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Maldivian Recipes: Fuvahmulah Speciality, 'Kattelhi' Garudhiya (Fish Broth)

It is never a bad time to take a leap of faith and try your hand at a new dish, and for Ramadan this year, The Edition brings its readers the authentic, homegrown tastes of the Maldives, from decadent delights of the North to scrumptious savouries of the South

Nafaahath Ibrahim
03 June 2019, MVT 23:42
Malaafaiy Ep 4. Fuvahmulah Speciality, 'Kattelhi' Garudhiya (Fish Broth). VIDEO: HAWWA AMAANY ABDULLA / THE EDITION
Nafaahath Ibrahim
03 June 2019, MVT 23:42

During the first visit to Fuvahmulah, this writer had the good fortune of being introduced to Promethichthys Prometheus, locally named as 'Kattelhi'.

For those who are yet to visit Fuvahmulah, prepare your tastebuds for 'an unusual encounter' as the species is not only native to the region but also regarded a speciality - one widely considered an integral part of the Fuvahmulah experience.

You might even hear locals claim that if you are lucky enough to taste Kattelhi, you will most certainly return to Fuvahmulah.

Although hard to catch, locals are quite enthusiastic about the adventure that Kattelhi angling entails. The fish lurk at depths over 200 meters, and very particular techniques are used to make a catch.

Fishing for Kattelhi requires special techniques. PHOTO: HAWWA AMAANY ABDULLA / THE EDITION

Thanks to the wonderful team at Fuvahmulah Dive School, I was lucky enough to get some hands-on experience in Kattelhi fishing.

On our way back to shore, it was a curious sight to see the many locals that had lined up near the harbour to get their hands on this delicacy.

After our catch had been properly cleaned and gutted at the market area, we headed to make the Kattelhi-centric version of our beloved 'national' meal; a mild-flavoured clear fish soup known as Garudhiya.

Kattelhi caught by one of the boys from Fuvahmulah Dive School. PHOTO: HAWWA AMAANY ABDULLA

Ingredients:

Kattelhi

Water

Salt

Optional: Onion, chilli and curry leaves

Lime

Boiled taro (To serve)

Grated coconut (To serve)

Rice (To serve)

Method:

1. Take a large pot and fill with water

2. Add salt to the water and turn on the heat

3. When the water begins to steam, add the chopped and cleaned Kattelhi and continue to boil over a low flame

4. As the broth cooks, scoop out the Garu (scum) that rise to the surface

5. Keep on simmering on a low flame until there is no more spume

6. Add onions, curry leaves and chilli to the Garudhiya (broth) - This step, is advised, but optional and quantities are adjusted to tastes.

7. Continue to simmer for about 10 more minutes

8. Serve with rice and/or taro, with a small side of grated coconut. For the truly southern taste, do not skip the taro.

Freshly cooked Kattelhi Garudhiya. PHOTO: HAWWA AMAANY ABDULLA / THE EDITION

9. You are encouraged to squeeze some lime, mix in freshly cut onion, lime, chilli, add a dash of chutney, fried moringa leaves (thellifai) or any other desired condiments to compliment the flavour - I personally lean towards Lonumirus, a freshly ground mix of garlic, chillies and other spices that are used to add a wonderful zing to this subtle dish.

Enjoy this unique dish, and perhaps take a little tabletop trip down to the rich heritage of the absolutely equally remarkable island-atoll that it hails from.

(Ps. If you're truly Maldivian, you won't miss out on slurping the delicious soup leftover after the taro and/or rice has disappeared into your mouth. Not the most glamorous but hey, when in Rome!).

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