How to make Mas HuniThe Maldivian Tuna Coconut Breakfast
This tuna, coconut, and onion dish is a breakfast staple in the Maldives, and it just might make you change your mind about fish for breakfast! You can easily make a vegetarian & vegan version, as well!
In February 2022, BJ and I scouted out some affordable vacation options in the Maldives for our guests. We found that this atoll nation set in the Indian Ocean lives up to the hype but it doesn’t need to break the bank if you opt to stay on a local island versus a resort. In the meantime, though, you can bring a piece of the Maldives to you.
Hear me out: tuna coconut salad for breakfast.
Still with me? It’s delicious any time of day (although finding it after 10 AM was nigh impossible on the islands). In a country that is more 99% ocean, there’s not much land for livestock or agriculture, so tuna traditionally played a big part in almost all meals.
You can also serve it with eggs for a protein-rich breakfast, if that makes it fall within your comfort zone! These were the delicious breakfasts we were served on Ukulhas island.
Basic Mas Huni Recipe
In a nutshell, mas huni is equal parts tuna and grated fresh coconut and a generous helping of finely chopped onions (depending on how much you like onions, of course). