Crispy Golden Tuna Balls or Gulha

How are you doing? Things are tough these days with the corona virus taking control of our lives. We have to make do with what we have. Cooking in the times of this virus has been tough, since we are not able to go out as freely as we would normally to search for ingredients. However, we have to be patient and strong, stay together,  be thankful for what we have  and keep on praying. Every day is a blessing!

One thing that keeps me calm is cooking and sharing. So I’ve been making a lot of Maldivian snacks to keep me occupied. These golden and crispy tuna filled balls are a favourite for tea time. It’s also perfect to make for Ramadan, when we make lots of snacks to break our fast. I have used wholemeal flour for this recipe, since that’s what I have at the moment. You can use plain white flour too but reduce the amount to 1 cup of flour and follow my roti recipe which you can find on the blog.

So go on make some and enjoy with your loved ones.







Prep time: 45 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Serves: 6-8 (entree or with other snacks)



  • 1/2 medium onion or 80grams onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 habanero chilli or to taste, thinly sliced
  • 1 sprig curry leaves thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoon or juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 2 tablespoon desiccated coconut or freshly grated coconut
  • 1 tin (185g) tuna chunks in oil, drained
  • 2 tablespoons smoked tuna, thinly sliced or finely shredded sun dried tuna (muguri mas) if available


  1. Place the onion, chilli, curry leaves, lemon  juice, turmeric and salt in a bowl.
  2. Combine using your hand (I use a disposable glove as the the chilli irritates my skin). Squeeze the mixture well with your fingers to soften the onions and to ensure the ingredients are blended well.
  3. Add the coconut and mix again.
  4. Add the tuna and mix well and combine everything together.
  5. Make 30 small balls by squeezing the excess liquid. It’s important to discard the excess juice and liquids  while making the fish balls, so as to hold the dough together while frying them.
  6. Keep aside on a plate.



  • 2 cups wholewheat flour or 290g (I used Pillsbury wholewheat flour) if using plain white flour follow my roti recipe
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons oil (olive oil or sunflower oil)
  • 2/3 cups tap water plus 2 tablespoons water or enough water to form a soft dough depending on the type of flour used


  1. Place the flour, salt and olive oil in a bowl, and give a stir with a spoon.
  2. Add the 2/3 cups tap water, and mix with the spoon until the mixture comes together.
  3. Knead with your hands for about 3-4 minutes until smooth, if the dough is a bit dry add the remaining 2 tablespoons water and knead again for about 5 more minutes. If needed add more water until soft and pliable.
  4. Make 30 small balls, but a little bit bigger than the fish balls.
  5. Arrange on a plate.

Now to assemble them :

  1. Take one dough ball in your hand, flatten it slightly and place one ball of the fish filling inside.  It’s  easier to make the balls if you slightly wet your hands.
  2. Fold and close the dough over the filling by firmly pressing and turning until it is smooth and round. Make sure there are no gaps or cracks in the dough. If there are cracks in the dough, oil will absorb inside while frying and the balls will burst open.
  3. Repeat with the remaining dough balls and fish filling. There might be a few left over dough, if so you can make some rotis with it.
  4. Arrange the fish balls on a single layer on a plate.


  1. Heat about 4 cups vegetable oil in a wok or fry pan.
  2. When the oil is very hot, gently drop about 6-8 fish balls in the oil. Then immediately lower the heat and fry them on a gentle low heat. Give it a stir from time to time.
  3. Make sure there’s  enough oil to fully cover the fish balls, to ensure even frying.
  4. Frying them on a low heat makes them crispy and golden.
  5. Fry the remaining fish balls in batches,  but in between raise the heat to high and when it’s hot, lower the heat again.
  6. Drain thoroughly on paper towels.
  7. Serve warm with a cup of chai or black tea.


If you make this recipe please share it on Instagram by tagging @nattulicious #nattulicious Please leave a comment too, if you like the recipe, I’d love to hear from you.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s