Kapunata is a popular Maltese dish that can be served as a hearty accompaniment to any protein-based meal or simply paired with a slice of bread for dipping and enjoying on its own. 

Serves
8-10

Preparation

20min

Cooking

1hr

Skill level

Mid
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Although the dish is similar to French ratatouille, kapunata is actually the Maltese version of Sicilian caponata. You could even call this vegetarian delight a kitchen-based recognition of the close geographical ties between Sicily and Malta, and a nod to a shared ancient history of 440 years. 

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant, cubed
  • Salt, for eggplant preparation only
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 6 tomatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 celery sticks, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp baby capers 
  • 15 black olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme 
  • 3 tbsp fresh basil 
  • 2 tsp fresh oregano
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • Black pepper, to taste

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

The dish makes about 4 large jars or containers. Or serves 8 people. 

  1. Prepare the eggplant and cover in salt. Let it soak for up to an hour to sweat and then pat dry with a paper towel. 
  2. Heat the olive oil in the pan. Fry onion, garlic and eggplant until brown around seven to 10 minutes. 
  3. Add peppers, carrots and tomatoes and cook for about five more minutes. Add all remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil. 
  4. Reduce to a soft simmer on low heat, cooking for 1 hour 30 minutes, to allow the dish to thicken. Stir occasionally. 
  5. Serve hot or cold as a side dish with or without bread for dipping. Goes well with fish, boiled potatoes, hard-boiled eggs. Also ideal to use as a pizza topping or as a bruschetta variant. 

 

Note

• Store in jars in the fridge for up to one week.