Celebrating Muslim Diversity: Recipes from Maldivian Muslims


Celebrating Muslim Diversity: Recipes from Maldivian Muslims


Situated in the middle of the Indian Ocean off the coast of southern India, the Maldives have an almost 100% native Muslim population, with Islam as the state religion. Islam was first introduced to the islands in the 11th century, mainly from Arab and East African traders and merchants. When the Buddhist King Dhovemi converted to Islam in the late 12th century and changed his title and name to Sultan Muhammed Al-Adil, the Maldives were forever changed into an Islamic nation.

Today, the Maldives is often portrayed as an expensive tropical getaway for rich Western tourists. What many don’t realize or see when traveling to the Maldives however, is just how richly diverse, colorful, and dynamic the local culture and history is. From the smaller local islands like Guraidhoo to Hulhumale, staying away from private resort islands is the best way to experience the true culture of the Maldives and interact with the local population. Their history, language, and yes, food are all part of the beautiful example of how the Maldives have long been a hub for the exchange in peoples, goods, languages, foods, and ideas in the Indian Ocean. In appreciation of the Maldives’ often ignored historical importance in the region, here are some of the most celebrated dishes from the islands:

Mas Huni: Traditionally eaten for breakfast with roti bread, this dish is comprised of tuna, coconut, and lime; a perfect representation of the best flavors from this colorful nation


  • 16 oz canned white tuna (crumbled)
  • 5 oz smoked tuna
  • 2 green hot peppers (seeded and chopped finely)
  • 1 small white onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 large limes (juiced)
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1 fresh coconut (grated, but additionally you can use 3 oz of dried shredded coconut)
  • 3 oz of coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp of oil (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (can also add in a dash of chili powder to taste)


  • Mix in the two different tunas together in one large bowl, making sure everything is evenly crumbled together. Add in the chopped onion (you can skip this step if you don’t want fresh onion)
  • Pour in the lime juice and lime zest into the tuna mixture
  • Add in the grated or shredded coconut, mixing everything well. Then pour in the coconut milk
  • If the mixture seems a little dry, you can pour in the oil. If the mixture is at the desired consistency, keep as it is
  • Finally, mix in the green peppers, salt, pepper, and chili if wanted. Serve this dish cold with a side of fresh roti, and enjoy!

Garudhiya: A simple but delicious fish soup that is a favorite amongst locals with a blend of tuna, lime, and curry spice that makes this one of the most popular dishes in the Maldives


  • 1 medium fillet of tuna fish (de-boned and cut into medium sized pieces)
  • 1 white onion (sliced)
  • 1 liter of water
  • 6-8 curry leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Dash of lime juice (optional)


  • Pour water in a large pot and add in the desired salt
  • Add in the pieces of tuna once the water starts to steam (but before it boils), and continue to cook over a low heat
  • Keep simmering until the broth is clear (a thin layer from the fish may rise to the top of the water, scoop this out with a spoon)
  • Add in sliced onion and the curry leaves
  • Continue cooking for another ten minutes, until the fish is well cooked and aromatic. Pour in a dash of lime juice if wanted, serve with fresh rice or roti, and enjoy!

Kothu Roshi: Originally from Sri Lanka but now deeply embedded in the Maldives, this dish is a colorful mix of fried roti bread, vegetables, and seafood, all mixed together with tropical spices


  • 3 Cups of roti bread (shredded or cut into small pieces)
  • 1 can of white tuna (crumbled)
  • 2 carrots (peeled and cut into small pieces)
  • 1 Cup cabbage (shredded)
  • 1 white onion (diced or chopped)
  • 3 eggs (beaten)
  • 6 curry leaves
  • 3 pandan leaves
  • 1 Tsp of ginger (chopped)
  • 1 Tsp of garlic (chopped)
  • 1 Tsp of chili powder
  • 3 Tsp of chicken curry powder
  • 2 Tsp of tomato paste
  • 2 hot green chilis (seeded and chopped finely)
  • Salt to taste
  • 5 Tbsp of vegetable oil


  • In a large frying pan pour in the oil and wait until heated. Next mix in the ginger and garlic until aromatic
  • Add in the onion, carrot, cabbage, hot green chilis, pandan leaves, and curry leaves. Mix everything well until fully blended together
  • Next add in the tuna, tomato paste, chili powder, and curry powder slowly and stir continuously. Set this aside
  • In another frying pan, pour a little oil and heat it up. Once heated, add in the roti bread with the eggs and fry both together until half-way cooked
  • Add in the roti-egg mixture with the vegetable mixture and fry the entire mixture for another few minutes
  • Sprinkle in salt to taste, then serve hot and enjoy!

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