Tuna Rice (Masbaiy)


Today I  am making a tuna rice or Masbaiy. This is a one-pot dish that Maldivians usually cook when they go on picnics. It is also a popular dish cooked for Friday lunch. It is generally served with Maldivian fish paste or thelli rihaakuru, but can be enjoyed on its own with a green salad.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes (plus 10 minutes standing time)
Serves 6



1 and 1/2 cups basmati rice
3 tablespoons oil
1 medium onion thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic crushed
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
5 cardamom pods, lightly bruised
1 x 3cm cinnamon stick
1 sprig curry leaves
2 x 6cm pandan leaf
2 chicken stock cubes
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 habanero chilli
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 tin (185g) tuna chunks in oil  drained
3 and 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Wash the rice in cold water, then leave to soak for 15 minutes. Drain thoroughly.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onion, garlic, ginger, cardamoms, cinnamon, curry leaves, pandan leaf and stock cubes. Fry until golden.
  3. Add the rice, turmeric and cumin powder and fry for another 2 – 3 minutes.
  4. Add the water,  salt, chilli and peppercorns and bring to a boil.
  5. Add the fish and stir well.
  6. Cover the pan with a tightly fitting lid and cook over a very low heat for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove the pan from the heat and  leave the rice covered and undisturbed for 10 minutes.
  8. Uncover and fluff up the rice gently with a fork and serve hot accompanied with the Maldivian fish paste or a green salad.

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