Lampuki  (Dorado fish)

The Maltese Islands’ favourite fish!

Lampuki (in the plural) or Lampuka (singular) is the Maltese name for the dorado fish. It goes by two other names as well … dolphin fish or mahi mahi fish.

The lampuka has a beautiful silver and golden colour.

This migratory fish visits the Maltese Islands'
waters from the end of August till early December, therefore fishing for this
type of fish takes place between August (towards the end) and November.

How do Maltese fishermen fish for lampuki?

They weave fronds from palm trees into flat rafts.

They then place the rafts on the surface of the sea. What happens is that the lampuka (dorado fish) schools under the rafts
because these large rafts provide shade and shelter from the scorching sun. In
Maltese, these types of “rafts” are referred to as kannizzati.

The fishermen then use nets to catch the dolphin fish.

It is believed that this type of fishing method has been in use since ancient Roman times!

The Maltese people are very fond of this type of fish and when in season, you can usually spot many lampuki vendors roaming the
streets with small vans.

In some old villages you will also come across women with prams selling them! Yes prams … without the baby of course :)

What they do, is use the pram as a sort of trolley to carry the wooden fish crates on. (The type of prams that they use are
usually very old, no longer in use ones). In the old days, women used to put
the wooden fish crates on their heads and hit the streets to sell them.

The lampuka grows really fast but the local
fishermen usually aim to catch it when it weighs from 1 to 1.5 kilos maximum
- just enough to sit nicely on a plate.

This fish is a good source of vitamin B12, B6 and B3.

The lampuka is a delicious fish and there’s a huge
demand for it. So much so, that local fishermen also export their catch to
other countries.

How is the lampuka cooked?

This popular fish can be cooked in various ways.
However in Malta, the favourite way to cook lampuki is to make a pie with it.
You can also simply plain shallow fry it. Another option is to cook it with
tomato sauce, capers and green peppers.

If you're visiting Malta from August till November, make sure to try this exquisite fish at least once!

Turn your Lampuki Leftovers… into a Foodilicious Lampuki Fish Pie!

Take out your Lampuki leftovers this month to turn them in one of Malta’s most desired pies… Lampuki
. With many variations being produced since this recipe was invented,
I’ve always wanted to recreate this tasty Lampuki Pie.

With the Lampuki fish is season and you pay a cheaper price this month. This will suits everyone needs
as even with your leftovers you might have left in your freezer, this will turn
to be a Pie feast. In my Lampuki Pie I use my Oregano Short-Crust Pastry,
together with mashed up potatoes and spinach. Normally, the traditional Lampuki
Pie my grandmother used to prepare is without using any spices and herbs which
was still tasty.

In this version of this pie the Maltese  use both herbs & spices like ginger and oregano that marries well with the
white fish. Instead of Lampuki (Dolphin Common fish) you can use cod or
paddock. Mostly white fish is recommended for this recipe as oily fish will
bring a different taste and texture to your pie. This Lampuki Pie is great to
have around for family gatherings or friend gatherings and you can also prepare
them into small tin moulds for a snack.

Here’s the recipe for you…

Lampuki Pie


For Oregano
Short-Crust Pastry

500g flour

250g butter

pinch salt

2 tbsp dried oregano

pinch sugar

For the Lampuki

500g lampuki
(dolphin common fish) meat leftovers

150g black olives, pitted

3 tomatoes diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

6 basil leafs, chopped

4/5 medium sized potatoes

1 tbsp parsley, chopped

pinch of nutmeg

800g spinach

1tsp ginger powder

1 egg, beaten