Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day 104! Maldives - Mas Kavaabu (Curried Coconut Tuna) Up Next, Mali

Initially, I was really excited about this meal since it included tuna and a whole bunch of exotic-scented spices, ground into a pungent, (one of my many) weaknesses, coconut milk. But as I got into the recipe, I couldn't help feeling as though I was over-riding the wonderful flavor of the tuna with a thick gravy. Then, the coconut milk curdled, and that made what already looked like a nondescript stew look worse. But...the mission of this blog is to cook and eat as authentically close to the recipe and culture whose country I'm visiting. So, casting all aesthetic judgement aside, I focused on the flavor which was spicy, hot and full of garlic, cinnamon, cumin, cardamom and curry - not great the best looking meal I've ever made, but tasty nonetheless.

Located in the Indian Ocean, Maldives is an island nation formed by a chain of 26 atolls off India's Lakshadweep Islands between Mincoy and Chagos Archipelago. Maldives is actually the tops of a vast undersea mountain range that is spread over 90,000 square kilometers, making it the most dispersed country in the world. It's also the smallest of the Asian countries in both land mass and population. Lastly, Maldives is the lowest country on the planet and the lowest highest point in the world...check out the map and you'll see!

Food in Maldives ranges from mild to very hot, depending on how many chilies are used. It is influenced by both European and Asian traditions, and relies mainly on sea food and fish as it's source of protein. Tuna is the most commonly eaten fish in this country, being served boiled, grilled and smoked. Because the soil in Maldives is moist and the climate humid, huge varieties of tropical fruits such as bananas, pineapples, coconut, avocado, mangoes, oranges, lemons and limes are available. Curry, onions, chili, rice and roti are all serve as the seasonings and accompanies to most meals.

Mas Kavaaku (Curried Coconut Tuna) - Adapted from Wikia)

Boneless fresh tuna cut into medium sized pieces
1 Tbsp. grated coconut
Cream of half a coconut
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 Tbsp. coriander powder
1/2 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. anise seed
2 Onions, chopped
10 Curry leaves
2 Tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp. cumin seed
1 tsp. pepper
2 cardamom pods
1 1/4 piece of cinnamon stick
8 cloves garlic
2 1/2 in piece ginger
1/4 tsp. fenugreek seed
oil for frying
salt to taste

Take 1 Tbsp. coconut and fry in oil until it becomes golden brown in color, to this add curry leaves and a few slices of the onion and dry until golden.
Grind cinnamon, cardamom, garlic, ginger, cumin seed, aniseed, coriander powder, chili powder, turmeric powder and pepper into smooth paste.
Fry remainder of sliced onion until golden brown. Then add fenugreek seed, curry leaves and ground paste and fry again for a few minutes until it becomes dark brown in color. Add some of the coconut cream and cook until sauce becomes thick.
Add the rest of the coconut cream, tuna fish chunks, tomato, salt and simmer until cooked and gravy becomes thick.


Astrid said...

I've never been a big fan of tuna, but this gravy sounds interesting with all its spices, so perhaps I'll give it a try.

Karen said...

the flavors sounds fantastic ! I'd eat it for sure :)

sadie said...

Thanks, ya'll - the gravy was good, but it maybe I cooked it on too high a flame, hence the curdling -- I don't know!

SimplyMe said...

Good try.Interesting experiment.
Wiki isn't necessarily the best place for recipes. I could give you a better Maldivian Recipe.
Kudos for trying though.

sadie said...

Hi SimplyMe...I would LOVE some good recipes...I rely on the generosity of my readers to inform genuine recipes. I resort to wiki when all else fails, but if you wouldn't mind sharing a recipe or two, I'd be so grateful!!