Maltese Traditional Recipe: Kawlata

Kawlata by Victoria Cassar

Ara din ir-riċetta bil-Malti: Kawlata

"Il-kawlata" is a traditional Maltese dish which is slowly being forgotten. This is the recipe my 81-year-old mother still makes based on the recipe of her mother, my grandmother. Il-kawlata is a complete dish with a large and varied quantity of vegetables, beans, pork and pasta. The pasta used in the original kawlata recipe is macaroni, however I find it too bulky in a vegetable stew, so I prefer to use the shorter variety. You may used canned beans to save time or you may soak dry beans overnight and boil them for approximately one hour and a half or until they soften, then drain. I prefer to soak and boil a large amount of beans and freeze portions for use over the winter.

Time: 1 hr 45 min

Serves: 6 persons


  • 200 g broad beans (see note above) 
  • 300 g smoked pork shank or bacon
  • 500 g pork belly, without the skin
  • 500 g pumpkin
  • 3 tender sticks of Maltese celery with leaves, chopped 
  • 300 g carrots (3 large carrots), peeled and chopped into small cubes
  • 300 g cayote squash (tnejn small ones) peeled and chopped into small cubes (can also use courgettes)
  • 500 g cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 300 g cabbage, chopped
  • 1 l  vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp tomato concentrate
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 100 g pasta
  • 100 g kefalotiri cheese, grated


  1. Place all the ingredients except the cheese and pasta in a large pot and mix everything together.
  2. Place the covered pot on a high flame. When it comes to the boil, lower the heat and allow to simmer, still covered, for 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  3. Remove the meat from the pot, detach from the bones, cut into bite-sized pieces and put into the pot.
  4. Add the pasta and mix. Increase to moderate heat and cook the pasta for 8-10 minutes.
  5. Remove the pot from heat, add half the cheese and stir.
  6. Serve with more cheese on top.

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