Bigilla (broad bean dip) is the dip of all dips!
I recently made bigilla using fresh broad beans but traditionally dried tic beans (ful ta’ Girba) are used. These are very similar to broad beans but are smaller and darker. Most people use dried broad beans as that is what is readily available in Middle Eastern shops and that is what I have used.
There are many different variations but most recipes include the dried beans, olive oil, garlic, herbs and seasoning. I have included lemon juice and capers in mine. Most recipes use fresh uncooked garlic but I fry my garlic lightly before adding into the mixture (personal preference). Another addition which most recipes include, although wasn’t traditionally is chili (dried or fresh). I usually do include chili but didn’t this time because it is too hot for my two young daughters. They just love bigilla.
The most important thing with this dip is to soak the beans for 24 hours and I also added bicarbonate soda and salt. This helps to soften the beans before they are cooked on the stove top. I have tried soaking them for less and without the bicarbonate soda. They didn’t soften enough, so don’t try and skip this step.
The last time I made this dip, I also made galletti (Maltese crackers). This time I didn’t have the time so I bought little toast rusks. I remember my buz nunna used to love these with tea. They go perfectly with bigilla too.
I hope you give this easy recipe a try. It is a delicious dip which you will find served everywhere when you are in Malta. If made and seasoned well it is delicious!
- 250 grams dried broad beans.
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 small garlic cloves peeled
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped mint
- 2 tablespoons chopped oregano or marjoram (optional)
- 2 teaspoons capers
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chilli or 1 tablespoon dried chilli flakes (optional)
- Freshly cracked salt and pepper
- More olive oil for drizzling
- Crackers to serve
- Soak the beans with the bicarbonate soda and salt for 24 hours using fresh boiled water.
- When the beans have been soaked, drain and rinse. Place them into a pot with fresh water and bring to a boil.
- Immediately reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- While the beans are cooking lightly fry the garlic cloves for five minutes until softened.
- In a large bowl mix the garlic, herbs, capers, lemon juice, olive oil and chili if using.
- Once the beans have been cooked, drain and add into the mixture.
- With a hand blender blend everything together until blended to a thick consistency.
- Season with fresh cracked salt and pepper.
- When serving drizzle with some more oil.
- Serve with crackers of your choice.