Food & drink
6 delicious ways to eat Malta's favourite fish during lampuki season
Try these guys before they’re all gone

Kristina Cassar Dowling

Lampuki. A September staple in the Maltese diet. The fish starts its journey in life in Mediterranean waters and travels all the way to the North Pacific Ocean where it grows into the Hawaiin beauty, Mahi Mahi. The Mediterranean version of the fish is rather small and totally tasty. 

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If you’re not a big fish eater, this guy might be a good bet for you. It’s rather mild in fishiness and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Its skin is scale-free and can be eaten with the flesh BUT, and it’s quite a big but…watch out for the bones. You’ll need to clean this beauty pretty well no matter how you cook it. Here are a few options.

The traditional version: biz-zalza tal-kappar

A rich tomato sauce with capers, olives, garlic and some fresh herbs added as a garnish - my personal preference here is basil. This makes for the perfect accompaniment for a pan fried or oven roasted lampuka. A side of sauteed green peppers or a homemade kappunata and you’re sorted. Cook the fish for 20 minutes al cartoccio in the oven or for about 6 minutes on each side on the hob. 

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Another local favourite: fried with chips

Fried fish? Yes please! Fried fish is usually quite a hit in any family and this local version is so simple to execute perfectly. Ask your fish hawker to gut and clean the lampuka. Once you get home, chop into steaks and lightly dust the tasty bits in semolina, regular flour or panko breadcrumbs. Don’t forget to season your flour for total flavour explosions. Shallow fry until the crust is brown and the inner flesh runs clear of blood. Chips are always welcome. 

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A baked sensation: lampuki pie

Who doesn't like a pie every now and then? Lampuki make for the perfect pie filling, mixed in with capers, olives, thinly sliced onions, a few fresh tomatoes and a whole lot of love. This filling mixture is to die for and the thick crust on top is absolutely moreish. 

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For the foodies: lampuki ceviche 

Raw fish might not be on everyone’s go-to list but if you’re up for a special treat full of pure flavour and absolute textural wonder, give lampuki ceviche a try. Thinly slice the fish and ‘cook’ the flesh with lemon juice, marinaded with your preferred herbs - coriander will work wonders for an Asian inspired dish, while red onion, chilli and a splash of sesame oil for a Poke Bowl sensation. 

For the kitchen pros: pickle or cure your lampuki

This one needs a little bit of TLC and patience. You’ll first need to fillet your fish - ask you fish monger to get this done for perfect results. Rub the fish fillet with salt and pepper. In a saucepan, bring some vinegar, water, sugar and aromatics up to a simmer. Add in some finely sliced onions and stick your fish in the pan for about 20 minutes. Find the perfect curing recipe for you and follow it religiously - remember to refrigerate your pickled lampuki and consume within 4-6 weeks. I’d probably eat them sooner though. 

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For the kiddies: lampuki nuggets

This one is fun and simple - you can even get the kids involved. Filet your fish and pick out all the bones. Check for bones again…and triple check while you’re at it. Prepare two bowls - one with seasoned egg and the other with seasoned flour for your choice. You guessed it…we’re gonna get our batter on. Double fry your lampuki nuggets for the crispiest exterior and and make some extra. You’ll need them!

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There you have it. Lampuki six ways. Pick your fav and remember to tag us with your creative kitchen creations! 

1st October 2019


Kristina Cassar Dowling
Written by
Kristina Cassar Dowling
A local writer in love with the Maltese islands, Kristina is a hunter for all things cultural both in Malta and outside its shores. A curious foodie, music fanatic, art lover and keen traveller with an open mind and a passion for writing.

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