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After six delightful years in Malta, the contrast to my Edinburgh roots could not be more striking. The Maltese islands have captivated me with their vibrant cuisine, mild climate, and leisurely lifestyle that is both refreshing and enriching.

fish and octopus lot

Central to my Maltese experience is the island’s unique cuisine. It’s a delectable testament to Malta’s rich tapestry of history, with dishes influenced by Italian, English, Spanish, French, Maghrebin, Provencal, and broader Mediterranean traditions. Here’s a rundown of some culinary delights that are a must-try!

Table of Contents

    Froga tat-tarja – Verrmicelli Omlette

    Froga tat-tarja – Verrmicelli Omlette Discover the Joys of Making Authentic Maltese Recipes at Home

    Froga tat-tarja is a classic Maltese pasta omelette prepared with vermicelli. This dish is a fantastic way of bulking up freshly cooked pasta or transforming leftovers into a second supper. It requires little work to design and vanishes quickly.

    Ingredients:Instructions:
    200g vermicelli1. Cook vermicelli according to package instructions.
    4 large eggs2. Sauté chopped onion and minced garlic in olive oil.
    1 small onion, finely chopped3. Add cooked vermicelli to the onion and garlic.
    2 cloves garlic, minced4. Beat eggs, add parsley, and season with salt & pepper.
    2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped5. Pour egg mixture over vermicelli in the pan.
    Salt and pepper to taste6. Cook until the bottom is golden, then flip.
    Olive oil for frying7. Cook until both sides are browned and set.
    8. Serve warm, cut into wedges or squares.

    Sfineg

    Sfineg Discover the Joys of Making Authentic Maltese Recipes at Home

    “Sfineg,” also spelled as “Sfenj,” is a popular Moroccan doughnut or beignet-like pastry that is deep-fried and often enjoyed as a snack or dessert. These doughnuts are typically light and fluffy on the inside and have a slightly crispy exterior. They are commonly served with sugar, honey, or a dusting of powdered sugar. Here’s a basic recipe for making Sfineg:

    Ingredients:Instructions:
    2 cups all-purpose flour1. Activate the yeast by combining warm water and sugar.
    1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) dry yeast2. Sprinkle yeast over the water and let it sit until frothy.
    1/2 tsp salt3. Mix flour and salt in a bowl.
    1 tsp. sugar4. Combine yeast mixture with flour to form a sticky dough.
    1 cup warm water5. Knead dough until smooth and elastic.
    Vegetable oil for frying6. Let dough rise for about 1 hour until doubled in size.
    Powdered sugar (optional)7. Divide and shape dough into doughnut-like forms.
    8. Fry in hot oil until golden brown, 2–3 minutes each side.
    9. Drain on paper towels.
    10. Dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with honey.

    Pastizzi

    Discover the Joys of Making Authentic Maltese Recipes at Home

    Pastizz is a classic Maltese savoury pastry. Pastizzi are typically filled with either ricotta or peas with curry. Pastizzi are a well-known and popular traditional Maltese dish. It should not be confused with U’ pastizzi ‘runner, the Italian version of pastizzi.

    Ingredients:Instructions:
    For the Pastry Dough:1. Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl.
    2 cups all-purpose flour2. Add cold, cubed butter and work into coarse crumbs.
    1/2 cup unsalted butter (cold)3. Gradually add cold water and mix until dough forms.
    1/2 tsp salt4. Form dough into a ball, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate 30 minutes.
    Cold water, as needed
    For the Ricotta Filling:
    1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
    Salt and pepper to taste
    1 egg (optional, for binding)
    Fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
    Assembly and Baking:
    Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C)
    Roll out dough and cut into circles1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
    Place filling in the centre of each2. Roll out dough and cut into circles (4-5 inches diameter).
    Fold dough over and seal with fork3. Mix ricotta with salt, pepper, and optional ingredients.
    4. Place spoonful of filling on each dough circle.
    5. Fold dough and seal edges with a fork.
    6. Place on baking sheet; bake for 20–25 minutes, until golden.
    7. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

    Rabbit Stew (Fenkata)

    Rabbit Stew malta recipe Discover the Joys of Making Authentic Maltese Recipes at Home

    Traditional Maltese stewed rabbit, better known as ‘Stuffat tal-Fenek’, is considered Malta’s national dish.

