Imagine a curry puff had a ménage a trois with a samosa and a spring roll, and you’re halfway to what a bis keemiya is. Stuffed with gently sautéed, shredded cabbage, hardboiled eggs and spiced onions, the pastry is light and flaky, and delightfully chewy. They’re also way too easy to make for something this tasty.
Kulhi boakiba or fish cakes have been eaten by Maldivians for thousands of years, particularly on special occasions like festivals and feasts. Prepared with smoked tuna, grated coconut, chopped chili peppers, ginger and rice, the fish cake is also eaten as a short-eat during evening tea.
It’s a traditional Maldivian fish soup spiked with spices and citrus. Fresh tuna is the primary component, providing that all-important umami flavor to the soup. Cubes of fish are cooked up with water and curry leaves, onion, garlic and chilli, and then the whole lot is seasoned with crunchy fried onions and a spritz of lime. It’s ridiculously simple, but somehow manages to be both the perfect winter-warmer and clean, fresh soup for summer.
Curries are one of the most popular dishes in Maldivian cuisine and vary from fish and chicken curries to vegetable curries, rich with spices and exotic flavors. Top of the curry dishes is Mas Riha, which is made with diced fresh tuna, coconut, peppers, and plenty of fresh chilies, while a chicken curry known as Kukulhu Riha is also a favorite filled with a different mixture of spices.
Mas huni is a famous tuna salad with coconut that is traditionally eaten for breakfast with chapati bread. The fresh, spicy dish is made with tuna, coconut, chili, and onion, blended, seasoned and served with chapati bread.
Somewhere between a salad and a salsa, boshi mashuni is a blend of shredded, blanched (but still crunchy) banana flowers, fresh coconut and spices. It’s zingy with lime, hot with onion and Maldivian chilli (you can of course use regular chillies, just make sure they’re hot ones like bird’s eyes), with a savoury background thanks to curry leaves, turmeric and cumin. Find the recipe here and be blown away by the fact that it’s also pretty much a health food, which frankly feels irrelevant with something this gorgeous to eat.
Aluvi Boakibaa is a sweet cassava and coconut cake that melts in the mouth and transports one to heaven! It is liked by locals and tourists alike making it an integral part of food in the Maldives.