Besides all of the fun and interesting people you meet, one of the most memorable aspects of traveling, for me, is the food (of course).
I’m talking about enjoying local cuisines and new foods that can broaden your horizons and give your taste buds something brand new to crave when you get home. I discovered a super simple breakfast dish during a recent holiday in the Maldives I couldn’t wait to make it when I got home.
Maldivian cuisine is an exotic blend of rich flavors and regional influences from neighboring countries like Sri Lanka and India. Dishes range from a mild spiciness to a delicate sweetness, often times straddling the two. Eat traditional Maldivian food and you’ll fall in love with complex curries and easy-to-eat coconut-oil fried finger foods.
Maldivian cuisine, also called Dhivehi cuisine, is largely based on three items: coconuts, fish, and starches. This tasty dish, called mas huni, incorporates all three for a truly authentic recipe that’s easily replicated just about anywhere.
I admit that tuna for breakfast didn’t sound appetizing at first. But I remembered how delicious smoked salmon can be in the a.m. hours, and I decided to give it a go.
The exact ingredients might be hard to find, but there are plenty of substitutes that work well. Fresh tuna fish is ideal, but even Maldivians are known to crack the can open to make things easier. Indian peppers are great, but ghost chili, Serrano, or even chili peppers work well, too. Can’t find fresh coconut? Buy the shredded stuff in the bag (unsweetened) and add a squirt of lime juice for extra moisture.
The chapati is the last important piece to your authentic Maldivian meal. Also known as roshi or roti, chapati is an unleavened flatbread originating from India. Chapatis are made with whole wheat flour, rolled, and cooked on a flat skillet.
You likely won’t find chapatis at your local supermarket, but you might have some luck at a specialty Indian grocer. Still no luck? Substitute another thin starchy product like tortillas or naan.
Traditional Maldivian Tuna Coconut Breakfast (Mas Huni)
- 1 cup freshly grated coconut
- 1 12-ounce can of tuna in water, drained
- 1 small red onion, minced
- 1 Indian pepper, minced (Serrano is a good substitute)
- Fresh chapati for serving (or other available wrap or bread)
- Transfer tuna to a medium-sized bowl and flake until pieces are tiny.
- Add coconut, pepper, onion to bowl and stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve with chapati.
Also read: Icelandic food: what to know before you go.