Broad Beans in our A-Z - Cooking Index
The Broad bean is a species of bean it is a rigid erect plant standing 0.5 to 1.7m tall.
The beans are generally harvested when they are quite young and they have quite a crisp texture.
The beans can be fried, causing the skin to split open, and then salted and/or spiced to produce a savory crunchy snack. These are popular in China, Peru, Mexico and in Thailand, where their name means "open-mouth nut". In the Sichuan cuisine of China, broad beans are combined with soybeans and chili peppers to produce a spicy fermented bean paste called doubanjiang.
Broad beans taste sweeter in the early part of the season, when the pods are relatively small and the skins are soft. Later in the season, the beans will have developed a tougher, more bitter skin. You might want to skin the individual beans.
The broad bean is native to north Africa and southwest Asia, and extensively cultivated elsewhere.
European folklore also claims that planting beans on Good Friday or during the night brings good luck. In some folk legends, such as in Estonia and the common Jack and the Beanstalk story, magical beans grow tall enough to bring the hero to the clouds.