Bacalao a la portuguesa – salt cod with chickpeas

Bacalao a la portuguesa – salt cod with chickpeas

55 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)


For 3 people
600 g salt cod
300 ml dried chickpeas
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
15 olives
2 eggs
1 bunch cilantro
700 ml milk
150 ml extra virgin olive oil
2 small chilli peppers (optional)

This is a wonderful way of preparing the bacalao and creating an authentic Mediterranean dish out of ingredients you can not call fresh at all (dried chickpeas and salted cod). The recipe is probably of Portuguese origin but it is often prepared in the villages of Axarquía and is very popular in many households.

The interesting thing about it is that it uses fresh cilantro instead of parsley. This is my favourite question to ask: why has cilantro so little prominence in malagan cuisine compared to parsley considering the huge influence of Morrocan cuisine and the essential role of cilantro in it. You can also guess how little cilantro is actually used in households in Málaga if you ask any local non-tourist and non-Arabic fruit and veg stall.



For 2 people
  • Rinse the cod under running water thoroughly to get rid of the salt from the surface of the cod. Soak the cod for 2 days in 2 litres of water in the fridge. Change the water every 12 hours. Soak the dry chickpeas in cold water in the fridge for 24 hours. Do not underestimate this step – the most common problem of all recipes with the salt cod is that they end up too salty.

  • Drain the chickpeas and boil them in a pressure cooker for 1 hour in salted water (in a normal pot for 2 hours, then check if they are soft enough to be eaten without being too soft).

    Preheat oven to 220°C.

    Boil the eggs in water for 10 minutes. Peel them.


  • Boil the cod in milk for 4 minutes. Drain it and crumble it removing all the bones.

  • Fry chopped garlic and onion until golden brown.

  • Mix the chickpeas with the crumbled cod, sauteed onion and garlic and olive oil in an ovenproof skillet or tray or casserole. Check the salt.

    Add olives and garnish with quartered eggs. Sprinkle again with olive oil. Add chilli if you like it hot.

  • Roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Before serving sprinkle again with olive oil and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro..