From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A typical serving of kusksu
Alternative namesKusksu bil-Ful
Place of originMalta
Main ingredientsKusksu, broad beans, ġbejniet

Kusksu is a traditional Maltese soup made primarily from seasonal broad beans, small pasta beads, and fresh ġbejniet. Although similar in shape, the small pasta beads, known locally as kusksu, look like couscous,[1] but this one tends to be lighter and fluffier in texture. In contrast, kusksu, which gives the soup its name, is "miniature pasta" which is thick and ideal for simmering.[2] Once cooked, the short-cut pasta beads give the soup its distinctive creamy and warm texture, making it an ideal dish to serve during cold weather.


Given its close resemblance to couscous, it is likely that kusksu originated during Malta's Arab occupation.[3] However, documentary evidence relating to this period is scarce.[4] A reliable source dating back to the 18th century makes reference to peppercorn-like shaped pasta,[5] suggesting that kusksu pasta was a staple in the Maltese diet.


The main ingredients used for kusksu

The primary ingredient used in kusksu is the broad bean, known locally as ful. Broad beans are well-adapted to the Maltese climate and can become invasive if left uncontrolled.[6] In Malta, broad beans are typically sown in December and harvested during early spring.[7] Their cultivation requires little or no care, and most Maltese farmers do not irrigate their crop.[8] In 2016, Malta's National Statistics Office reported that 595 tonnes of broad beans were sold through official markets,[9] a figure that puts into perspective why some locals refer to the broad bean as Malta's "iconic",[10] or "favourite"[11] bean.

The small pasta beads, known as kusksu, are another key ingredient. Apart from giving the soup its name, the pasta, which is "a little bigger than a coriander",[12] adds "a fabulous texture that is like no other".[13] The kusksu pasta, which is "not to be confused with couscous",[14] is widely available in Malta, however, this key ingredient may be hard to source in international markets. While alternatives do exist, these may not always yield the best results.

Other ingredients that are typically found in kusksu include the fresh Maltese ġbejna, usually added just before serving;[15] generous amounts of onions and garlic fried in olive oil or butter; bay leaves; tomato paste; eggs which are typically poached in the soup itself, rather than boiled separately;[16][17] water or vegetable stock; salt and pepper for seasoning, and parsley for garnishing.

Kusksu pasta beads and a €2 coin


Multiple versions of this popular Maltese dish exist. Some have included fish,[18] while others have introduced bacon, cabbage, and pumpkin to their kusksu recipe.[19] However, the more "authentic", or perhaps "original" versions of the dish, kusksu bil-ful (kusksu with broad beans),[20][21][22] tend to feature fewer and simpler ingredients that are in season.[23] In 2002, MaltaPost issued a series of stamps to celebrate Maltese cuisine and the more traditional version of the dish, kusksu bil-ful, was included.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nevins, Debbie; Sheehan, Sean; Yong, Jui Lin (15 July 2019). Malta. ISBN 9781502647498.
  2. ^ Albala, K. (2011). Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia, Volume 2. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-0313376269.
  3. ^ Zammit, C. as cited in Borg, V. P. (June 20, 1998). "Dishes with a Maltese touch". Times of Malta (Weekender).
  4. ^ "'Shed light on Arab period' leading academic pleads". MaltaToday. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  5. ^ Vassalli, M. A. (1796). Ktŷb yl klŷm Mâlti 'mfysser byl-Latǐn u byt-Taljân sive Liber dictionum melitensium. Rome: Antonio Fulgoni. p. 387.
  6. ^ "Vicia faba (Broad Bean)". MaltaWildPlants.com. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  7. ^ "A tribute to Maltese ful! Gululu celebrates the broad bean with 4 stunning dishes this April". GuideMeMalta.com. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  8. ^ "Plant Protection Products Usage On Crops In Malta 2005" (PDF). www.nso.gov.mt/en/. National Statistics Office, Malta. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  9. ^ Agriculture and Fisheries 2014 (PDF). Valletta: National Statistics Office. p. 60. ISBN 978-99957-29-50-9. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  10. ^ "April Ful! Gululu Launches A Spring Menu Celebrating Malta's Iconic Bean". Lovin Malta. 4 April 2019. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  11. ^ "Malta's Favourite Bean – The Fava Bean". Arkadia. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  12. ^ "Kusksu with Broad Beans – Kusksu bil-ful". Tisjir.com. Archived from the original on May 1, 2019. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  13. ^ "Felice in the Kitchen: Guest Blogger". www.felicekitchen.blogspot.com. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  14. ^ "Cooking the perfect Kusksu!". Visit Gozo. 21 April 2017. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  15. ^ "Maltese kusksu". MaltaToday. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  16. ^ "Meet in your kitchen - Alex's Kusksu Soup with Beans, Goat Cheese & Eggs". www.meikepeters.com. 9 October 2015. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  17. ^ "Kusksu". www.thyme-out.blogspot.com. 25 November 2013. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  18. ^ Tisjir mill-Qalb 2014. The Malta Community Chest Fund. p. 112. ISBN 978-99957-0-750-7.
  19. ^ Tisjir mill-Qalb 2018. The Malta Community Chest Fund. 2018. p. 62. ISBN 978-99957-1-381-2.
  20. ^ The Way We Ate - Memories of Maltese Meals. Midsea Books. May 2011. p. 170. ISBN 978-99932-7-326-4.
  21. ^ "Kusksu & Broad Beans Soup". www.mycookingformula.com/. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  22. ^ Taste of Malta. BDL Publishing. 2014. p. 44. ISBN 978-99957-46-28-5.
  23. ^ Falzon, Mark-Anthony. "The fun of faking 'authenticity'". Times of Malta. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  24. ^ "Maltese Cuisine 2002 - 7c Kusksu bil-Ful". MaltaPost. Retrieved April 30, 2019.