Need a hearty meal? Why not look to Morocco's bsarra, a hearty soup of broad beans. 

What is it?

Bsarra is a thick soup of broad beans that is cooked in cauldrons on the streets of Morocco and served with a hunk of bread. It is the perfect breakfast on-the-go.


Moroccans don’t give much credence to the saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day: a glass of sweet tea and a piece of bread often suffices. But workers need something more substantial, and bsarra is a dish to fill the hole. Soup shops open early to cater to demand, and are washing up their pots by lunchtime – bsarra tends to run out by the time that the call to midday prayers rings through the medina.

Ingredients (serves 2-4)

500g (1lb) dried skinless broad beans (fava beans)
4 cups water
8 garlic cloves, crushed 1 tsp salt
olive oil

How to cook

1. Soak the broad beans in water overnight, then drain and rinse.
2. Bring the water to the boil and add the beans, crushed garlic and salt. Simmer for at least 30 minutes, until the beans are well cooked.
3. Blend in a food processor.
4. Serve with a generous drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of cumin and paprika.

Gate to ancient medina of Fez, Morocco
Bsarra is served in the early morning © mmeee / Getty Images

Tasting notes

Bsarra shops tend to be hole-in-the-wall places: open-fronted with a soup vat in the front, and enough space behind for half a dozen people to squeeze around a bench. Rough bowls and battered spoons are the order of the day. The lake of olive oil that accompanies the soup might look excessive, but it deepens the taste and gives a smooth texture. Be generous with the cumin and paprika, and add salt to taste. Some people dip their bread, while others tear it into the soup. Either way, save a crust to clean the bowl with at the end. Wash bsarra down with mint tea and you’re set for a day exploring the souks.

Other recipes in this series:
Nashville hot chicken
Durban bunny chow
Polish bigos

Have you recreated any of the dishes featured in this series so far? Share your pictures with us on Twitter and Instagram by tagging @lonelyplanet. For more great recipes, check out Lonely Planet’s book The World’s Best Street Food.

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