If you like hummus, this yellow split peas puree would be something you would enjoy. It is does not taste like hummus but it is certainly a nice change to hummus. Bring out the pita for dipping!

Order Fava in Greece and what you would be served is a puree of yellow split peas and not fava bean of any sort. The yellow split pea grown in Santorini is especially famous. I brought a pack home – see the pretty blue-white bag in my feature image? How could I not? It was sold everywhere on the island! I like how the Fava was served to us at the vineyard in Oia, Santorini. 

Fava will invariably thicken as it sits. That was the reason why it could be plated so prettily in that fashion. In the case above, we were expected to loosen it up with the lemon juice. At home, thin it out to the consistency that you like with a little water and then readjust seasonings before serving. The recipe below is easy and it taste so much better than a lot of Fava. Sadly, I have had only one that was worth remembering. We were having lunch at a homey eatery in Pyrgos village, Santorini. It was run by an elderly couple. The wife took care of whipping out dishes from a shoebox size kitchen whilst her endearing husband did everything else. Her Fava was rustic. 

It didn’t look like much but the yellow split peas dip was the best!

It didn’t look particularly pretty. It was plonked unceremoniously next to other little mezes.  It looked chunkier than usual but was clearly moist and fluid. Other Fava I had eaten were often too dry, bland and cold, straight out from the fridge perhaps? On that mound of Fava, I could see and taste little nuggets of onions. It gave the peas so much flavour.  She certainly knew how to make a tasty plate of Fava.

Back home, I thumb through a few cook books. I am familiar with cooking lentils but I wasn’t sure what seasonings went into a Greek Fava. I tried a random Fava recipe that had me cook the peas just in water and then other seasonings were added at a later stage. I wasn’t happy with that. I decided it best to just come up with my own recipe to replicate the Fava I had in Pyrgos.

So in the pot of lentils went 1/2 an onion and garlic. As the peas do cook relatively fast, there was still flavour left in the onions and garlic. I chose not to discard them. Why waste the remaining 1/2 onion? I fried that in extra virgin olive oil till it was lightly caramelised, mixed it into the simmering yellow split peas, cooked further and blitz everything smooth. The thought of frying up the remaining 1/2 onion came about from being taught how to cook dal/lentils by a previous neighbour of mine who is from North India. She is a great cook and every evening, I used to linger eagerly by the front porch in the hopes of having a tasting portion of the dinner she had cooked for the day. I am quite shameless when it comes to good food. I digress. Back to the Fava.

Thereafter, I added salt, pepper, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil to taste and voila! I had a Santorini Fava dip that I was actually excited to eat and proud to put on the table.

This is the fifth in a series of 10 meze recipes that were inspired by my recent holiday in Greece. Click here, Greek Meze, Another Selection Of Wonderful Little Bites. For your easy reference, scroll down to the end of the post and you will find a table spread of all the 10 meze, the names of the meze and links to recipes that I have already posted.

Santorini Fava A Delicious Yellow Split Pea Dip

Prep: 15 minutes 
Cook: 30 minutes
Inactive:
Level: Easy
Serves: ~6 as part of a meze spread.
Oven Temperature:
Can recipe be doubled? Yes.
Make ahead? Keeps well up to 2 days. Thin with water before serving.

Ingredients

1 cup (7.05oz) (200g) yellow split peas
2 cups (500ml) water
1 clove garlic
1 small-medium size (3.17oz) (90g) onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of pepper
2 – 3 teaspoons lemon juice + a wedge of lemon
1 and 1/2 + 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon capers

Method

1. Pick any grit off the yellow split peas. Rinse and drain.
2. Add the peas into a pot, pour in 2 cups of water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
3. Boil 5 minutes. After which, skim off any floating foam, add half of the onion (do not cut) and the peeled clove of garlic. Lower heat, simmer covered for 15 minutes. Check on it on occasions. Stir if necessary and add 1 – 2 Tablespoon(s) of water if it seems to be drying out.
4. In the meantime, dice the remaining onion (set aside 1 Tablespoon) and fry in 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to soften. Add to the simmering peas.

The amount of liquid at this stage as you see it, should be sufficient to cook the peas through. Remember to keep the heat low and pot covered.

5. Keep the heat low, cover and continue to simmer covered for 15 minutes or until the peas have completely disintegrated and the water has almost completely evaporated. If your stock of peas are old, it can take twice as long to cook them to this stage, so add a little more water and continue to cook.

6. Either mash with a spoon into a puree or use an immersion blender. If you would like a thinner consistency, just thin out with water.
7. Stir in salt and pepper to taste. Add the lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Adjust seasonings to suit your taste.
8. To serve, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil, top with the reserved 1 Tablespoon diced onions, capers and a wedge of lemon. Now, get the pita out or perhaps some chips and dip away!

Tips

(1) Fava will start to solidify as it sits. If you do not serve it straight away, on your return, don’t be surprised to find a dense looking blob of Fava. Simply thin out with water and readjust seasonings.
(2) Fava is very good served as a side to beef stew.

WHAT’S COMING UP NEXT?

I have since posted 5 recipes for meze  – more than enough to serve at a party. We have to make some pita bread then! These pita are terribly soft.

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