The Maldives Cuisine: An Overview
The people of the Maldives take full advantage of the sea surrounding their tiny islands when creating their unique cuisine. Borrowing from Indian and Sri Lankan influence, the Maldivians have taken what could be considered simple fare that lacks great variety, and transformed their food into flavourful, aromatic dishes that satisfy appetites and taste buds alike.
The Maldives provide a limited selection of ingredients from which to draw upon. Due to this, fish, coconuts, rice, and breadfruit are among the most common food items to be found in Maldivian cooking. Many dishes share similar core ingredients, but are inventively paired with any combination of spices and other ingredients introduced by other countries to make each dish something that stands on its own. If you visit the Maldives don’t miss out on the most popular dishes from the local island cuisine.
Fish, most often tuna, can be found in nearly every savoury Maldivian dish. This is due to the abundant availability of seafood in the waters surrounding the islands. Some of the most popular, traditional Maldives dishes include:
A pastry snack stuffed with dried fish, chopped onion, and curry that is baked or fried, and served at parties and gatherings. Chicken variations can also be found.
This dish consists of a pastry stuffed with tuna, boiled eggs, cabbage, and spices. The pastries are then deep fried.
A traditional entree, that utilizes a whole fish for grilling. Spices are ground into a thick paste that is then worked into slits made into the fish. The fish is then skewered, filleted, and grilled.
Another filled pastry snack; Smoked tuna, coconut, and spices are wrapped in dough formed into a ball and deep fried.
A simple breakfast dish, that is made with tuna, coconut, onion, lemon, and salt. This is usually served with roshi.
One of the most popular curries is made with tuna, coconut meat, coconut milk, mango, and lots of spice.
One of the few curries absent of fish, you will never be served the same egg curry twice. The recipes differ chef to chef and are largely made according to the personal preference of the cook.
A tuna and breadfruit curry with a large variety of spice that is found only in the Maldives. Do not miss the chance to sample this dish, you may not get another opportunity!
Speaking of breadfruit, this versatile ingredient can be found in both sweet and savoury dishes, and is among the food staples associated with Maldives cuisine.
Theluli faa Banbukeyo
A very simple, but tasty snack of breadfruit wedges fried in coconut oil.
Roshi is a traditional bread served with nearly every meal. Roshi is an Maldivian version of a traditional Indian flatbread.
Due to the prevalence of Islam in the Maldives, locals do not drink alcohol, so authentic Maldivian cocktails are not something you will find. However, favourite drinks in the Maldives include fresh fruit juices of pineapple, mango, and whatever happens to be in season, and tea. Raa is another beverage you can find that is a traditional drink made from palm tree sap.