Bissara, also known as Bessara and Besarah (Arabic: "بصارة") is a soup and a bean dip in North African cuisine, prepared with dried, puréed broad beans as a primary ingredient. Additional ingredients include garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, hot red pepper, cumin, and salt. Bissara is sometimes prepared using split peas or chickpeas. 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. It is typically inexpensive, and has been described as a pauper's dish.
Bissara is a dish in Egyptian cuisine and Moroccan 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. It is traditionally a rural farmer's dish, though it has become more popular in urban Egypt since 2011 because it is healthier than its urban counterpart, ful medames. In Morocco, bissara is typically served in shallow bowls or soup plates, and topped with olive oil, paprika, and cumin. Bread is sometimes eaten dipped into the dish, and lemon juice is sometimes added as a topping. In Marrakesh, Morocco, bissara is popular during the colder months of the year, and can be found in town squares and various alleyways.
Bissara originated in Pharaonic Egypt, circa 4,000 years ago. It was known to the Ancient Egyptians as "fouleya", and was made with fresh, rather than dried, beans. Fouleya was also called "bees-oro" (بيصارو), meaning cooked beans. This later term is the source of the modern name.
Egyptian emigrants have brought bissara to other countries in the Middle East and North Africa region, namely Palestine, Algeria, and Tunisia. Bissara is relatively popular in Palestine, as it resembles a traditional dish that has been known in Palestine since Canaanite times.
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