White-Bean Messabecha by Neni


  • 400 g (14 oz) dried white beans
  • 2 small onions
  • 3 sprigs sage
  • 50 ml (11⁄2 fl oz) olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • Sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon unhulled tahini
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 acri sivri (cayenne) pepper
  • Pita bread, to serve
  • Sumac, to garnish



Soak beans overnight in three times as much water as beans. The next day, pour through a strainer, wash under cold water and drain.

Peel onions. Bring beans to the boil in a large pan with 3 litres (105 fl oz) of water, onions, sage and olive oil, and cook for 11⁄2 hours. Then add 1 tablespoon of salt and continue cooking until the beans are very soft, about 1 more hour. Add a bit more water as needed. When the beans are done, strain them, saving the cooking water, and allow to cool.

Using a blender or a stick blender, briefly whizz 420 g (15 oz) of the beans together with the tahini and lemon juice; small pieces should still be visible. Blend in a bit of cooking water as needed. Season to taste with salt.

Deseed the sivri pepper and finely dice. Toast the bread until dark brown. Spread the bean paste on plates. Arrange the remaining beans and the diced sivri on top, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sumac.

Serve with the bread.


Images and recipes from Tel Aviv by Neni, Photography by Nuriel Molcho, Murdoch Books RRP $49.99.

Tel Aviv by Neni

Tel Aviv by Neni is an exciting journey through food and travel.

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