by Iyath Adam
From all the Maldivian snacks, perhaps the most well-loved is mas kaashi – a sweet and savoury mix of valhomas (smoked tuna) and kaashi (mature coconut).
It is made by cutting valhomas and kaashi – two of our staple foods – into small strips or pieces which is then eaten alternatively. The result is a mixture of saltiness from the fish and fresh nuttiness from the coconut meat which makes a hearty, truly Maldivian snack.
Mas kaashi is commonly eaten when people get together to talk, often enjoyed on fishing trips or at family gatherings. Over the years, it has also become a popular street snack, served at gaadiyaa or street food carts along with other snacks like majaa, meeru bileh etc…
Although traditionally, mas kaashi was eaten on its own, it can also be eaten with a variety of things including huiy anbu (unripe mangoes) – usually dipped in theluli rihaakuru (Maldivian fish paste) – onions and green chillies, salt and black pepper. Newer mas kaashi platters also feature the soup powder from Mamee noodles packets, which has a savoury, salty taste and goes great with both the kaashi and huiy anbu.
A famous modern variation of mas kaashi is coconut and smoked tuna with kadhuru (dried dates) and other Maldivian snacks like thelli banbukeyo (fried breadfruit chips), thelli ala (fried sweet taro chips) and kulhi kaajaa. For a full list of Maldivian snacks, check out our article here.
Recently, mas kaashi trays – similar to charcuterie boards – have begun to be made for purchasing with sour additions such as huiy anbu (unripe mangoes), lha falho (unripe papayas), kihah (immature coconut pieces), kunnaaru (Maldivian jujube), passionfruit, kiwis, lime slices – all of which are served with rihaakuru and soup powders as dips.
One thing is for sure; wherever or whenever, mas kaashi is definitely one delicious, Maldivian dish which can be made to suit your preference!