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
Taro, more locally known as 'Ala', has earned a beloved role in traditional Maldivian cuisine. However, for most Southerner's it forms an intrinsic of one's daily diet, whether hailing from Laamu, Huvadhoo, Fuvahmulah or Addu Atoll, where beautiful, vast Taro fields are plentiful and a point of distinct pride.
While there are many different ways people prepare this locally grown starch, this time we bring it prepared in four different ways from the South, each packing both a punch of nostalgic, delicious flavor.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Thinly sliced ala
1. Heat a generous amount of oil in a pan
2. Once the oil is hot, dip the slices in gently
3. Fry well and remove
Once cooled, this makes for a delicious snack you can enjoy over a of cup tea!
Preparation time: 25-30 minutes
Cooking time: 30-45 minutes
3 Garlic Cloves
Rihaakuru (fish paste)
1. Grind some ala into a paste and keep aside
2. Combine sliced onion, chopped ginger, curry leaves and chilli
3. Mix everything together well
4. Add chopped dried fish and knead the mixture
5. Add some tuna, finely diced
6. Add a few spoons of Rihaakuru (fish paste)
7. Keep kneading the mixture
8. Add grated coconut and mix again
9. Take the pre-set ala paste
10. Add the ala and mix it all well
11. Take some banana tree leaves, cleaned and arrange the paste on the leaf in a round shape, with the desired thickness
12. Place the leaf on a frying pan
13. Cover with more leaves
14. Slow cook over a small flame
15. Keep flipping the ‘boakibaa’ until both sides are well done.
Enjoy the bursting flavours while the 'boakibaa' is still a little warm.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
2. Garudhiya (fish soup)
3. Grated coconut
1. Grab some ala, clean and steam until soft
2. Serve with Garudhiya (fish soup) and some grated coconut
3. You can also add some chilli and other condiments to compliment the taste
Preparation time: 15-20 minutes
Cooking time: 40-45 minutes
1 can condensed milk
Sugar 1/2 cup cornflour
1. Boil grated taro in water
2. Once soft, sieve the taro out from the water
3. Puree in a blender until it forms a thick paste
4. Pour the paste into the pan
5. Add condensed milk
6. Slow cook on mild heat while stirring
7. Add sugar to taste
8. Dissolve cornflour in water
9. Add to the paste
10. Keep on slowly stirring it together
11. Add some vanilla extract
12. Cook until mixture thickens, while stirring
13. Plate and garnish with chopped sea almond sprinkled on top
Serve warm and enjoy!
For anyone planning a trip to the South, an authentic preparation of one of the above at the very least is a must do on the foodie bucket list. If you're from the South and reading this, make sure to let us know what your favourite 'Ala' dish is!