The Maldives, paradise on earth, the most beautiful place on the planet. Well it is in my opinion anyway! I’m extremely fortunate enough to have visited the Maldives several times and I hope to visit many more different islands. The Republic of Maldives is made up of a chain of 26 atolls spread over roughly 90,000 square kilometres. There are 1,192 coral islands in total and the island of Gan is the largest. It is the smallest Asian country in both land area and population. It is also the planet’s lowest country with a maximum and average natural ground level of 2.4 and 1.5 metres above sea level. The UN’s environmental panel has warned that, at current rates, sea level rise would be high enough to make the Maldives uninhabitable by 2100. The government has pledged to make it carbon-neutral by 2019.
The waters of the Maldives are home to 1100 species of fish, 5 species of sea turtles, 21 species of whales and dolphins, 187 species of corals, 400 species of molluscs as well as over 145 crab and 48 shrimp species.
Only 185 islands are home to its 300,000 inhabitants. The other islands are used entirely for economic purposes, of which tourism and agriculture are the most dominant.
On 26th December, 2004 the Maldives were devastated by a tsunami. Only 9 islands were reported to have escaped any flooding, 14 had to be entirely evacuated and 6 were destroyed. It left more than 100 people dead, 12,000 displaced, and property damage exceeding $400 million. The 2004 tsunami is the deadliest in recorded history.
In terms of Maldivian cuisine, the local staple is fish, usually combined with coconut and rice. Popular dishes include Mas Riha (traditional Maldivian tuna curry), Hanaakuri Beef Hiki Riha (roasted beef dry curry), Kukulhu Riha (chicken curry), Mashuni (smoked tuna with coconut served for breakfast) and Kavaabu (fish fritters). I decided to make Dhon Riha (tuna curry) which we had with steamed rice. It had a delicate and tasty flavour.
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
300g diced yellowfin tuna
¼ tbsp turmeric powder
1 inch finely grated ginger
1 tin coconut milk (don’t shake it!)
1 cup finely grated fresh coconut (either from a whole coconut or you can buy a small tub of coconut pieces which you can grate)
1 finely sliced onion
½ tbsp cinnamon powder
7 tsp mild or medium curry powder
2 pieces of raw mango skinned
½ red chilli pepper
Blend the turmeric powder, salt and grated coconut into a smooth paste
Carefully open your tin of coconut milk and separate the thick cream from the thin juice into different containers
Pour one cup of thick coconut milk and one cup of thin coconut milk into a small saucepan, keeping another cup of thick coconut milk aside
Mix together the cinnamon, ginger and onion in a bowl, then put half of this in the pan with the blended coconut milk
Bring this to boil on a low heat
In a separate bowl, mix the blended grated coconut with the rest of the cinnamon onion mix and stir in the diced tuna
When the coconut milk begins to boil, add the tuna mix, curry powder, chilli pepper, mango and salt
Stir while cooking over a low heat
When it begins to boil, add the other cup of thick coconut milk and let it cook for a few more minutes
Serve with steamed rice