Faaga Riha Recipe: Traditional Maldivian Vegetarian Dish

Faaga Riha

Faaga Riha Recipe: Traditional Maldivian Vegetarian Dish
Region / culture: Maldives | Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 25 minutes | Servings: 4 | Vegetarian diet


Faaga Riha
Faaga Riha

Faaga Riha is a traditional Maldivian dish that features semi-dried tuna cooked with bitter gourd and a blend of aromatic spices. This flavorful and nutritious dish is a staple in Maldivian cuisine and is often enjoyed with steamed rice.


Faaga Riha has been a popular dish in the Maldives for generations. It is a simple yet delicious recipe that showcases the unique flavors of the region. The combination of semi-dried tuna, bitter gourd, and spices creates a dish that is both comforting and satisfying.


How to prepare

  1. In a pan, fry the onions, garlic, curry leaves, and rampe leaf until the onions are golden brown.
  2. Add in the bitter gourd, tuna, coconut, chilli powder, and seasoning.
  3. Braise the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the bitter gourd is crisp.


  • Add diced tomatoes for a touch of sweetness.
  • Substitute the semi-dried tuna with fresh tuna or another type of fish.
  • Include other vegetables such as bell peppers or green beans for added texture and flavor.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Be sure to clean the semi-dried tuna thoroughly before cooking to remove any excess salt.

- Adjust the amount of chilli powder to suit your taste preferences.

- Stir the mixture occasionally while braising to ensure even cooking.

Serving Suggestions

Serve Faaga Riha with steamed rice for a complete meal. You can also enjoy it with roti or naan bread.

Cooking Techniques

Braising is the main cooking technique used in this recipe. It involves cooking the ingredients slowly in a small amount of liquid to tenderize the meat and infuse the flavors.

Ingredient Substitutions

If you can't find bitter gourd, you can substitute it with zucchini or another type of squash. You can also use fresh tuna instead of semi-dried tuna.

Make Ahead Tips

You can prepare the ingredients for Faaga Riha ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook. This dish also reheats well, making it a great option for meal prep.

Presentation Ideas

Garnish Faaga Riha with fresh cilantro or parsley before serving for a pop of color. You can also serve it in a traditional Maldivian bowl for an authentic touch.

Pairing Recommendations

Faaga Riha pairs well with a side of coconut sambol or a fresh salad. A glass of chilled coconut water or a tropical fruit juice makes a refreshing beverage to accompany this dish.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftovers of Faaga Riha in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of Faaga Riha contains approximately 250 calories.


Faaga Riha is a low-carbohydrate dish, making it a great option for those following a low-carb diet.


Coconut oil is the main source of fat in this recipe. It adds a rich flavor to the dish and provides healthy fats.


Semi-dried tuna is a good source of protein, making Faaga Riha a satisfying and filling meal.

Vitamins and minerals

Bitter gourd is rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium. These nutrients help support overall health and well-being.


This recipe contains fish (tuna) and coconut, which may be allergens for some individuals.


Faaga Riha is a nutritious dish that is low in carbohydrates and rich in protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.


Faaga Riha is a flavorful and nutritious dish that highlights the unique flavors of Maldivian cuisine. With a blend of semi-dried tuna, bitter gourd, and aromatic spices, this dish is sure to become a favorite at your dinner table. Enjoy it with steamed rice or your favorite bread for a satisfying meal.

How did I get this recipe?

I vividly remember the moment I discovered this recipe for Faaga Riha. It was many years ago, when I was just a young girl living in a small village in the Maldives. My grandmother, who was known for her incredible cooking skills, had been preparing a feast for a special occasion. As I watched her move gracefully around the kitchen, I couldn't help but be in awe of her culinary talents.

I had always been fascinated by the way my grandmother could take simple ingredients and turn them into a mouthwatering meal. I would often spend hours in the kitchen with her, watching and learning as she worked her magic. On this particular day, as she was preparing the Faaga Riha, I knew I had to pay extra close attention.

The aroma of the spices filled the air as my grandmother expertly chopped onions, garlic, and ginger. She then added a blend of fragrant spices, including cumin, coriander, and turmeric, to the simmering pot. The rich, savory smell made my mouth water in anticipation of the delicious meal to come.

As she stirred the pot, my grandmother began to tell me the story behind the recipe. She explained that the Faaga Riha was a traditional Maldivian dish that had been passed down through generations of our family. The dish was made with tender chunks of fish, cooked in a thick and flavorful coconut curry sauce. It was a dish that brought people together, celebrating the bounty of the sea and the warmth of family.

My grandmother had learned the recipe from her own mother, who had learned it from her mother before her. It was a recipe that had been perfected over time, with each generation adding their own unique twist to make it truly special. My grandmother had made this dish countless times, always with love and care, and it had become a beloved family favorite.

As I watched her cook, I could see the passion and dedication she put into every step. She explained the importance of using fresh ingredients, of cooking with patience and attention to detail. She showed me how to taste and adjust the seasoning, how to know when the dish was perfectly balanced and ready to serve.

After hours of simmering, the Faaga Riha was finally done. The fish was tender and flaky, the curry sauce rich and creamy. My grandmother served it over a bed of steaming rice, garnished with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime. As I took my first bite, I was transported to a world of flavors and textures that danced on my taste buds.

From that day on, the Faaga Riha became a staple in our family gatherings. Whenever we had a special occasion to celebrate, my grandmother would whip up a batch of this delicious dish. It became a symbol of our family's love and connection, a reminder of our shared heritage and traditions.

Over the years, I have continued to make the Faaga Riha for my own family. I have added my own touch to the recipe, experimenting with different spices and techniques to make it my own. But no matter how many times I make it, the dish always brings me back to that moment in my grandmother's kitchen, watching her work her culinary magic.

As I sit here now, reflecting on the memories of that day, I am filled with gratitude for the rich culinary heritage that has been passed down to me. The Faaga Riha is more than just a dish – it is a connection to my past, a celebration of my family's traditions, and a reminder of the love and warmth that has always surrounded me. And for that, I am truly thankful.


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