Creamy Chickpea Stew (Algerian Doubara)
In the long winter months, nothing is better than hearty and bone-sticking food. This healthy creamy chickpea stew recipe, also known as Doubara, is my go-to. It can be considered to be a chili since it uses legumes, simmers for at least 30 minutes, calls for many different types of chili peppers, and can be eaten without an accompanying carb such as bread or rice.
Doubara is a popular Algerian dish that has several layers to it. But don’t let that scare you! By soaking the legumes ahead of time, you can complete this creamy chickpea stew recipe in 1 hour. (We are also currently evaluating the impact of baking soda and salt on legume-cooking time. Come back soon to see the results.)
The Deliciousness of Simplicity
The combination of fava and chickpeas in this stew is so satisfying! The meaty fava beans and the creamy, melt-in-your-mouth chickpeas are delicious together. This Doubara only takes one hour of cooking and preparation to create its four layers.
The spices and herbs, which are added to taste, can be modified to create the perfect personal concoction. Make it as spicy and aromatic as you like but start sparingly.
The Lore of Doubara
This creamy chickpea stew recipe originates in Biskra, Algeria. Biskra is a town and region that centrally straddles the northern and southern parts of Algeria. This chili is a staple of Biskran street-food and is usually served very spicy with four different types of hot peppers: chili powder, whole pepper, pickled peppers, and harissa.
Layers of flavor
This intensely flavorful chili relies on four layers of creamy legumes, fresh herbs and different types of hot peppers.
South of Algeria
I visited my aunt who lives in the south of Algeria. People there are known for their hospitality. Doubara was just one part of a multi-course meal.
Creamy Chickpea chili (doubara)
Creamy Chickpea Fava Bean Stew (Doubara of Biskra) Omitting the soaking time, this recipe only takes 1 hour to prepare. An alternative to soaking is to use the pressure cooker or instant pot. It is a 4 part recipe, and you will have up to three pots simmering on the stove at once. Delicious and hearty, this stew combines great flavor with meaty legumes.
by The Lore | January 2019
- Prep time: 30 MINUTES
- Cook time: 45 MINUTES
- Additional time: 12 HOURS
- Total time: 13 HOURS 15 MINUTES
- 16 ounces dry chickpeas
- 16 ounces fava beans (see note)
- 1 lemon cut into 3 wedges
- 1 head of garlic (about 12 cloves)*
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 fresh hot pepper (see note)*
Spicy Tomato Sauce
- 24 ounces tomato sauce*
- 2 teaspoons ginger powder (or 1 teaspoon fresh ground ginger)
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 12 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon Ras Al Hanout
- Fresh hot pepper to taste* (see note)
Tomatoes & Herbs Topping
- 4 peeled tomatoes, chopped*
- 4 tablespoons chopped parsley*
- Fresh hot pepper chopped finely, to taste* (see note)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Optional: olive oil, cumin, harissa, pickled peppers for serving
Prepare two medium soup pots and one medium saucepan. The legumes:
- Rinse soaked chickpeas and place in a soup-pot.
- Cover with enough water. It should be up to 1 inch over the top of the chickpeas. Don't worry about the exactness of this and opt for more water rather than less.
- Add the garlic, one lemon wedge, and the hot pepper to the soup-pot.
- Bring to boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium low and let it simmer uncovered for 30-40 minutes.There will be white froth on top, remove if you like.
- The chickpeas are done once they are soft without any hardness in the middle. If you cook them too long, they will dissolve into mush.
- Check periodically. When done, remove from the stove and let cool.
- Prepare the fava beans the same way as the chickpeas. They should be done cooking at about the same time.
- Place the fava beans in the second soup-pot, cover with water plus 1 inch over the top of the beans.
- Add two lemon wedges and bring to boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium low and let it simmer uncovered for 30-40 minutes. 1. The beans are done when they are soft all the way through. The skin will remain thick but not hard.
The spicy tomato sauce:
- While the legumes are simmering, combine all the spicy tomato sauce ingredients in the medium saucepan.
- Stir over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Cover, lower the heat to low, and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Taste and add salt as needed.
- Remove from the heat and let it cool slightly.
Tomatoes and herbs topping:
- Combine the chopped tomatoes, parsley and hot pepper in a bowl and mix.
- Drizzle olive oil and salt and mix again. To serve:
- This is a layered dish served in soup bowls.
- Pour two ladlefuls of the chickpeas and one of the fava beans into each bowl.
- Top with as much tomato sauce as you would like and mix (be sparing to start and add to taste).
- Add the tomatoes and herbs toppings.
- Drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle some cumin.
- Serve with warm bread, harissa, and pickled hot peppers.
- To make rosewater honey, combine 1/2 cup rosewater and 1/2 cup honey in small saucepan. Stir over medium to low heat until well combined, about 2 minutes. Let it cool before serving.
- Creme fraiche can be used instead of sour cream.
- If you don't have heavy cream, use 1 cup melted butter and 1 cup whole milk.
Denotes items that we prefer to be organic. Read more about it here: Items to buy organic when grocery shopping.