Authentic Addu Flavours

The Indulgent Flavours of the South

menus from the south

Maldivian cuisine has a blend of South Indian, Arabian, and Sri Lankan influences, and features a variety of seafood as well as coconut and chilli peppers as key ingredients. The cultural influence is reflected deeply in the type of food that comes from the southernmost city of the country, Addu.
Locals from Addu enjoy several food items that originate from the south including Addu Bondi, Addu Havaadhu and such. But a distinctively great meal from Addu that we think is worth trying is Addu Reha Curry and Theleli Folhi. Combined this brings out the perfect burst of flavours and is a culinary experience that should not be missed.


 Addu has a wide selection of authentic dishes all made using fresh ingredients. They have an extensive menu from coconut based curry, to sweet and savoury delicacies. One specific Addu speciality is Addu Havaadhu (curry mix) which is unique to the island and famous across the Maldives. It’s an easy to use, extremely delicious spice mix used to make tuna or chicken curry and best enjoyed with soft thin pita bread or rice. Another must try is the Addu bondi, a sweet snack made using young coconut flesh.

There are many more dishes and snacks you can try in Addu which are worth a taste, at least once. One food experience you have to try in Addu is enjoying a king coconut at a Gaadiya (local mobile food and drink stall). The Gaadiyas also offer many sweet and savoury snacks you can try from.


culinary experiences from the south

Let us give you an insight into how these dishes are made and come together to make the perfect meal.

Photo: thymebistro

Addu Reha


Tuna  (cut and cleaned, raw fish)

1 onion  

2 garlic cloves 

2 tsp olive oil  

Curry leaves  

Pandan leaf  

3 cardamom pods  

3 cloves  

Small cinnamon stick  

2 tbsp Addu havaadhu (Addu curry paste blend)

1 cup coconut milk


How to make it: 

Addu Reha is a rich and aromatic southern-style curry that is the perfect accompaniment to rice, different types of breads. To make Addu Reha, start by skinning, gutting, and cleaning some tuna and dicing it into small cubes. Finely slice a large onion and a couple of large garlic cloves and fry them in coconut (or olive) oil with some curry leaves, raan’baa ( pandan) leaves, cardamom pods, cloves, and a cinnamon stick until the onions are fragrant and golden brown.


Set aside half of the onion mixture and add some Addu havaadhu to the remaining mixture, frying for an additional 2 minutes. Thin out the mixture with a bit of water, add the tuna, and cook until the fish is done to your preferred doneness. Then add some coconut milk and cook until the mixture thickens. Garnish with the reserved fried onion mixture on top.

Theleli Folhi


1 tsp yeast  

warm water as needed

500g flour  

2 tsp baking powder

5 tbsp sugar 

2 tsp milk 

Salt to taste 

2 eggs 


1 tbsp margarine


How to make it: 

Theleli Folhi is a type of fried bread that is a great accompaniment to the Addu Reha curry. 


To make it, proof some yeast with warm water (add a sprinkle of sugar or a few drops of natural honey to feed the yeast) in a large mixing bowl and let it sit until the yeast forms a creamy foam layer on top. Add in flour, baking powder, sugar, milk, and a pinch of salt and mix thoroughly. Add in more water as necessary until the dough forms a firm, kneadable consistency. Add the eggs and oil and knead well. Finally, add some margarine (or butter, if you prefer) and give the dough a final thorough mix. 


Cover the bowl and set it aside in a warm place to let the dough rise for about half an hour. Punch the dough down, and divide the dough into 20-25 even balls, cover them, and let them rise for another half an hour.


On a floured surface, roll out the balls into small, round flatbreads. Heat some vegetable oil in a deep fryer to 175°C and gently slide the flatbreads into the hot oil. Fry until they are golden brown on both sides, turning once, for about 2-3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and serve the bread warm with the curry.



These two dishes combined makes quite the meal and is enjoyed by Adduans for lunch, dinner and sometimes even a hearty breakfast. It is best enjoyed eaten by hand, accompanied with a hot cup of black tea with some jasmine-infused sugar.


We hope you try these recipes and that they give you a little taste of Addu’s wholesome home cooking scene. Or, if you don’t want to cook it yourself, why not visit the Southern heart of the Maldives, Addu, to try these and even more dishes. Bon appétit or as we say in Addu dialect, “Meerikoh Kaagan”!

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