Place of originAncient Egypt[1][2][3][4]
Region or stateGreater Middle East
Serving temperatureHot

Bissara, bessara, besarah and tamarakt (Arabic: بصارة)[5][3] is a dish in Egyptian cuisine and Moroccan cuisine.[1][6][7] The dish contains split fava beans, onions, garlic, fresh aromatic herbs and spices. All ingredients are slowly cooked and then blended together to yield a creamy and fragrant dip or side dish.

In ancient Jewish cuisine, a similar dish, known as "mikpah ful" in rabbinic literature, was commonly consumed.[8]


Food historians believe that the name Bissara originates from the Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic word "Bisourou" (or bissouro), which means "cooked beans".[1][2][3][4][5]


Bissara uses puréed broad beans as a primary ingredient.[1][2][3][4] Additional ingredients include garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, hot red pepper, cumin, and salt.[1][9] Bissara is sometimes prepared using split peas or chickpeas.[10][11]

Egyptian cuisine

In Egypt, bissara is eaten exclusively as a dip for bread, and is served for breakfast, as a meze, or more rarely, for lunch or dinner. Egyptian bissara includes herbs or leafy greens, hot peppers, lemon juice, and occasionally onion.[12] It is traditionally a rural farmer's dish,[12] though it has become more popular in urban Egypt since 2011 because it is healthier than its urban counterpart, ful medames.[13] It is typically inexpensive, and has been described as a pauper's dish.[14][9]

In Egypt, bissara also includes herbs or leafy greens—particularly parsley, mint, dill, spinach, or molokhiya, though the latter is more commonly added by Egyptian expatriates in Palestine—and is eaten with bread as a dip.[12][15]

Moroccan cuisine


In Morocco, bissara is popular during the colder months of the year, and can be found in town squares and various alleyways.[2][16][17] It is typically served in shallow bowls or soup plates, and topped with olive oil, paprika, and cumin.[11] Bread is sometimes eaten dipped into the dish, and lemon juice is sometimes added as a topping.[11]

Similar dishes

Tova Dickstein, an expert in ancient food, linked the ancient Jewish dish known as mikpah or mikpah ful, mentioned multiple times in rabbinic literature, to the modern bissara. Ancient sources describe it as a dip made from fava beans, garlic, mint, and olive oil. Due to its frequent appearance in the Mishnah, which also includes a halakhic rule stating that a sukkah may only be abandoned during rain once the mikpah has become wet and smelly, she referred to it as the "national dish" of the ancient Israelites.[8]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Weiss, J.; Chirichigno, P. (2007). Egyptian Cooking English Edition. Bonechi. p. 30. ISBN 978-88-476-0706-4.
  2. ^ a b c d Valenta, Kyle (June 23, 2016). "How to eat breakfast like a local around the world - Provided By Advertising Publications". The Seattle Times. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Morse, K. (1998). Cooking at the Kasbah: Recipes from My Morroccan Kitchen. Chronicle Books. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-8118-1503-1.
  4. ^ a b c Good Eating's Global Dining in Chicago: Where to Find the City's Best International, Ethnic, and Exotic Restaurants. Agate Publishing, Incorporated. 2013. p. 71. ISBN 978-1-57284-443-8. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Bissara, Egyptian Vegan Dip of Split Fava Beans, البصارة المصرية, 22 February 2022, retrieved 2 August 2023
  6. ^ Kitchen, M.B.T. (2010). World Kitchen Morocco. Murdoch Books. p. pt42. ISBN 978-1-74266-500-9. (subscription required)
  7. ^ Engineers, N.B.C. (2006). The Complete Book on Spices & Condiments (with Cultivation, Processing & Uses) 2nd Revised Edition: With Cultivation, Processing & Uses. Asia Pacific Business Press. p. 61. ISBN 978-81-7833-038-9.
  8. ^ a b Dickstein, Tova (2021). The Taste of Ancient Israel: Tales of Food and Recipes from the Land of Israel (in Hebrew). Israel: Ofir Bikkurim. pp. 86–88.
  9. ^ a b Hal, F.; Hamon, J.; Barbey, B. (2013). Authentic Recipes from Morocco. Tuttle Publishing. p. 47. ISBN 978-1-4629-0540-9.
  10. ^ "The spice of life in magical Marrakesh..." June 28, 2014. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  11. ^ a b c Jaffrey, M. (2014). Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian: More Than 650 Meatless Recipes from Around the World. Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony. p. 103. ISBN 978-0-307-81612-2.
  12. ^ a b c كريم, محمد (2015-11-08). "البصارة... وجبة الشتاء الزهيدة". العربي (in Arabic). Retrieved 2018-05-14.
  13. ^ El-Wardani, Lina (2010-05-05). "An Ancient Diet". Retrieved 2018-05-14.
  14. ^ Honnor, J. (2012). Morocco Footprint Handbook. Footprint Handbooks. Footprint. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-907263-31-6. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  15. ^ Yasmine (March 17, 2016). "Classic Egyptian Bessara". Cairo Cooking. Retrieved 2018-05-14.
  16. ^ "Bissara, le plat chaud anti-froid". Retrieved 2021-12-27.
  17. ^ Rosa., Amar (2 November 2017). Cuisine juive marocaine: la cuisine de Rosa. Editions Gisserot. ISBN 978-2-7558-0763-9. OCLC 1013172477.