Sunday, April 10, 2022

Fuh gulha ( Tuna filled fried dough balls)

Gulha is big favorite among almost all Maldivians. I have some really sweet memories of this particular snack. Love making these for afternoon tea and for iftar ( the time we break the fast at sunset).
Anyway, there are two types of Gulha or three if you include the fihunu gulha or baked gulha. One is Fuhgulha, where the dough is made using plain flour, while Handoo gulha is made using ground rice and hence has a crispier coating.

To make gulha the dough is prepared using a regular flour dough although I added some coconut for some extra taste and having seen it done in some recipes.

For the filling, I prefer smoked tuna but sometimes although this time I used canned tuna. Canned tuna needs to be properly drained rather than dumping the can into the mixing bowl using a fork to scoop out the tuna so you avoid using the oil found in the tin. I am not a fan of canned tuna in my local snacks. But I discovered this technique by drying out the canned tuna before adding it to certain " hedhika " or local snacks, especially mas roshi, gulha and havaadhuleebis. I  add the drained can of tuna into a dry frying pan over medium heat and stir it around for 10 minutes or so. The fish will start to dry out.It is important to keep stirring continuously. Once its a bit dry, remove and use to make the filling.

The sliced onions are mixed with lime juice and salt and using the fingers its squeezed a bit so the onions go soft. Then add chillies, curry leaves, ginger, and turmeric. Then add tuna, and then add the coconut. Taste and adjust the taste.

divide into small balls

To make a Gulha, divide the dough into small balls, make a well in the center of the dough.

make a well in the centre

 Add a small spoon full of tuna mix into the well and carefully fold the open end of the well and tighten the dough by squeezing gently in the hand.

add filling

 Roll into a smooth ball and repeat with the rest.

close and tighten and smoothen out the ball

Once all the Gulha are done its time to fry. Pour oil into a saucepan to deep fry. Let it heat up. Then lower the heat to low and then add the Gulha in batches. Fry until the Gulha turns golden brown, it will take a few minutes as the flame is low but don't be tempted to bring the heat up. Keeping the heat low gives you a crispier Gulha. Drain on kitchen paper and serve.


Fuh gulha ( tuna filled fried dough)

prep time: 40 mins cook time: 30 mins total time: 70 mins


  • 1 can tuna ( oil or brine drained well) or 1 fillet smoked tuna 
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 scotch bonnet, thinly sliced 
  • 10 curry leaves, finely sliced
  • 1/2 ginger, grated
  • 1 lime
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 cup coconut, grated
  • salt
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 2-3 tbsp grated coconut( optional)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • water
Oil for deep frying


How to cook Fuh gulha ( tuna filled fried dough)

  1. Place the onions in a bowl. Add salt, and lime juice and using the fingers squash the onions till they soften and release the juice. 
  2. Add scotch bonnet pepper, curry leaves and ginger and mix it well.
  3. If using canned tuna, drain all liquid in the can, use a strainer to make sure you have drained the liquid in the can. 
  4. Once the tuna is well-drained, flake it into the onion mixer. Mix well.  Finally, add the coconut. Taste and adjust salt.  Set aside till you make the filling. ( I prefer to dry the canned tuna a little by placing in a dry frying pan and stir frying it constantly over a medium heat until it starts to dry out and you get a distinctive smoke tuna smell.)
  1. To make the pastry, sift flour into a bowl . Stir in salt and add coconut if using.
  2. Make a well in centre, add  oil and then add warm water.  
  3. Bring the flour in together till the mixture starts to form a dough, then using the hands knead it to a nice smooth ball. Divide the ball  into small balls. 
  4. Take each  dough  and make  well in each dough ball. 
Shaping and frying the gulha
  1. Place a small handful of filling into the well in the dough ball and carefully seal it by bringing the open ends together. Press it tightly in your palm and shape into a ball. ( see photos above)
  2. Heat oil for deep frying. Once the oil is hot, reduce the heat to low. Carefully add the gulha  and fry in batches, till golden. Drain on kitchen paper. 


Do not be tempted to fry the dough balls on high heat, if you want crispy gulha a low flame is the best way to achieve this.
Created using The Recipes Generator

1 comment:

  1. I am not surprised that this is a favourite snack of Maldivians. I love it too.


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