What’s a traditional Maldivian breakfast?

Guess what’s for breakfast in the Maldives? Fish, of course, and freshly grated coconut. Lots of it.

Watch Lathifa make a traditional Maldivian breakfast. Mas huni is a spicy mix of coconut and tuna and a staple at every meal. At breakfast it’s scooped up with freshly baked roshi, the Maldivian version of the Indian flatbread roti. It’s seriously yummy!

Making mas huni, Maldivian breakfast

Like most Maldivian women, Lathifa works full time. Her work as a health worker starts at 6:30 am. And like most Maldivian women, every morning she prepares the traditional Maldivian breakfast for the extended family. That means, unlike everybody else in her family, Lathifa stays up after the pre-dawn early morning prayer to knead dough, grate coconut  and slice onions. It’s what she’s always done and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Here is Lathifa’s recipe for a traditional Maldivian breakfast:

 

Mas Huni

Slice one red onion. Add thinly chopped curry leaves and one green chilli or more according to taste.

Traditional Maldivian Breakfast, Mas Huni

 

Add 1 can of tinned tuna, drained of oil. Lathifa preserves the oil for cooking other tuna based dishes. Using tuna in water will work just as well. Traditionally, freshly caught fish was used for mas huni.

Mix well using your right hand, until you have a creamy paste. It’s very important to do this part by hand. It won’t taste the same in a blender. Lathifa insists on this and I believe it!

 

Traditional Maldivian Breakfast, Mas Huni

 

There are many variations of this dish. Here Lathifa is adding finely chopped Maldivian cabbage. You can use kale instead. Adding boiled butternut pumpkin is another popular variation.

 

Traditional Maldivian Breakfast, Mas Huni

 

Mix with the grated coconut flesh, season with salt and pepper and finish with the juice of one lime.

 

Ingredients for Mas Huni

 

One red onion chopped finely into rings
A small handful diced curry leaves
1 small chilli diced
1 dash of salt
Juice of 1 lime
1tin canned tuna, drained of oil
1 cup freshly grated coconut

Every Maldivian housewife grows her own curry leaves and cabbage and other essential herbs and spices, no matter how small the outdoor space. Window sills, verandas, and most recently the footpaths and public areas of the suburb islands of Villingili and Hulhumalé, are crowded with these recycled yellow vegetable oil containers that serve as mini veggie patches.

Maldivian herbs

Lathifa’s recipe for Roshi

 

Making Roshi

 

Mix 250 gr of white flower with 2 ‘fair whacks’ of olive oil.  Like every experienced cook, Lathia does not provide measurements in her cooking demonstrations, just approximations. Add 1 tsp of salt. Mix well.

 

Making Roshi

 

Add boiling water until you have a firm dough.

 

Making Roshi

 

Knead well and divide into golf-ball sized portions. Watching Lathia do this at record speed is a real treat.

 

Roshi

Using a rolling pin, roll into thin disks.

 

Roshi

 

Fry in a shallow pan without oil.

 

Roshi

 

This is quite an art in itself. It takes several attempts before I get it right. Essentially you wait until the dough starts to bubble. Then you swiftly turn the bread over, pressing down with a spatula so that the bread does not expand into one large blister and turn once again until both sides are evenly toasted. The whole process is extremely fast and in less than 10 minutes we’ve made about two dozen roshi flatbreads, enough to feed the extended family.

 

Traditional Maldivian Breakfst

Ingredients FOR ROSHI

250 gr flower
1 tsp salt
2 reasonable whacks of olive oil (it’s the best I can describe it)
Boiling water

 

Making traditional Maldivian breakfast

 

It was fun making these with Lathifa, but I know I won’t be making roti every morning at 5:30 am, or at any other time for that matter. And I don’t have to because the roshi can be easily substituted with pre-packaged wraps or tortilla. It’s that easy and it’s truly delicious!

 

Have you ever made roshi or roti? Feel free to share your best tips!

Kerstin Pilz

Author at Travelpilz
I am Kerstin Pilz, PhD, recovering academic, travel blogger based in Mission Beach, Far North Queensland.

20 thoughts on “What’s a traditional Maldivian breakfast?

  1. Gitta

    Hi Kerstin,
    Thanks for sharing these recipes & another great story. Maldivian food could be a theme for our “midweek dinners”. You will be host & judge :) take care – we r missing u. Xxx

  2. Ibu

    Thank you for sharing, wonderful, i dont think i ll be giving up my sourdough and vegemite for breakfast but lovely to see , take care, we miss you lots and loveing your posts x

    1. Kerstin Pilz Post author

      Yes I’ve finally started to come around to vegemite after all those years in Australia! But the Maldivian breakfast is a great snack or a light lunch or dinner, and it’s paleo friendly!

  3. Laurie Trott

    Enjoyed reading your post, Kerstin. The food sounds delicious. Count me in for the cooking class! (We’ve finally had some rain!)

  4. Eva Machnitzke

    Thank you, for the wonderful/realistic photos. State of the Art Wir freuen uns auf weitere Stories. Eine schöme Zeit auf den Inseln:::

  5. Pingback: Taste Maldives, try Kulhi Mas Maldivian chilly tuna - TRAVELpilz

  6. Behan - s/v Totem

    We’re spending a couple of months in Maldives and I have fallen in love with the breakfast. Thank you for the easily understood recipe- I’ll be trying this in our galley very very soon!

    1. Kerstin Pilz Post author

      Thanks for the feedback Behan. Yes, I am also in love with this breakfast. My colleagues at work always smile at me when I bring my home made mas huni and have it for lunch. I am glad you found the recipe helpful!

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  8. Fathun

    Hi Kirsten, its nice that you liked our traditional breakfast. But tortilla and traditional roshi is way way different in terms of taste, texture and nutrition…

    1. Kerstin Pilz Post author

      Yes, I totally agree, but I’ve found some wraps that when warmed in a dry hot pan come quite close to the real thing! Yet, as often as I can, I try to make roshi, because it simply tastes better, for sure.

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