    Ingredients:Instructions:
    1 whole rabbit, cut into pieces1. Rinse and pat dry rabbit pieces, season with salt, pepper, and paprika.
    2 tbsp olive oil2. Brown rabbit pieces in a pot, then remove and set aside.
    1 onion, finely chopped3. Sauté onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and optional bell pepper.
    2 cloves garlic, minced4. Add bay leaves, dried thyme, and dried rosemary; cook briefly.
    2 carrots, peeled and sliced5. Return rabbit pieces to the pot, pour in red wine (if using), and simmer.
    2 celery stalks, sliced6. Add chicken or vegetable broth to cover, bring to a simmer, and cover.
    1 bell pepper, chopped (optional)7. Simmer for 1.5-2 hours until rabbit is tender.
    2 potatoes, peeled and diced8. Add potatoes and optional mushrooms 30 mins before finishing.
    1 cup mushrooms, sliced (optional)9. Optional: thicken with flour paste; adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
    2 bay leaves10. Remove bay leaves and garnish with fresh parsley.
    1 tsp dried thyme11. Serve hot with crusty bread or rice. Enjoy!
    1 tsp dried rosemary
    1 tsp paprika
    Salt and black pepper to taste
    4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
    1/2 cup red wine (optional)
    2 tbsp all-purpose flour (optional)
    Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

    Enjoy your homemade rabbit stew!

    Lampuki Pie

    Lampuki Pie Discover the Joys of Making Authentic Maltese Recipes at Home

    Lampuka is the Maltese name for mahi-mahi, a mild, delicious white fish that forms the heart of a dish that hints at English cooking.

    Ingredients:Instructions:
    For the Pastry Dough:1. Prepare the Pastry Dough:
    2 cups all-purpose flourIn a large mixing bowl, combine flour and salt.
    1/2 cup unsalted butter (cold)– Add cold, cubed butter and work into coarse crumbs.
    1/2 tsp salt– Gradually add cold water, mixing until the dough forms.
    Cold water, as needed– Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic, and chill for 30 mins.
    For the Filling:2. Prepare the Filling:
    1 lb (450g) lampuki fish fillets (or other white fish), diced– In a skillet, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil.
    1 onion, finely chopped– Add diced potato, zucchini, bell pepper, and tomatoes; cook until softened.
    2 cloves garlic, minced– Add diced fish, parsley, oregano; season with salt and pepper.
    1 small potato, peeled and diced– Simmer until fish is cooked through and vegetables are tender.
    1 small zucchini, diced
    1 small bell pepper, diced
    2 tomatoes, diced
    2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
    1/2 tsp dried oregano
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Olive oil for sautéing
    Assembly and Baking:3. Assemble the Pie:
    Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C)– Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
    Roll out pastry dough for bottom and top crusts– Roll out the pastry dough for bottom and top crusts.
    Fill and Seal:4. Fill and Seal:
    Place bottom crust in pie dish or baking dish– Place the bottom crust in a pie dish or baking dish.
    Pour fish and vegetable mixture into crust– Pour the fish and vegetable mixture into the crust.
    Cover with top crust, crimp edges to seal– Cover with the top crust, crimp the edges to seal.
    Make small slits in top crust– Make a few small slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape.
    Bake:5. Bake:
    Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until pastry is golden and filling is bubbling– Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown.
    Serve:6. Serve:
    Allow to cool slightly before servingAllow the Lampuki Pie to cool for a few minutes before serving.
    Slice and serve.Slice and serve your delicious Maltese fish pie.

    Ħobż biż-Żejt

    Discover the Joys of Making Authentic Maltese Recipes at Home
    By Taaable

    Ħobż biż-Żejt, also known as “Maltese ftira” or “Maltese bread with oil,” is a classic Maltese dish that consists of crusty bread topped with various ingredients like ripe tomatoes, olives, capers, onions, and tuna, all drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. It’s a simple yet delicious dish that is popular in Malta. Here’s a basic recipe for making Ħobż biż-Żejt.

    Ingredients:Instructions:
    Crusty Maltese bread (ftira or rustic loaf)1. Slice the bread horizontally to create top and bottom pieces.
    Ripe tomatoes, sliced or diced2. Lay out the sliced or diced ripe tomatoes on the bottom half of the bread.
    Black olives or green olives, pitted and sliced3. Sprinkle olives and capers evenly over the tomatoes. Adjust to taste.
    Capers4. Add a layer of thinly sliced red onions over the olives and capers.
    Red onions, thinly sliced5. If desired, place drained canned tuna evenly over the onions.
    Canned tuna in olive oil, drained (optional)6. Season toppings with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
    Fresh basil leaves (optional)7. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil generously over the ingredients.
    Extra virgin olive oil8. If using fresh basil leaves, add them for extra flavor and freshness.
    Salt and black pepper to taste9. Place the top half of the bread over the assembled ingredients, creating a sandwich.
    10. Gently press the sandwich together to help the ingredients meld.
    11. Slice the Ħobż biż-Żejt into individual servings.
    12. Serve immediately as a light and delicious snack or meal. Enjoy!

