Spicy Maldivian Fish Cake with Couscous (Couscous Boakibaa)

Happy Ramadan. In the spirit of Ramadan I am sharing my fish cake recipe  with couscous. Traditionally Maldivian fish  cake or boakibaa is used with ground rice or nowadays using rice flour. However, for a change why not try with couscous, since couscous is readily available.  It’s the easiest fish cake to make, just mix everything in one bowl and pour onto a frypan and cook on the stovetop. If Maldivian smoked tuna is not available then leave it out.
It needs to be cooked on low heat and takes about 45 -50 minutes or so which is a  long time, but something’s can’t be hurried. The couscous makes the  fish cake  soft and delicious. So it’s worth the wait. Enjoy with a warm cup of tea.



Prep time: 20 minutes
time: 45 – 50 minutes
4 – 6

Ingredients :

  • 100g onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 habanero chilli sliced, or to taste
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoon desiccated coconut
  • 1 tin (185g) tuna chunks in oil, drained
  • 1/2 cup smoked Maldivian tuna, thinly sliced (if available )
  • 1/2 cup couscous (soaked in 1/2 cup hot water, left covered for 5 minutes, then fluffed up with a fork)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon oil for the pan or use an oil spray  to coat the pan


Keep a 20 or 24 cm non-stick fry pan ready.

  1. Place the onion, chilli, curry leaves, salt, turmeric powder in a bowl and pour in the lemon juice. Combine using your hand, (I use a disposable glove as the chilli irritates my skin.) Don’t be afraid to squeeze the onions with your fingers so as to crush everything together and  to ensure that the ingredients are soft and  blended well.
  2. Add the desiccated coconut and mix again.
  3. Add the tinned tuna and mix well, then combine together with the smoked tuna, if using.
  4. Add the couscous, pour in the water and mix thoroughly until everything is combined well.
  5. Put the oil in a non-stick fry pan (I used a 20cm pan) and coat the pan evenly, or spray a little bit of oil over the pan.
  6. Place the mixture on  the pan and spread it evenly and smooth it over by using your hand.
  7. On low heat on the stove top place the pan and cook for about 30 minutes or so or until the bottom side is golden brown and the top is starting to get dry.  You can put a lid too if you like. When you shake the pan a bit, if the cake becomes loose,  that’s your  indication that it is ready to be  flipped  over. Take the lid off if using and gently flip the cake over.
  8. Cook  uncovered until the bottom side is golden brown, usually another 25 minutes or so. Keep an eye on the cake and don’t cook over high heat.
  9. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, then slice into triangle or squares.
  10. Enjoy with a cup of tea.

If you make the recipe, please share it by tagging @nattulicious on Instagram . Please leave a comment too, I would love to hear from you.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Aminath says:

    For this will it be ok to use quinoa instead of couscous?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. nattulicious says:

      Hi Aminath, I haven’t tried with quinoa but I think it could work. So please let me know how you go, thank you, take care


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