I’m so glad you found a way to like them!

  7. I must try and make an effort with fava beans too, I tend to avoid them. This looks lush!

  8. […] Snowpeas, Snap Peas and Fava Beans in a Tomato-Cardamom Sauce (Mixed Beans with Many Spices and Lovage) – Pomegranate, Snap Pea and Barley Salad with Dill […]

  9. […] entry from Janet at The Taste Space for Peas and Beans in Tomato & Cardamom Sauce. A very good idea for a vegetable main course that could be served along with rice or even cous […]

  10. […] Tomato Barley Risotto – Caramelized Fennel and Quinoa Salad with Cilantro and Dill – Snowpeas, Snap Peas and Fava Beans in a Tomato-Cardamom Sauce (Mixed Beans with Many Spices and Lovage) – Quinoa Wraps with Sweet Potato and Dried Iranian Lime […]

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