Health Benefits of Broad Beans ‘Sem ki Phali’

Grown traditionally in the old world agriculture, from the Mediterranean of Africa, Broad Beans ‘Papdi’ has slowly crept into the Indian kitchen too due to its distinct flavour, preparation and amazing health benefits. 

Broad beans, also known as Fava beans, papdi or sem ki phali are green legumes that come in pods. They are flat, long, and slightly curved. The shell is green and soft to touch. Inside the pod, there are three to six oval-shaped seeds. Most of the broad beans have strings that need to be removed. They have a mildly sweet and earthy taste.


Nutritional Facts of Broad Beans

Broad beans are nutritious and an excellent source of folate, protein, copper, fibre, and manganese. It contains small amounts of selenium, calcium, and vitamin B. 

As per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, 1 cup of broad beans weighing approximately 170 gm contains 187 calories, 12.9 gm of proteins, 9.2 gm of fiber, 33.4 gm of carbohydrates, 3.1 gm of sugars, 0.5 mg of vitamin C, 4.9mcg of vitamin K, 0.2 mg of thiamine, 1.2 mg of niacin, 177 mcg of folate, 52 mg of choline, 61.2 mg of calcium, 2.5 mg of iron, 456 mg of potassium, 73.1 mg of magnesium, 212 mg of phosphorus,  8.5 mcg of sodium, 1.7 mg of zinc, and 4.4 mg of selenium. 


Potential Health Benefits of Broad Beans (Sem ki Phali)

1/5. Prevents birth defects

1. The rich content of folates in broad beans helps promote healthy foetal development. 

2. Folate promotes proper brain and spinal cord development in infants. It is vital in creating cells and organs. Folate lowers the risk of neural tube defects.


2/5. Enhances bone health

1. The high content of manganese and copper present in broad beans helps in preventing the loss of bones. 

2. Lack of manganese and copper leads to reduced bone formation and increased calcium excretion.  

3. Manganese prevents osteoporosis and arthritis.


3/5. Boost immunity

1. The copper present in broad beans helps maintain healthy white blood cells which destroy the pathogens and eradicates free radicals from the body. 

2. Broad beans are rich in compounds that enhance the antioxidant activity. Antioxidants fight against the free radicals thus boosting immunity. 


4/5. Helps with the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

1. Consumption of fava beans helps with the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

2. Fava beans are rich in levodopa compound, which is converted into the neurotransmitter and relieves other Parkinson’s symptoms. 

3. The folate content of beans helps in patients with Parkinson’s.


5/5. Other possible Benefits…

Papdi produces several health benefits, apart from the health benefits mentioned above, it also produces few more such as improves symptoms of anemia, improves high blood pressure, improves heart health, aids weight loss, lowers cholesterol and provides energy.

Laden with vegetarian protein and high fiber, Broad Beans ‘Papdi’ are a great source of protein for vegan/vegetarian body builders.

Though highly nutritious, Sen ki Phali Papdi beans contain phytohaemagglutinin, a substance that can trigger toxicity in the body. The easiest way to get of this toxin is to boil the seeds for around 10 minutes.   


How to incorporate Broad Beans into the diet?

Broad beans can be consumed in multiple ways. They can be either used as steamed or roasted. They can be easily added to various dishes and snacks. Some of the ways by which broad beans can be incorporated in the diet are as follows…

  • Used in curries and stir-fries.
  • Used to make dals and bhortas.
  • Added to soups, salads, and pizzas.
  • Used in rice dishes, risottos, and pasta.
  • Incorporated into desserts, and main courses that contain rice and vegetables. 

How to prepare Sem ki Phali ‘Papdi’ ki Sabzi

Take 250 gm of broad beans. Clean and wash them. Cut them into small pieces. Steam them in a rice cooker and set it aside.

Heat 2 tbsp mustard oil in a cooking pan. Add ½ tsp of cumin seeds and let it sizzle. Add a pinch of asafoetida.  Add 10-15 chopped garlic and sauté till light brown. 

Add 2-3” of sliced ginger and sauté. 

Add 3 long green chopped chilies and 1 curry leaves and sauté. 

Add 1 chopped onion and sauté till the onions are translucent.

Add ¼ tsp of turmeric powder, 2tsp of sabzi masala, and a pinch of salt. Sauté it for a minute. 

Add the steamed beans, cover, and cook it for approximately 6 – 8 minutes. Serve it warm.

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