Average: 4.8 (6 votes)
6 Servings

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

6 tomatoes, sliced

1 bay leaf

Fresh mint

8 cups water

1 whole small fish, about 800 grams (1.75 pounds; traditionally rock fish, substitutes include halibut, flounder, or snapper), cleaned and cut into 4 pieces

100 grams (3.5 ounces) rice



2 lemons (one for juice, one for garnish)

Fresh parsley


  1. In a large pot, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft and golden.
  2. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, mint, and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then add the fish. Reduce the heat and simmer until the fish meat is white and soft.
  3. Remove the fish from the soup, allow it to cool until you can handle it, then remove the head, tail, skin, and bones.
  4. Strain the soup broth and return it to the pot.
  5. Cook the rice in the soup broth by bringing it to a boil and cooking until the rice is tender. Return fish meat back to the pot. Season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon.
  6. Serve hot with lemon wedges and parsley as garnish.


Recipe courtesy of Malta.com, photo courtesy of Fotolia. Learn more about Maltese cuisine and find more recipes for traditional Maltese dishes at Malta.com


Calories: 190; Total Fat: 5g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Sodium: 55mg; Total Carbohydrate: 14g; Fiber: 1g; Protein: 20g.

Yield: 6 Servings

How'd it Taste?

natasha mangion
i make aljotta today and I went here to check if I did it right :) ... but I put in 2 potatoes ... it s not wrong I think ,. good day all
Hi Natasha. In most recipes, adding or subtracting recipes is fine, so your potatoes are absolutely right if it tasted good to you! The only exception is baking, where changes can upset the balance of the recipe so that it may not work. Happy cooking adventures.
Cathy Mifsud
It only just hit me, searching for answers for an illness related to a hormone imbalance. I come from Malta, an Island who's traditional food staple is fish and broth made from heads to tail. This is a super nourishing food source, especially healing and supportive to thyroid function! Exactly what I need! So I made this soup using snapper heads and frame slow cooked 24 hours in my slow cooker, outside so it didn't stink out the house. It is surprisingly delicious! I can't stop eating it. Thank you!
Hi Cathy, so glad that you enjoyed the recipe!
Airi Yamaguchi
Hi! I am going to make this dish in Japan, but I don't know how much time it will take... Could you tell me, please?
Hi Airi! The timing will depend on how long it takes to clean, cut, and prepare the whole fish, and how long it takes the pieces of fish to fully cook—you'll want to make sure the pieces of meat are white and fully cooked. We would estimate 45 minutes-an hour, but we'd love to hear how it goes!
I could only find flounder fillets, so am wondering if I should use fish stock instead of water to make up for it...or would chicken stock work?
It's totally up to you! If you like the taste of chicken stock, feel free to substitute it in this dish.
Ray G
In Canada My beloved mom made it from my creel of small perch. It tasted awesome. I’m I am going to text local fish market to get some fish carcasses to make some for myself
Why strain the soup and discard the vegies Etc?
Hi Carol, by the straining step you should already have all the flavors you need from the tomatoes, bay leaves and mint. Straining it allows for a smoother texture and allows the focus to be on the broth and fish. However, you could adjust the recipe to personal preference if you would like.
Silvana Cassar
I have made several times its yummy
Miriam Jackson ...
hi i made this recipe with some Tommie's that my brother in law caught and i filleted them and used the bones heads and tails. i boiled them and strained and add to the rest of the soup as this is how i use to see my mum making it when i was young. i dont cook the rice in soup i precook it and add while i serve. its yummy. one of my favourite dish. thank you for your help
Lisa LiGreci
How much mint?
Hi Lisa, you can add about a tablespoon of dried mint or a handful of fresh leaves.
Josephine Dimec...
Hello, My mum used to cook "Aljotta tal-hut" but she never used bay leaves or tomatoes. She used tomatoe paste. We're Maltese and this dish is traditional for our country. She use to do it with 'Vopi'. A small fish. The smallest the fish the flavour is better. Before cooking we use to remove the flash of the fish and the soup was made by the heads, tails and the bones. With the flash we made "pulpetti" (fritters) as second dish and served with veg or chips. Regarding potatoes in the Aljotta I don't really agree because potatoes have starch and they might loose a lot of the taste.
Hi Josephine, this is very interesting. Thank you so much for sharing how your family prepares this dish, we love learning new things! Your version of the soup, and the "pulpetti' sound delicious!
Prof 1
I was surprised at how easy this was to pull together. Served the soup with homemade bread. A+
I love the way you support individual substitutions based on personal tastes. Getting people to eat healthier with recipe structure is a great way to better their awareness of the benefits of eating healthy. Your doing good things here.
My nanna Nina used to make this when I was a little girl but I remember it being more on the white side I’m colour. I could be wrong. Also how much rice? Love bringing back memories with food.
Hi Lisa, thank you for sharing. We are so happy this brought back memories for you! We recommend 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of rice in our version!
Gemma Dingli
We use the head, tail and bones for this soup and put them in a muslin bag so that we get them out of the soup without leaving any bones in the soup. I do not strain the soup and the fillets I stuff with capers, olives, garlic, tomatoes and mint and bake them.
Salvatore Ellul
4 fresh fish,like trill and pagru. 6 fresh tomatoes Glove Onion Mint Add mussels Clams Prawns Vongole

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