One of the best things about Summer is meeting up with friends, everyone bringing along their favourite summer dish for that much awaited BBQ. If you have no idea what we are talking about, Bigilla is a dip that forms a staple part of any Maltese diet. A delicious, versatile condiment, usually eaten as a dip, with crackers.

In #Malta, Bigilla is a very traditional dish and is often used like a spread. It is sort of similar in ingredients, texture, and usage to hummus although it lacks the tahini. No one is quite sure how or where Bigilla originated, although there are similar dishes with similar names in countries such as Lebanon and Iraq.

This dip is made from mashed up brown or broad beans with lashings of garlic and herbs. My father loves to do his own version of it using red kidney beans instead, and let me tell you – it’s delish!


  • 250g Girba (small, brown beans, or alternatively you can use dried broad beans or even fava beans if the others are not available… else try my father’s version with red kidney beans)
  • 2tbsps extra virgin olive oil to mix and a dash to put on top once it’s finished
  • 1 clove of garlic (or more, depending on your liking)
  • 1tbsp basil.
  • Salt to taste
  • Chili flakes/peppercorns to garnish it (optional)


  • Wash the beans carefully and then leave them to soak overnight.
  • Change the water, bring it to a boil and add the beans. Cook them until they become soft and the water evaporates.
  • Mash the beans into a paste (use a fork or a hand masher). The consistency should be paste-like and fine, but with a slightly chunky texture.
  • Put the paste in a bowl and add the herbs and salt.
  • Add the olive oil and mix thoroughly.
  • When finished, you can add some crushed garlic, chilli flakes and olive oil on top if you desire.
  • Put in the fridge until chilled. Then just enjoy!