I used a pound of dried fava beans with the hull still on. The label on the bag said they were "medium" size. I soaked them for somewhere between 12 and 14 hours in 8 cups of water with 3 tbsp of salt and 1 and 3/4 tsp baking soda dissolved in it. I drained the soaking bowl, rinsed the beans, and cooked them until tender in ~5 cups water with 1 tbsp salt and 2 tsp cumin. The plan was to make foul mudammas. While they were cooking, they gave off a sort of sour smell. Almost like vinegar, but not exactly. That impression also characterized the flavor of the beans once they were done, although to a lesser extent than that to which it characterized the smell. The tbsp of salt I added to the cooking water ultimately seems to have been too much. I don't think it explains the unpleasant sourness, although it may have exacerbated the effect. The descriptions I've encountered of favas' flavor makes me think this is unusual. I want to know from people who are experienced with cooking dried fava beans: is the sourness normal? If so, are there ways to mute it, e.g. some spice I could add that masks it well? If not, what might I have done wrong to precipitate this? For added context, dried beans are the basis of my diet, so I'm familiar with this process in general; I just hadn't done favas before. I usually do black beans, small red, black eyed peas, or lentils, but have done urad dal and red kidney. Also, I usually start with a base of onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic sauteed in neutral oil but in this case I just boiled the beans with salt and cumin.

  • Where did you get the favas and what did they look like? I've gotten some from a middle eastern grocery that were quite dark in color and they had a slight background flavor that might be what you described --- if your beans were more strongly flavored or if you happen to be more sensitive than me to that particular flavor. But I haven't had that issue with the more lightly colored favas I usually buy.
    – The Photon
    Oct 31, 2023 at 23:35
  • I got them from Phoenicia Specialty Foods in Houston, TX. I would say they were fairly dark compared with the average color of the images I find online of dried favas. I haven't given up. I may try canned next. Just to broaden my sense of these guys. Nov 3, 2023 at 2:16

1 Answer 1


I don't make foul that often, but I've never experienced a vinegar smell with dried fava beans. They should smell pretty much like other dried beans, when cooking. It sounds like you got a package of bad beans, which were maybe allowed to spoil before being dried.

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