Maldives cuisine is characterized by its use of coconuts, fish and starches. As a result of cultural overlays Maldives has picked up on various culinary features from across the world especially India and Sri Lanka. Fish and rice are the staple foods of Maldives with meat and chicken eaten only on special occasions. National dishes include fried fish, fish curry, and fish soup. Curries are usually eaten with steamed rice or with roshi. A number of vegetarian options are also available, curry using eggplant, pumpkin, and unripe banana function as the main ingredients. Arecanut is used as an after dinner mint.

The recorded history of the Maldivian gastronomy goes back centuries. Ibn Battuta, the famous traveller, wrote about the use and importance of the coconut tree to people and tradition of Maldives in his work The Rehla of Ibn Battuta – India, Maldive Islands and Ceylon, during this travel in the area in the 14th century. To read the text click here:

Desserts like Banbukeyo Bondibai, Dhonkeyo Kajuru are also very popular in the Maldives.
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Maldivian dishes have been enjoyed by Maldivians and visitors over centuries. Maldivian food provides a healthy and delicious option for the palate. To learn how to cook Maldivian food please click here:


Rice and Fish

Rice and fish are the foundation of the diet; a day without a meal with rice is nearly inconceivable. Fish, meats, poultry, and vegetables are cooked in spicy curry (torkari) sauces that incorporate cumin, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, garlic, and other spices. Muslims do not consume pork and Hindus do not consume beef. Increasingly common is the preparation of ruti, a whole wheat circular flatbread, in the morning, which is eaten with curries from the night before. Also important to the diet is dal, a thin soup based on ground lentils, chickpeas, or other legumes that is poured over rice. A sweet homemade yogurt commonly finishes a meal. A typical meal consists of a large bowl of rice to which is added small portions of fish and vegetable curries. Breakfast is the meal that varies the most, being rice or bread-based. A favorite breakfast dish is panthabhat, leftover cold rice in water or milk mixed with gur (date palm sugar). Food is eaten with the right hand by mixing the curry into the rice and then gathering portions with the fingertips. In city restaurant that cater to foreigners, people may use silverware.

Three meals are consumed daily. Water is the most common beverage. Before the meal, the right hand is washed with water above the eating bowl. With the clean knuckles of the right hand the interior of the bowl is rubbed, the water is discarded, and the bowl is filled with food. After the meal, one washes the right hand aging, holding it over the emptied bowl.

Snacks include fruits such as banana, mango, and jackfruit, as well as puffed rice and small fried food items. For many men, especially in urbanized regions and bazaars, no day is complete without a cup of sweet tea with milk at a small yea stall, sometimes accompanied by confections.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions
At wedding and on important holidays, food plays an important role. At holiday or formal functions, guests, are encouraged to eat to their capacity. At weddings, a common food is biryani, a rice dish with lamb or beef and a blend of spices, particularly saffron. On special occasions, the rice used is one of the finer, thinner-grained types. If biryani is not eaten, a complete multicourse meal is served: foods are brought out sequentially and added to one’s rice bowl after the previous course is finished. A complete dinner may include chicken, fish vegetable, goat, or beef curries and dal. The final bit of rice is finished with yogurt (do).

On other important occasions, such as the Eid holidays, a goat or cow is slaughtered on the premises and curries are prepared form the fresh meat. Some of the meat is given to relatives and to the poor.

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