Mugu Bondibaiy is such a lovely Maldivian dessert that it’s actually a bit surprising that we don’t really see it being made too much these days. And if you are one of those people who think lentils don’t belong in desserts, we are here to tell you that it really does!
While researching this recipe, as usual, we did discover different ways of doing it. For example, the Mugu Bondibaiy recipe in Mohamed Amin’s Karuna Aai Nulaa Kekkun has ginger in it, while Zareena Ibrahim Didi’s version from her cookbook Dhivehi Kaanaa omits the ginger; she uses Kanamadhu (sea almonds) though, which Amin omits. Also, while Zareena’s recipe calls for the onions to be sautéed separately from the rest of the ingredients to be later mixed and cooked together, in Amin’s recipe, there’s no such precooking of the onions.
Many more discrepancies did we discover the more we talked to people about it. However, the most important thing about making Mugu Bondibaiy as we found out is getting the onions to sort of melt into the mixture, and you’ll find more details about that in our instructions. Using Raiy Mugu (red lentils) is also a must for this, and cooking them without making them too mushy contributes immensely to the texture.