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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2023
Headline for Top 5 Traditional Maldivian Cuisine – The main ingredients
Joanna James Joanna James
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Top 5 Traditional Maldivian Cuisine – The main ingredients

The Maldives is one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Not only in its natural beauty but also in its culture and cuisine. Maldivian cuisine has been influenced through history by it's neighbours India and Sri Lanka. With a blend of unique spices and an abundance of seafood, the Maldives has a few key ingredients that form the base on any meal.



This ingredient is called 'kurumba' in the local language and is grown on every island in the Maldives. Coconut is used in various ways in local dishes. It is used as shavings, milk to add a creamy flavour to the curries and even in the form of oil to deep-fry food. Coconut is grated using a traditional hunigondi which is a wooden seat with a serrated piece of metal at the end. The coconut is split in two and the inside of each half is grazed against the sharp metal. This way the fleshy part of the coconut gets grated and this can be used to squeeze out milk.



It comes as no surprise that fish is the star ingredient of almost all the dishes on the island. The king of dishes is known to be tuna. There are various species of tuna that lurk in the waters of the Maldives. Namely, frigate tuna, skipjack tuna, yellowfin tuna, little tunny and processed tuna is better known around the world as Maldive fish. This refers to the shavings of dried fish used as flavouring for curries. Other fish used would be mahi-mahi, mackerel scad, bigeye scad and wahoo.
Tuna is prepared cured, cooked, sundried and smoked while other fish are simply boiled, grilled or deep-fried. Local snacks like masroshi, bajiya, gulha, fatafolhi and kulhi bōkiba are all made from tuna. They are available at all Maldives restaurants like Dhigali Maldives for you to sample.



There are a variety of yams that are used in local cuisine. Sweet potato, cassava and taro are a few starchy items that are eaten boiled. Fruits like screwpine are eaten raw while breadfruit is boiled and eaten as well. Rice is either ground into flour or boiled and eaten.



These come in all varieties from fish and chicken curry to vegetable curries. The vegetable curries are made with brinjals, tora, pumpkin, muranga and chichanda. The most popular curry is Mas Riha which consists of fresh tuna diced into cubes, coconut milk and a blend of fresh chillies, peppers and spices. These curries are commonly eaten with roshi and chapati (local flatbreads) or steamed rice.


Maldivian Specialties

There are Maldivian dishes that can be made using fresh tuna. No, not curries...but items like salads. Mas huni is a tasty salad made of tuna, coconut, chillies and onions all mixed with different spices for a touch of deliciousness. This is usually eaten as a breakfast dish with chapati.