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Maltese Spicy Tic Beans (Djerba) Paste (Bigilla) Recipe


Kikalina is from Malta and enjoys sharing facts and tidbits about Maltese culture and traditions.

Bigilla with galleti on the left and ftira on the right

Bigilla with galleti on the left and ftira on the right


Tic beans are used to make this Maltese recipe that is also referred to as bigilla in the native language. Locally, tic beans are referred to as "ful ta' Ġirba" (Djerba beans). These are similar to but smaller than broad beans, with a darker and harder skin. Should these type of beans be unavailable, dried broad beans (also known as fava beans) can be used. The paste is served either with a piece of bread (like ftira) or water crackers (galletti). It is ideal as a healthy snack or to serve with drinks. In Malta, this bigilla can be purchased in stores or from street vendors. However, for those who wish to try it at home, here is the authentic recipe passed down in my family through generations. I still have the handwritten recipe in my great grandmother's handwriting!

Dried Broad Beans

Dried Broad Beans

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

1 hour 30 min

1 hour 40 min

a nice bowlful to share with a group of people

Tic Beans (Djerba Beans or 'ful tal-girba')

Tic Beans (Djerba Beans or 'ful tal-girba')


  • 500 grams tic beans, (Djerba Beans)
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, (just the juice)
  • 1 or 2 red peppers, (add to taste)
  • 7 cloves dried garlic
  • fresh pasley
  • fresh mint
  • marjoram
  • salt
  • a blender

The Method

  1. Place the tic beans in a large container and cover with water. Let them soak for a day making sure to change the water several times.
  2. Drain the water. Rinse the beans and place in a pot. Cover the beans with water. Bring the water to the boil and allow to boil for 90 minutes. Add more water to the pot as needed, always making sure all the beans are covered in water. (If using a pressure cooker, you need to cook for 30 minutes.)
  3. After 90 minutes, the beans should be soft. Drain the water and put the beans in the blender.
  4. Add the other ingredients and blend.
  5. Allow to cool before serving.


Mimi on January 25, 2019:

I'm Maltese and this captures the traditional Bigilla taste and texture! Street hawkers selling piping hot Bigilla are a rare find these days so thank you for providing this recipe!

Rosina Galdes on April 19, 2014:

I only had canned fava beans in chilli in the pantry and being hungry and short on time, I remembered this old favourite from my childhood days. It came quite close to the one I used to buy from the street hawker. I have to say though, when it is warm or hot, it tastes much nicer. I warmed it up in the microwave and it was delicious. One tip - be careful with the salt if using tinned beans. This is a recipe that matures with age, that's if you can resist constantly dipping into it. Keeps well in an airtight container. I spread mine over crusty bread. Mmm yum...

kikalina (author) from Europe on March 19, 2013:

Although the concept of a hummus and bigilla are the same the taste is very distinctively different. Both are worth a try!

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on March 18, 2013:

This looks delicious! I just came to this from a hummus recipe, and saw your comment about having a similar recipe. It would be interesting to try this, and see how it compares. Thank you for sharing this family recipe with us!

kikalina (author) from Europe on July 21, 2012:

Thanks stessily. This paste is really worth the effort!

stessily on February 21, 2012:

kikalina, Favas are a favourite bean for me. It's rare for them to last long enough to be used in paste! I'm willing to make an exception with this recipe, which sounds scrumptious.

Thank you for sharing your great grandmother's recipe.

kikalina (author) from Europe on November 18, 2011:

yeah let me know if anyone gives it a try :)

rjsadowski on November 13, 2011:

Sounds a little bit like hummus. Interesting.

kikalina (author) from Europe on November 07, 2011:

Finally managed to make some. I tell you, life with a toddler and baby is not easy.

kikalina (author) from Europe on November 06, 2011:

It has been a busy week but will manage a batch tommorow.

Ireno Alcala from Bicol, Philippines on November 05, 2011:

Please do include the finish product of this. I might try this, too. BTW, welcome to HubPages. You can also peruse my Tropical Cooking series at my account.

Thanks for sharing!

kikalina (author) from Europe on October 25, 2011:

Yeah I will post a pic tommorow of the finished product when I get round to making it.

Cynthia B Turner from Georgia on October 25, 2011:

Sounds good and fairly easy. I'll have to try this. Welcome to Hubpages, by the way.

kikalina (author) from Europe on October 17, 2011:

thank you, it does taste anazing! I spread it on fresh warm bread :)

anglnwu on October 17, 2011:

Mmm, sounds like hummus. I would like to try it as it looks very healthy and I'm sure it is delicious as well. Rated up.

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