It’s unlikely that you’ll find a Maldivian local who doesn’t love rihaakuru, the Maldivian fish paste. It’s thick, and the colour varies from light brown to dark brown and locals will happily eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Rihaakuru is made by cooking fresh tuna in salted water while carefully removing the scum (locally called filleyo) that keeps forming on top. The fish is removed when it’s cooked, and it’ll be used for making smoked tuna (valhomas). Rihaakuru sometimes contains something called bondi. These are fish balls made from bits of tuna scraped off the fish bones.
The whole process takes hours, and it’s done when all the water evaporates leaving a salty paste of concentrated fish flavour.
Locals enjoy rihaakuru with both rice and roshi, the Maldivian flatbread. Huni roshi, a thicker version of the flatbread made with grated coconut, served with rihaakuru is a particular breakfast favourite. When served for breakfast this way the rihaakuru is usually fried with onions, green mangoes, chillies, curry leaves and pandan to make theluli rihaakuru, which literally means fried rihaakuru.
Rihaakuru is also mixed with coconut milk, onions, lime, chillies and curry leaves to prepare a lunch time favourite that’s served with rice called rihaakuru dhiya. There’s also a cooked version of it called rihaakuru garudhiya or kekki rihaakuru dhiya that skips the coconut milk.
Maldivians love the evening tea time and snacks prepared for this beloved part of the day include rihaakuru boakibaa, a spicy savoury cake made with ground rice and rihaakuru, and a savoury pancake called rihaakuru folhi made with rihaakuru and moringa leaves. There’s another spicy pancake kind of snack made with ground rice and rihaakuru called rihaakuru fathafolhi.
These are just a few ways Maldivian locals enjoy rihaakuru and there is plenty more to explore. So go browse our Rihaakuru Recipe collection.