A popular dish prepared from mashed fava (broad) beans, alongside seasonings like garlic cloves, mint, oregano, parsley, lemon juice, chili flakes, and olive oil. Traditionally, it’s served as a starter or appetizer or eaten as a paste or dip along with salads, savory biscuits and crackers. In fact, we think that’s the best way to enjoy it, so we’ve included a traditional recipe for crackers as well! Remember to plan ahead, as the beans will need 1 day of soaking. Serves 4
Maltese Bigilla (Dried broad bean dip)
- Start soaking the dried fava beans a day before you plan to cook the Bigilla. Simply place the dried beans in a large bowl and cover with water. Let it sit for a day, regularly checking to see if more water is needed.
- The following day, rinse the beans and add to a large pot. Cover with water and bring the beans to a boil. While it is boiling, remove any foam on the surface with a slotted spoon.
- Cover and let it simmer for about an hour. Add more water as needed. Let it simmer for another 30 minutes, then check for doneness. If the beans are still a little hard, let them cook for another 30 minutes.
- Once the beans are cooked, drain the beans retaining the cooking water. Put the beans in a food processor.
- To the beans, add two tablespoons of the cooking water, olive oil, salt, garlic, chili flakes and parsley. Pulse until all the beans are broken and you have a thick paste. Add more water if the consistency is too thick.
- To serve, simply place the dip into a bowl and top with parsley, chili flakes and a diced chili pepper, then drizzle with the olive oil. Serve with warm bread or galletti.
Galletti (Maltese water crackers)
Maltese typical light and crispy water biscuit crackers. You’ll love them so much, you’ll want to make them for your cheese platters all the time!
Makes 150 approx.
Makes 150 approx.
- In a small bowl, mix the lukewarm water, yeast and sugar. Let the mixture foam for about 15 minutes.
- Combine all the dry ingredients together, flour, semolina, and salt. Mix well, then add the melted butter and activated yeast and mix again.
- Knead the dough for some minutes, until you get a smooth soft dough.
- Place the dough in a bowl, cover and let it rest for an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C or 350°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside.
- If you have a pasta machine you can use it, or else a normal rolling pin can do the job. Divide the dough into about 8 pieces as it's best to work in small batches. Roll the dough to about 2 mm/1inch thick.
- With a narrow glass or a small cookie cutter, cut the Galletti and place them on the baking tray. With a toothpick or fork, make five holes in the middle of each galletta. This will help the dough not to fill with air and puff up while cooking.
- Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, until they become golden. Allow to cool. You might need to cook all the dough in several batches as this will depend on your oven and baking trays.
- They can be enjoyed immediately or stored in an airtight container for about a week.