Traditional cafes in Male and in local islands are the perfect places to experience and taste the local food specialties called Hedhikaa.
Hedhikaa are “short-eats” or “snacks” and are extremely popular among the local population and the tourists visiting the country. Hedhikaa are not only found in local cafes (Hotaa) but are also present in every Maldivian home. Hedhikaa are cheap and served all day long but the best time to savour these snacks is after the afternoon prayer (Asr) at around 4pm when Hedhikaa are warm and freshly baked and paired with black tea or coffee.
It is also a prefect snack for tourists before dinner and after a long afternoon snorkeling, diving or simply bathing under the sun.
Here are some of the most common and delicious Hedhikaa you will find in every cafes:
SALTY SHORT EATS
Fish (Fresh, canned, dried or smoked) , coconut, onion, chili , Lime are some of the main ingredients used to prepare Hedhikaa.
If you do not like fish I am really sorry and I advise you to jump directly to the Sweet section (unless you don’t like coconut too 🙂 )
Gulha are small ball-shaped, bite sized dumplings stuffed with a mix of Tuna fish, onions , chilli and gratted coconut.
Gulha recipe here
Mas Roshi is a pan fry flattened version of the Gulha ( see above) and use the exact same ingredients . Traditional Mashroshi is made using smoked tuna and coconut dough. My favourite, great for anytime snack !
Masroshi recipe here
It is one of the only Hedhikaa that doesn’t have Tuna or Fish in It (perfect for vegetarian travellers or people who do not like fish ). It is a very basic mix of cabbage, boiled egg, onion and eventually a bit of chilli and curry leaves. It is deep fried until the dough is brown in color.
Biskeemiyaa recipe here
The fish version of Biskeemiyaa . Same cooking mode, just replace egg by smoked Tuna, and cabbage by green peas.
Keemiyaa recipe here
Biscutlets are similar to scotch eggs except that tuna and potato replace the usual sausage meat. Ingredients are the same than cutlets (see above) ; Just put an half boiled egg in the middle of the mixture of tuna, potatoes, onions, roll it in breadcrumbs and finally deep fry it.
These are delicious served hot or cold. Cutlets are also very famous in other neighboring countries such as Sri Lanka or India
Cutlets recipe here
Bajiya are a regular fixture on Maldivian tables. They are also known as Samosa or Sambusa in other countries. Maldivian Samosa use smoked tuna ( or boiled tuna ), onions , chili flakes, curry leaves . Bajiya are deep fired and served when golden brown.
Bajiya recipe here
Kulhiboakibaa (fish cake):
In the ancient time Kulhiboakibaa was made only for special occasions such as festival or religious celebrations. Nowadays Kulhiboakibaa is a common dish and can be found in many cafes . Kulhiboakibaa is a tasty baked (or pan fry fish) cake made of smoked tuna, scraped coconut, onions and ground rice.
Fried Mushimas (scads)
One of the most simple and amazingly tasty finger food in Maldives. Small or large scads ( Mushimas in Divehi ) mixed with chili powder and deep fried . Just use your fingers and eat it all (head and eyes included) !
Fried Mushimas recipe here
More salty Maldivians short eats :
Kavaabu ( fish fritters) – recipe
Curried rolls – recipe
Sausage rolls – recipe
Meeru Rihaakuru Folhi – recipe
Aluvi Boakibaa :
Dhandi aluvi Boakibaa is a delicious sweet cassava and coconut cake. Aluvi Boakibaa is loved by kids and adults alike
Aluvi Boakibaa recipe here
Huni Folhi are coconut pancakes. These are delicious served hot or cold.
Huni Folhi recipe here
Simple banana fritters mixed with coconut meat. Serve them hot with eventually vanilla ice cream scoop or whipped cream .
Dhonkeyo kahuru recipe here
GeKiru boakiba is a condensed milk cake ( Kiru boakiba means Milk Cake in Dihivehi. Perfect with a cup of black tea !
Gerikiru Boakiba recipe here
Gulab are one of the most famous deserts in South Asia. Originally from India they are spongy milky balls soaked in rose scented syrup. Just irresistible!