Discover Maldivian Cuisine: 3 Delicious Maldivian Recipes

Discover Maldivian Cuisine: 3 Delicious Maldivian Recipes

It was a conversation over lunch with Sama who helms the food and beverage department at the Kandima Maldives that gave me a great insight into Maldivian cuisine. He reminisced about his childhood when he and his friends would just dive into the ocean, pick a lobster and grill it on a makeshift grill on the beach. No seasoning or spices, just the fresh flavors of the lobster. It’s not just Sama’s generation, kids in Maldives do this even today. Fresh seafood is one of the key pillars of this cuisine that has influences from its South Asian neighbors like Sri Lanka.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Also Read:How To Make Maldivian Kiru Folhi

Like most other visitors to the Maldives, it’s the country’s appeal as a beach destination that has brought me back multiple times. I’ve snorkelled across the world but nothing quite beats the marine life and multiple shades of blue that you’re likely to find around the 1200-odd islands that make up the Maldives. Maldivian cuisine is another reason I keep coming back. I explored Male’s fish market during my first visit here and I’d recommend it to any culinary enthusiast who visits the country. Not all resorts do justice to the region’s rich culinary traditions. Kandima is one resort that does.

One of my most memorable dining experiences in the Maldives was a floating lunch in the comfort of my private pool at Kandima. Floating breakfasts or lunches probably originated in resorts in South East Asia and are now a common experience in many luxury resorts that boast villas with private pools. The Kandima experience stood out because it showcases Maldivian cuisine in a typical Maldivian setting.


floating breakfast

A day after my ‘floating’ lunch, I signed up for a culinary session with Chef Mariam, Kandima’s resident Maldivian culinary expert. I picked three of my favorite Maldivian dishes and we cooked them from scratch. Chef Mariam believes that Maldivian curries are the mainstay of the cuisine. Her favorite is the Mas Riha (Tuna curry) but I’m partial to the Kukulhu Riha (Chicken curry). There are also vegetarian options like Eggplant (Bashi) curry. Aside from seafood, coconut is a key ingredient in Maldivian cuisine, the chicken curry (see recipe) gets its unique flavor from the coconut milk as well as rampa leaves (or pandan leaves). You can try the three recipes of the dishes I tried including the subtly sweet coconut pudding.

Tuna Fried Rice

Recipe Courtesy – Kandima Maldives


Tuna Fried Rice (Picture credit: iStock/Kritchai Chaibangyang)


  • 150 g cooked basmati rice
  • 50g carrots
  • 30g beans
  • 30g tomato
  • 50g sliced ​​onions
  • 15g Maldivian chilli
  • 80 g tune
  • 15 g ginger garlic paste
  • 5 g curry leaves
  • 5 g pandan leaves
  • 10g tomato paste
  • 10g chilli & garlic sauce
  • 20ml chilli sauce
  • 10 g salt
  • 30ml vegetable oil


  1. Add oil to the pan and keep on medium heat, then add onion garlic paste, pandan and curry leaves.
  2. Add the remaining vegetables once the paste turns darker and cook till tender.
  3. Add the tuna and chilli sauce to the mixture while stirring.
  4. Add the rice and mix well.
  5. Serve with tuna, prawns or chicken curry.

Kukulhu Riha (Chicken Curry) Recipe

Recipe Courtesy – Kandima Maldives


chicken curry (Picture credit: iStock/SGAPhoto)


  • 500g chicken thigh
  • 80 g chopped onions
  • 10g cumin seeds
  • 10g fennel seeds
  • 80g tomatoes
  • 3 cardamoms
  • 5 g pandan leaves
  • 5g cinnamon
  • 5 g curry leaves
  • 10 g grated ginger
  • 4 pcs of garlic cloves
  • 10 g turmeric powder
  • 1pc Maldivian chilli
  • 50 g grated coconut
  • 20 g green mango
  • 125 ml coconut milk
  • 5ml lime
  • 150ml water
  • Salt to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onions and cook gently for 10 minutes. Then add the cardamoms and cloves.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli and curry leaves to the onions, and cook for a few minutes, while stirring.
  3. Add the chilli powder, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon sticks; stir for 2-3 minutes until the mixture becomes fragrant.
  4. Add the tomato purée and 1 teaspoon of salt, cook for a few minutes, then stir in 500ml water and the spice pouch. Bring to a simmer.
  5. Add the chicken, bring it back to the simmering point, cover and leave to simmer gently for 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally until the chicken is cooked and tender.
  6. Add the coconut milk; bring it back to a simmer. Season, sprinkle with coconut flakes and serve with rice or Maldivian flatbreads.

Kiru Boakiba (Coconut Pudding) Recipe

Recipe courtesy – Kandima Maldives


Coconut Pudding (Picture credit: iStock/jantroyka)


  • 150 ml coconut cream
  • 100ml milk
  • 50 g sugar
  • 2 g pandan leaves
  • 20 g corn flour
  • Roasted cashew nuts or Maldivian pine nuts for garnish


  1. Boil the coconut cream and milk.
  2. Mix sugar and pandan leaf into the mixture.
  3. Mix the corn flour with some milk and cook into a coconut cream mixture.
  4. Remove the leaf and pour it into small bowls or molds and sprinkle roasted nuts on top.
  5. Chill the dessert for 2-3 hours before serving.

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About Ashwin RajagopalanI am the proverbial slashie – a content architect, writer, speaker and cultural intelligence coach. School lunch boxes are usually the beginning of our culinary discoveries. That curiosity hasn’t waned. It’s only got stronger as I’ve explored culinary cultures, street food and fine dining restaurants across the world. I’ve discovered cultures and destinations through culinary motifs. I am equally passionate about writing on consumer tech and travel.


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