Aljotta – Easy does it
This is a recipe that I wouldn’t have dared to do until just recently after a colleague of mine told me how easy it was to do. I think traditional mums have a tendency to make this dish sound like quite a job but in reality this recipe proves otherwise. I think it all boils down to the effort my mum takes in extracting all the juices from the fish, but not a prerequisite to create the magical Aljotta which refers to fish soup in Maltese.
This recipe also has a twist to how most people would do fish soup. It has rice and tomato sauce. This style is common in Gozo, our sister island, but also in the fish village of Marsaxlokk. At least this is what my local friends told me! Thus this soup serves as a main course. You might also notice that in my picture a lot of rice is showing. This is because I have added a bit extra and in reality you should not have that much.
Rice is not Paleo and is a grain despite being gluten free. We can still tolerate some occasional rice and thus I have stuck to the original recipe, from my colleague. I didn’t want to try any rice alternative, like cauliflower rice, for this traditional Maltese dish. I must say that we were quite happy with the outcome and will definitely make this dish again.
I used some small fish to make the fish stock but you could also use the heads of some fish and also some king prawn heads. I have doubled the amount of water to preserve some fish stock for next time. I found these sealeable vacuum bags to be great to store stock in the freezer, I didn’t use the vacuum function though. Alternatively zip lock bags would also be good to save some space in the freezer.
- 1 large onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small can tomato chunks (Polpa) or 3 chopped tomatos
- 2 teaspoons dry mint
- Pinch Salt & Pepper
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree concentrate (kunserva)
- Small fish / fish head / prawn heads / fish meat
- 1 cup rice
- 1500ml water
- Cook the fish in a deep pot to make stock. Immerse in water and put on stove for 30-45 minutes.
- When stock is almost complete, finely chop the onion and garlic in another pot in some olive oil. Once softened, add in tomato chunks.
- Add the water from the fish stock into this pan.
- Add the remaining ingredients including rice.
- Let boil until the rice cooks. In the mean time clean the fish and add meat to the pan. This step is optional.
- Simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is cooked.
- Store extra tomato chunks and fish stock inside freezer for later use.