5 island-inspired dishes from Chef Sobah

Siobháin Spear
May 6, 2020

One of the Maldives’ most acclaimed chefs, Abdulla Sobah shares his island recipes that you can recreate while at home.

As summer eases its way into the region, it’s likely that we’ll be searching for even more at-home activities to escape the rising heat and humidity while we acclimatize to what our future travels may look like.

To assist with your travel-from-home adventures, we asked Soneva Fushi‘s Chef Sobah to share his delicious island recipes that are guaranteed to fill your home with tropical aromas and Maldivian flavours. At the fine-dining restaurant on the remote Mendhoo island, Chef Sobah typically serves up authentic Maldivian dishes with contemporary twists on the traditional cooking methods, and now he is sharing simplified recipes that will transport your senses to far-away places. Your culinary journey awaits…

Spicy Maldivian vegetable and coconut soup

Oozing exotic flavours, Sobah’s spicy Maldivian vegetable and coconut soup is the perfect starter for your island-inspired dinner.


  • 1 tablespoon of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons carrots (finely chopped)
  • 60g leeks (finely chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock
  • 50g coconut milk powder
  • 15g lettuce (julienned)
  • Salt and pepper (amount to your taste)

Cooking method:

  • Heat the pan over medium high heat with coconut oil
  • Add the garlic, onion, carrots, and leeks, and cook for a few minutes until onions are translucent
  • Add the vegetable stock and salt and pepper
  • Add the coconut milk powder
  • Add the lettuce just before serving to prevent discoloring

Maldivian-style fish curry

A fish curry in a pottery bowl balancing on white trees in the Maldives

This mouth-watering Maldivian dish is an easy win for even the most unadventurous kitchen dwellers.


  • 350g white fish (diced)
  • 50g onion (finely chopped)
  • 2-3 green chili (cut lengthwise)
  • 2 curry leaves (finely chopped)
  • 6 – 8 Pandan leaves (cut lengthwise)
  • 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 1 inch of ginger (crushed)
  • 50g Maldivian curry paste
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk powder (mixed in 1 cup of water)
  • 1½ teaspoons of salt

Cooking method:

  • Add coconut oil to a hot pan and add onion, garlic, ginger, curry leaves, pandan leaves, and sauté until golden brown
  • Add Maldivian curry paste to a little water and stir well
  • Add the fish and cook for 5 minutes
  • Add the coconut milk and stir well
  • Serve hot

Maldivian Cabbage Salad

Artistically presented cabbage salad balancing on a tree in the Maldives

Healthy and flavourful, Fayi Satani — a Maldivian cabbage salad — is a light addition to any dinner table. Just prep and serve with your curry and rice.


  • 50g onion (finely chopped)
  • 150g  fresh coconut (grated)
  • 250g Maldivian cabbage leaf (sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice
  • 1 Maldivian chili (cut lengthwise)
  • 1 dry red chili (finely chopped)
  • 1 curry leaf (finely chopped)
  • Salt (amount to your taste)

The cooking method for this salad could not be easier. All you need to do is combine the ingredients together and toss them before serving.

Maldivian pine-nut fried rice

Pine nut fried rice on a blue plate artistically photographeed over the ocean

Swap your plain rice for an exotic twist. Chef Sobah’s pine-nut fried rice will add a new dimension of flavour to your curry dishes


  • 2 cups of rice (cooked)
  • 1 onion (thinly sliced)
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 2 curry leaves (finely chopped)
  • 2 Pandan leaves (finely chopped)
  • 1 dry red chili (finely chopped)
  • 100g coconut (grated)
  • 200g pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 4 teaspoons of salt

Cooking method:

  • Heat the oil and sauté the onion, garlic, curry leaves, pandan leaves, red chili, and pine nuts until golden brown
  • Add the coconut followed by the turmeric
  • Add the cooked rice and the pine nut mixture
  • Cover and cook for 5 minutes
  • Serve hot

Maldivian Crèpes

Crepes artfully presented on a blue plate and resting on a tropical tree in the Maldives

Maldivian crèpes, known on the islands as Folhi, are the sweet treats that locals love. Whether you want an evening snack or a sweet breakfast, these easy-to-make crèpes are an ideal dish that you can whip-up in minutes.


  • 380ml condensed milk
  • 6 eggs
  • 5ml vanilla

Cooking method:

  • Beat all ingredients together
  • Heat the pan on medium heat
  • Pour enough batter to cover the bottom of the pan and cook on low heat for approximately 2 minutes
  • Roll the cooked crèpes and serve

Feeling inspired to escape the city after enjoying these culinary adventures? Discover island-inspired getaways in the UAE for experiences that don’t involve boarding a plane.