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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tuna Mussamum

Its been a while since I have posted a recipe.  Had quite a week , we had our final presidential elections last saturday and our new president finally taken oath.  I have to say its kind of a big relief and hopefully our country will see better days.

So to mark the occasion I would like to introduce to you an old Maldivian recipe . I have to say even though I like changes and am all up for good developments around the country, I am saddened by the changes brought to the cuisine. I mean even though we might  become very modern and all that, I think its important to preserve the traditional recipes and their taste.
I have heard  of this curry many times but never tried it, even my own mother hardly makes it. So I was determined to find the original recipe. Unfortunately the people I asked around had the " modernised " recipe. Finally I decided to try a recipe I had in an old recipe book by local cook book writer the  Ms Zareena Ibrahim Didi ( unfortunately her books are no longer available in local book stores).  Even in her introduction she had said that she had conducted classes and has written these books ( Dhivehi Kaana 1 and 2) to preserve the fast disappearing traditional recipes of the country ).

Yes I have used canned coconut milk and reduced the amount of chillies but the taste is still Maldivian and a delicious curry you should try.

Recipe : Tuna Musaamum ( Kandumahu Musamaa) recipe from Dhivehi Kaana 1 by Ms. Zareena Ibrahim Didi

400g Tuna Fillets
4 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
4-5 dried chillies
6 -8 cardamon pods ( use just the seeds inside)
2" piece of cinnamon
1" ginger, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1/2 tsp tumeric powder
2 pandan leaves
8 curry leaves
big handful of Indian almonds or regular almonds ( sliced into slivers)
big handful of raisins
2 large onions, finely sliced
3 tbsp ghee
1/2 cup  canned coconut milk ( optional) / you can use water instead
2 tsp sugar

1. First prepare your tuna, cut the tuna into 2 inch  pieces . Holding your  cut cube of fish, run your know around the tuna so you are able to open it out like this :
 ( how ever , if its difficult you can make three cuts on the fish but not all the way through so you have 2 -3 pockets ( like a book). Set a side.

2.  Prepare the curry paste by  heating a clean dry frying pan over a medium heat , add  coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, dried chillies, ginger slices, garlic, cardamon seeds , peppercorns, cinnamon and heat through till they release their aroma. Dont let the spices burn.  Remove , cool a little and pour into a blender or a wet grinder along with 1/4 cup of water , tumeric and pinch of salt.  Grind to a fine paste.
Leave about 2 tablespoons of the spice paste in the blender and remove  the rest into a bowl.

3.  Add 3 tbsp of ghee into the frying pan and fry 1/2 of your sliced onions till its starts to turn golden. Add indian almond or almond slivers and raisins and fry till the raisins puff up. Remove onto kitchen paper to drain any excess ghee. Stir this into the curry paste in the bowl. Mix well.

4. Take your tuna cubes and roll it up or open up the cut pockets and spread the curry paste in it. Wrap it up with strips of  pandan leaf  or secure with a tooth pick. Set a side.

5. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large , preferably non stick pot, and saute' your remaining onions and left over pandan leaves and curry leaves, till the onions go soft and just starts to colour. Switch off heat.

6. Arrange your curry paste stuffed tuna pieces on top of the onions, making sure that the fish is in one single layer.

7. Add the coconut milk ( or water  if not using coconut milk) into the reserved curry paste left in the blender  along with 2 tbsp of water and pulse once.  Tip the contents into the pan containing the fish. Place it back on stove over a low heat with the lid on. Give the pan a shake every 5 minutes, and gently turn the fish using two spoons.  After 15- 20 minutes, taste the sauce and season with salt and sugar. Place the lid back on and give a shake or two and cook another 5 minutes. The sauce should be thick and quite dry, the fish slightly caramelised on the edges.

Serve with a plain cooked rice or a pilaf  with a salad. Or you can even serve it with flat bread.


  1. Looks very delicious.
    Wish your country will see better days as you say :)

  2. oh we heart massamun curry pastes and mixed with tuna it would taste delectable :-)

  3. Love my mom 's musamma... We call it "hedhi mas" in addu dialect... ususally made during Ramazan from addu havaadhu... its yummy...

  4. Very flavourful! I have never had tuna prepared this way...I am so tempted!


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