Every now and then, we come across a well-loved dish and wonder why we no longer make it. Ramadan being just round the corner, and being the month when we are most active in the kitchen, we got to talking about some old, old favorites.
Baiypen with Maskurolhi
Baiypen is often made for the sick, by boiling soaked and dried ground rice, runny or thick. It was common to add a pinch of bileh huni, to make the broth aromatic, with a lovely color. A bit of bicarbonate of soda gives it a similar effect.
But baiypen with maskurolhi, now that’s a whole different, exciting, and spicy story. I can still remember the clanging of the pestle as the maskurolhi was coarsely ground in the mortar. The magic mixture consisted of dried fish, coconut, onion, garlic, sour mango, curry leaves, githeyomirus (fiery scotch bonnet), pepper corns and salt. The kurolhi has now been replaced with fresh coconut for a better taste. Maskurolhi also goes well with rice and dhal or any mild vegetable curry.
Fenfolhi and Valhoamas Hikiriha
A firm favorite, and so easy to make, fenfolhi is simply a mixture of flour, water, egg and pinch of salt, just thick enough to be poured onto a thavaa and either rolled up or flipped. This understated folhi is perfect with valhoamas hikiriha, made from coarsely crumbled up smoked tuna. Brown onion and garlic with grated ginger, add hanaakuri havaadhu, followed by some tamarind paste and githeyomirus. After stirring in the fish and letting the flavors seep in, add some coconut cream (boakiru) and once it starts to simmer, remove from heat. And it’s done.
Masfathafolhi and kulhiboakibaa are made with basically the same ingredients, but it is more common to use some breadfruit in masfathafolhi.
The overnight-soaked rice is mixed with grated coconut, and ground. This used to be done using a manual muguraa dhathi or mincer, so it was a bit of an occasion with even the children wanting to have a go at it.
Thinly sliced ginger, onion, curry leaves, chillies, lime juice and grated coconut are vigorously mixed, to which smoked tuna and boiled breadfruit is added, and so is the ground rice. Masfathafolhi is baked by placing mounds of the mixture on banana leaf in a shallow tray or saucepan, and grilled on top and bottom.
The trick with thoraa satani is to use only young tender thoraa, and to peel and slice it thinly.
As with most Dhivehi satani, mix sliced onion, chilli, salt and lime juice. Add a bit of valhoamas and after combining them well, add the coconut cream and then the thoraa. Being a mild and refreshing satani, this is perfect with spicy and strong curries.
This is one type of roshi I haven’t had in decades. Made with flour, coconut milk and salt, the roshi is rolled out thin, baked, and either dunked in, or brushed with, coconut cream. This makes for an unbelievably soft and tasty roshi, more so if the cream is flavored by mixing sliced onion.
Originally made using finely ground rice paste, kiru keyo is now more commonly made with the convenient corn flour. After boiling the finely cubed green maalhos keyo, it is drained well. The rice paste is dissolved in coconut milk, and boiled with sugar, cardamom and rampe leaf. The maalhes keyo is added along with coconut cream and jasmine water and heated till it simmers. Best enjoyed cooled or chilled.
Food and Friends
The savoury dishes were detailed by my good friend Fathimath Shiyama, and the dessert by another close friend Nadira Ageel, both of whom have reputations among us for sinfully good food. My conversations with Shiyama and Nadira turned out to be learning experiences too, realizing how simple to make some of our favorites are. Not only that, these dishes are a far cry from fried this and layered that. They are in fact the ideal way to ease yourself into food after a day of fasting. Now if only I can find my kitchen!
Words by Fasah Ahmed