maltese fish soup recipe
Food, Living Abroad, recipes

Kelly’s Kitchen: Maltese Fish Soup (Aljotta) Recipe

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!)


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

restaurants in malta

5 of My Favourite Restaurants in Malta

restaurants in malta

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this to you guys already or not, but here it is just in case – I love food. Honestly, I can’t think of anything better than an incredible plate of fresh, Maltese king prawns so velvety they could melt in your mouth. And let’s not forget the wine. Or the dessert – preferably something luxurious like  pannacotta, dark chocolate fondant, or tiramisu. Okay, I’m getting hungry just writing this so let’s get to the meaty part of this blog post (pun fully intended).

1 | Club Sushi

It would be fair to say that my strong attachment to this little restaurant comes from the fact that my fellow foodie and boyfriend took me here for a fantastic dinner on our first date – but I swear on my plum sake that this is the place to go to for some incredible Japanese (and Korean) deliciousness. Don’t leave without trying the gunkan and the octopus gar age

restaurants in malta

2 | It-Tmun

This one’s only second because I have to catch a ferry over to Gozo for their amazing food and great service. It’s located right next to the harbour, nestled between some boat houses and bars, so close to the sea you could probably fall in if you hit the Merlot a bit too hard (nobody’s judging, don’t worry).

restaurants in malta

3 | Aaron’s Kitchen 

This restaurant doesn’t just serve up some of the most authentic aljotta (Maltese fish soup) and fresh pasta on the island – it’s also located right in the heart of my favourite place in Malta: Valletta.

4 | Il-Pirata

I can’t believe it took me as long as it did to try this place out. Anyway, it was love at first bite, and I’m in a very satisfying relationship with their lobster pasta and mouth-watering beef tagliata. Zero regrets. 

5 | Zen

“But Kelly, you’ve already done sushi here!” is what I hear you saying – but when has there ever been such a thing as “too much sushi”? Exactly. I went to Zen at Portomaso for my first anniversary, and was treated to a table right in front of all the rice-rolling action. Copious amounts of sushi were ordered and served up on an actual BOAT. A boat. Of sushi. I am so done.

restaurants in malta

Do you have any must-try restaurants of your own? Post your recommendations below and help me add more eateries to my list! 


Leaf Print Shoes Forever 21
Lists of Love

Lists of Love: April/May 2016

Say hello to a brand new series of blog posts – Lists of Love. Every month I’ll be posting a little round-up of my personal favourites. It could be anything from books to beauty products, blogs, songs, recipes – the possibilities are as endless as Maltese summers are hot. Without further ado, here’s what I’m loving this April/May.

Humans of New York Stories by Brandon Stanton 

East Meets West by Yang Liu

MAC Lipstick in Brave

Hymn for the Weekend by Coldplay feat. Beyonce

Leaf-print shoes from Forever 21

Leaf Print Shoes Forever 21


That’s all for now!


Adult Life, Food

I tried to bake

In an effort to find out what a non-student, post-dissertation Kelly might be, I’ve taken up a few hobbies to varying degrees of success:

  • Growing herbs
  • Re-learning Italian
  • Cooking

The herbs became nothing more than a nondescript dried-up mess after I went away for a weekend without reminding my parents to water them, and I’m still too shy to speak to Italian people in Italian. Cooking is going surprisingly well when I can be bothered to do it, and as far as baking goes – I had never so much as tried to move past boring cupcakes and Betty Crocker chocolate cakes. It almost sounds like I’m having a mid-life crisis in my 20s, but with a messier kitchen and more burnt fingers and floury floors than one would expect.

Tangled chocolate chip cookies

My most recent attempt at being a functioning adult involved baking a much-loved classic: chocolate chip cookies. Here’s the recipe I used, but I substituted regular chocolate with a massive bar of Cadbury Bourneville chopped into delicious dark-chocolaty gems:

chocolate chip cookies

Considering that my digital scales were dead and I had to substitute baking soda for self-raising flour (apparently that’s a thing you can do), these turned out pretty good. Batch number three was way better because I had the timing down – I struggled with that because I’m not used to the idea that I need to take the tray out of the oven while the cookies are still ‘soft’ in the middle. Incidentally, just ‘soft’ is really too vague. How soft is ‘soft’? How soft is ‘too soft’? How soft is ‘not soft enough’? Panic!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

They weren’t quite as soft as I’d have liked, but they were so perfect and comforting when dipped in tea that I’m willing to forgive them for that. Bring forth the next culinary challenge!