maltese fish soup recipe

Hello, internet friends! People say that when you live abroad, you learn more things about yourself. One of these things I’ve learnt in just over two months here is that I love cooking, and can pretty much handle myself in the kitchen (so far, anyway). I find it relaxing and pretty damn satisfying, and I get to eat something yummy at the end of it all. Oh, and I live just a few minutes away from Grainger Market, a huge food market bursting with fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, and fish and all the cheese my little heart could possibly want. How can I possibly resist?

So – let’s talk about aljotta. This Maltese classic was originally considered “poor man’s food”, but has earned a place in the spotlight in recent years, making into some of my favourite restaurants in Malta, generally as a starter dish. I find this hearty soup so filling that I’ll happily eat it as a main, though.

The Ingredients

  • Around 400g – 500g small fish/any leftover fish you might have, cut into small pieces
  • 4-6 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 1 onion (chopped, quite fine)
  • 4 tomatoes (de-seeded, chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons kunserva (tomato paste)
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint (or a handful of fresh mint leaves)
  • ½ teaspoon dried marjoram (or a few sprigs of fresh marjoram)
  • 100ml dry white wine (optional)
  • 2 fish stock pots or stock cubes; alternately you can make a nice broth out of fish bones
  • 1.5 litres boiling water
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Lemon (cut into wedges)
  • Rice (optional)

The Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large, deep pan or pot. Toss in the chopped onion and garlic and cook them on a medium heat until soft and golden brown.
  2. Add the fish, mint, marjoram, tomatoes, salt, pepper and stir gently, without breaking the fish. Cook for approximately 5 mins, stirring every so often.
  3. Pour in a (generous) glug of white wine and stir some more. Cook until all the liquid has evaporated.
  4. Add stock pot/cubes to boiling water (around half a litre); add the stock to the fish before adding the rest of the boiling water (again, about half a litre). Add tomato paste and stir gently.
  5. Bring soup to the boil and leave to simmer on low/medium heat for about 30 mins (optional: add rice).
  6. Serve nice and hot, with lemon wedges.
  7. Enjoy with a slice of crusty bread (Maltese bread, if you have it!)

-Kelly

What’s your favourite Maltese dish? Share in a comment!

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