There are some things humans simply can’t live without, namely: food, water, air, sleep, and WiFi. This rule may cover most of the world’s population, but some of these human beings are Maltese, and darling Maltese people have a different set of needs. To survive on this or any planet, we need pasta, Cisk, ħobż tal-Malti, figolla, and nanna’s signature kapunata. This is what we need if we are to survive the zombie apocalypse.
Okay, time to dispense with the dramatics. Kapunata is a delicious vegetarian dish made with bell peppers, capers, aubergines, onions, tomatoes, olives, and garlic. It can be served hot or cold, and is best enjoyed with a thick slice of fresh Maltese bread fresh from the local bakery.
This typically-Mediterranean dish holds fond memories for most Maltese people; from long days at the beach to those sweet Sunday afternoons catching up with our grandparents at the kitchen table, the humble kapunata almost always makes an appearance.
Now we all know that nobody is going to come close to your grandmother’s top-secret recipe – but if you’re living abroad or just want to give nanna a break, here’s a recipe to get you started.
- a few cloves of garlic, crushed
- 4 or 5 tomatoes
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 aubergine, chopped into cubes
- green, red and orange bell peppers, roughly chopped (yay for colours!)
- a good handful of capers
- salt and pepper (season to taste)
- 2 heaped tablespoons of tomato paste
- olive oil
- chopped black olives
- fresh basil or mint
- Start with the aubergine and a baking dish. Throw the aubergine in there, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Mix it all together and bang it in the oven until the
aubergine is a nice golden colour – it’ll just take a few minutes.
- Grab a decently-sized pot or deep pan and heat some olive oil in it. Add the onions and crushed garlic and cook them until they start to turn translucent.
- Add the chopped bell peppers and continue cooking for a few more minutes before adding the grilled aubergine and tomatoes.
- Leave all of that deliciousness to simmer for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are nice and soft; you can add a little water if things start to get a little dry.
- Throw in the olives and capers before adding at least 2 tablespoons of tomato paste – but feel free to add more if you just really love kunserva.
- Add another dash of salt and pepper and continue cooking for a few more minutes. Top it all off with a few fresh basil (or mint) leaves for extra sass.
- You’re done! Sit down and enjoy the fruits of your labour with an ice-cold beer and comforting slice of Maltese bread. You’ve made nanna proud.