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

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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

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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.

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