In the Maldives, all meals are organized primarily around two preparations: fish and huni roshi, an unleavened bread made from coconut.
I am an absolute fan of fish but not at all fond of savory fruit-based preparations. While doing my research, I learned that in the Maldives, coconut and coconut milk are used in most dishes and desserts. I love coconut but I am not a big fan of the savory version.
This time, I have not picked one but two recipes, both coconut-based, simply because in the Maldives, one never go without the other. For the preparation of these two recipes, a “four-handed concert” was held in my kitchen. At the very moment I was preparing my ingredients, my mom’s younger sister, Rachel, showed up unexpectedly (I do not call her auntie, she hates it!). What a pleasant surprise and an honor! My mom has 4 sisters and Rachel is the most distinguished cook in the family. Always up for cooking, she immediately donned an apron.
We began by preparing the mas huni, a tuna-based recipe found at the table of every Maldivian breakfast. It is a quick and easy recipe to make, that can also be used as an appetizer.
For the preparation of huni roshi, we were not sure about obtaining a dough that would be light and easy to work with given the amount of coconut. However, we were very pleasantly surprised by its airiness. Huni roshi is served at every meal in the Maldive Islands. At first glance, it may look like a standard flatbread like Lebanese manaeesh or Greek lagana bread. However, huni roshi is completely different, both in taste and in texture.
Why is the word huni used in these two recipes? Simply because, in Dhivehi, the language spoken in the Maldives, huni means coconut or rather shredded coconut. Also, mas means fish and roshi means bread!
I finally overcame my apprehension of “savory fruit-based preparations”. I have to say it was a treat! I was actually not home when my men tasted my meal but I still had the privilege of receiving compliments via text messages!
- 16 oz canned solid white tuna in water , crumbled
- 5 oz smoked tuna
- 2 green hot peppers , seeded and chopped
- 2 onions , grated
- Juice of 2 large limes
- Zest of 1 lime
- 1 fresh coconut (ripe), grated or 3 oz. of dried shredded coconut (rehydrated with a little coconut milk)
- 3 oz coconut milk
- A few cilantro leaves
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 4 cups flour , sifted
- 2 cups shredded coconut
- ½ cup fresh coconut (ripe)
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 1½ cup warm water (about)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Flour (for the work surface)
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.
- 2 options:
- Serve in a bowl
- Serve in molds
- Mas huni should be served cold.
- In the food processor bowl, combine all the ingredients except water. Add water gradually until getting a light dough.
- Divide the dough into several balls. Flatten each ball in a circle of a thickness of about ⅕ inch.
- Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Bake each roshi for about 2 minutes on each side. Serve hot.