Bigilla Recipe

The perfect accompaniment to Maltese food

This very popular bean dip recipe is perfect as an appetizer with Maltese food or with Mediterranean finger food. You can practically find Bigilla (as it’s called in Maltese) in every supermarket or corner grocery store on the island.

bean dip recipe bigilla

A local woman dressed in a medieval costume, preparing bigilla at a reenactment in the ancient city of Mdina

In the old days, street vendors used to roam the villages with their horse-drawn carts selling this bean dip. You can still see these vendors in a few villages. Mediterranean food recipes are known for their simplicity. And Bigilla is no different.

Many people get stuck on ideas on how to cook beans. This spicy bean dip recipe is an alternative that you can try, especially if you like spicy food. It’s also one of the most tasty from all the bean recipes that we’ve come across.


Half a kilo (or 1 lb and 1.63 oz) dried broad beans

Half a cup olive oil

1 lemon

1 small hot red pepper

8 cloves of garlic (crushed and chopped)

A handful of parsley (finely chopped)

Fresh mint leaves and marjoram

Felfel (optional)



Soak the beans for 24 hours, changing water at least 3 times (preferably more). Cook the beans in a little water for about one and a half hours. Drain off the excess liquid. Mash and liquidize the beans adding the olive oil, the juice of the lemon, the hot red pepper, garlic, parsley, herbs and salt.

You can serve this puree either hot or cold. Use it as a snack on fresh bread which is first spread with tomato puree or as a dip. Maltese people use it mostly as a dip with an assortment of other popular appetizers, such as stuffed olives, peppered goat’s cheese, crackers, etc. It's perfect for finger food parties.

Tip: If you like it really hot you can add some felfel. You can prepare the felfel yourself by mixing oil with crushed hot peppers. Pour some of it over the dip.

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