The Delectable Tuna

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Tuna, an all-time favourite dish, is a staple for the Maldivians.

The crystal-clear waters surrounding The Republic of Maldives are rich in tuna.

The Yellow-fin tuna, in particular, serves as a staple diet for the Maldivians.

Annually, a large amount of Yellow-fin tuna fishes exported to various countries. A good amount of income generated through exporting tuna fishes. Both Japan and the United States are heavy consumers of the Yellow-fin tuna.

The Yellow-fin tuna had its name derived from the bright yellow colour of its second dorsal and anal fin. Its pectoral fins are long and its back is a dark metallic blue. This particular specie also has 20 beautiful horizontal lines on its silver coloured belly. A swift swimmer too, the Yellow-fin tuna is able to cover long distances in hours.

Food, this specie feeds on other tiny fishes, crustaceans, squids, and cuttlefish.

The Yellow-fin tuna is a rich source of protein, and served in most restaurants around the world. Its flesh is dark red in colour, similar to that of red meat. Taste, is exceptionally fresh, which makes it tasty, regardless of how it is being prepared.

Methods of Preparing Tuna the Maldivian Way

There is no specific method on preparing Maldivian tuna meals. Each meal prepared varies from atoll to atoll. Here are a couple of popular Maldivian tuna recipes for you to prepare this exquisite fish. With courtesy: Glenryck

Tuna Cakes

Wonderful sweet and spicy tuna fish patties. Serve with rice or salad and chutneys. Makes 8 patties.


2 X 200g tins of tuna in brine, drained well

300g (10.5 oz) potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

300g (10.5 oz) sweet potatoes peeled and cut into large chunks

1 tsp vegetable oil

8 spring onions, finely chopped

2.5cm (1”) fresh ginger peeled and finely chopped or grated

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 green chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped

1 tbsp Garam Masala

Handful coriander, roughly chopped

100g (4oz) frozen peas, defrosted

Seasoned flour and sunflower oil for frying

For the coconut, lime rice

300g (10.5 oz) basmati rice

2 rounded tbsp fine desiccated coconut

Zest and juice of 1 lime

Method of Preparation

  1. Pre heat the oven to 180C, gas 4, and fan oven 170C. Prepare the onions, plunge into boiling, salted water, and cook for 10 minutes until slightly softened but still crunchy. Drain, cool, and cut in half across the middle. Pull out the centers (and reserve) to make 8 cps with about two layers of onion left. Place cut side up in a gratin dish.
  1. Mix the capers, chilli, oregano, garlic, and tuna. In a separate bowl, add the milk to the breadcrumbs.
  1. Chop the inner parts of the onion finely. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil and sauté until golden. Squeeze out any excess milk from the breadcrumbs, and add these to the pan and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the tuna mix, sauté for 1 minute more stirring everything together well. Season and divide the mix between the onion cups.
  1. Add a couple of tablespoons of water to the gratin dish to prevent sticking. Spoon the dried breadcrumbs over the onions, drizzle with remaining oil and bake for 25 minutes until the top is golden. Serve with salad.

Tropical Tuna Salad

A delicious and nutritious salad packed with lots of lively flavours; tuna, avocado, mango and sweet romaine lettuce with a zingy dressing of spicy ginger, citrus fruit and coriander. Serves 4.


2 x 200g tins tuna in brine, drained

1 large avocado, peeled and cubed

1 medium mango, cubed

Large handful of coriander, (or 2 x 20g supermarket packs), roughly chopped

1 head sweet romaine or cos lettuce, leaves washed and torn

For the dressing;

2 cm (1”) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated or minced

1/2 mild chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped (optional)

4 tbsp (60 ml) lime juice (about 2 limes)

Juice of 1 satsuma

2 tsp runny honey

6 tbsp (90 ml) fruity olive oil

Method of Preparation

  1. Mix the ingredients for the dressing in a screw top jar, shake well, and taste for a good balance of flavours, spicy, sweet, and tangy.
  2. In a large bowl, add the tuna chunks, mango, avocado, and coriander. Add most of the dressing and mix carefully so as not to break up the avocado too much. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper adding a squeeze more lime to taste.
  3. In a separate bowl toss the remaining dressing with the lettuce, season, and spoon into bowls topped with the tuna mix.

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