Friday, 30 December 2011

Recipes - Bigilla

Bigilla is a Maltese dip made with dried broadbeans.  When I decided to make it I didn't think getting my hands on some dried broadbeans would be too difficult.  I was wrong.  In their absence I used frozen.  My Mum insists that this is not a bigilla because it has not been made with dried broadbeans.  It's also true that usually the dip is a medium-dark brown and mine is bright green.  Whatever it is and whatever broadbean you use, this dip is addictive!!  And just between you and me, I think it tastes better than the original.

500g broadbeans
1/2 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup parsley, firmly packed
1 tsp harissa
salt and pepper, to season

Step 1 - Boil broadbeans in lightly salted water for 4-5 minutes, or until soft.  Drain and transfer to food processor while still warm.
Step 2 - Add garlic, lemon juice, parsley and harrisa to broadbeans, season well with salt and pepper and process.  With motor running, drizzle olive oil in a thin stream until incorperated.  
Step 3 - Taste and adjust seasoning as required.  Serve warm or cool with crackers or bread. 


If using dried broadbeans reduce the amount to 300g and soak overnight. Drain and rinse before commencing step 1.  Cooking time will also need to be extended.

I forgot to pick up some harissa so used tabasco sauce instead.  Not traditional but still gave it the kick it needed.  A fresh birdseye chilli could be used also.

1 comment:

  1. Well George, your mama is right - always listen to mama - if it's green it isn't bigilla. On the other hand you could give it a NEW name like, smallah or bigadra.

    Anyway, just kidding but on the serious side, if one in Malta was to have an online shop to sell "ful ta' Gerba" (Djerba beans) they would make a killing.

    They used to sell beans for bigilla at Marsaxlokk and they weren't broadbeans at all. They were small and round.

    Profs. Bonnici from the Ministry for Agriculture once told me that here in Canada the bigilla bean (by the way, I think the word bigilla originated from the Amharic (language spoken in Ethiopia) word baqueella) would probably be known as the horse bean and used for animal feed.

    I've recently experimented with the black bean - colour is very very close to the brown of the bigilla found in Malta.