    Enjoy your Ħobż biż-Żejt, a classic Maltese dish!

    Spinach And Tuna Pie

    Spinach And Tuna Pie Discover the Joys of Making Authentic Maltese Recipes at Home

    Spinach and Tuna Pie, known as “Torta tal-Ispinaċi u Tonn taż-Żej” in Maltese, is a delightful savory pie that combines the flavors of spinach and tuna with a flaky pastry crust. It’s a popular dish in Malta and can be served warm or at room temperature. Here’s a basic recipe for making Spinach and Tuna Pie:

    Ingredients:Instructions:
    For the Pastry Dough:1. Prepare the Pastry Dough:
    2 cups all-purpose flour– In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and salt.
    1/2 cup unsalted butter (cold)Add cold, cubed butter and work into coarse crumbs.
    1/2 tsp salt– Gradually add cold water, mixing until the dough forms.
    Cold water, as needed– Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic, and chill for 30 mins.
    For the Filling:2. Prepare the Filling:
    1 lb (450g) fresh spinach, washed and chopped– In a skillet, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil.
    1 onion, finely chopped– Add chopped fresh spinach; cook until wilted. Remove and cool.
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 can (5 oz or 140g) tuna in olive oil, drained
    1/2 cup ricotta cheese
    2 eggs, beaten
    1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    Salt and black pepper to taste
    Olive oil for sautéing
    Assembly and Baking:3. Assemble the Pie:
    Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C)– Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
    Roll out pastry dough for bottom and top crusts– Roll out the pastry dough for bottom and top crusts.
    Fill and Seal:4. Fill and Seal:
    Place bottom crust in pie dish– Place the bottom crust in a pie dish.
    Pour spinach and tuna filling into crust– Pour the spinach and tuna filling into the crust.
    Cover with top crust, crimp edges to seal– Cover with the top crust, crimp the edges to seal.
    Bake:5. Bake:
    Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until pastry is golden and filling is set– Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown.
    Serve:6. Serve:
    Allow to cool slightly before serving– Allow the Spinach and Tuna Pie to cool for a few minutes before serving.
    Slice and serve.– Slice and serve as a delicious savory pie. Enjoy!

    Maltese Kapunata

    Maltese Kapunata Discover the Joys of Making Authentic Maltese Recipes at Home
    By I Love Food Malta

    Maltese Kapunata, also known as “Caponata” in some regions, is a traditional Maltese dish that consists of a flavorful vegetable stew made with eggplants, tomatoes, onions, capers, olives, and various seasonings. It’s a popular appetizer or side dish in Malta and is often served at room temperature. Here’s a basic recipe for making Maltese Kapunata:

    Ingredients:Instructions:
    2 medium-sized eggplants, diced1. Prepare the Eggplants:
    2-3 tbsp olive oil– Dice eggplants into cubes.
    1 onion, finely chopped– Sprinkle with salt, let sit 30 mins, rinse, and pat dry.
    2-3 cloves garlic, minced– Sauté eggplants in olive oil until browned and softened.
    1 can (14 oz or 400g) diced tomatoes– Remove eggplants and set aside.
    2 tbsp tomato paste
    2 tbsp red wine vinegar2. Cook the Onion and Garlic:
    2 tbsp capers– Sauté onion and garlic until translucent and fragrant.
    1/2 cup green olives, pitted and sliced
    1/2 cup black olives, pitted and sliced3. Add Tomatoes and Seasonings:
    1 tsp sugar– Stir in tomatoes and tomato paste; cook until thickened.
    Salt and black pepper to taste– Add red wine vinegar, capers, olives, sugar, salt, and pepper.
    Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
    Crusty bread, for serving (optional)4. Simmer:
    – Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 mins to meld flavors.
    5. Combine with Eggplants:
    – Return eggplants to skillet, simmer another 10 mins.
    6. Serve:
    – Cool Kapunata to room temperature.
    – Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with crusty bread.

    Enjoy your homemade Honey Rings (Qagaq tal-Gasel), a delightful Maltese pastry!

    So, gather your ingredients, follow the recipes with curiosity and passion, and enjoy the satisfaction of creating Maltese masterpieces in the heart of your kitchen.

    May the aromas and flavors transport you to Malta’s beautiful landscapes, making each cooking session a celebration of culture, tradition, and the simple joy of good food. Happy cooking!

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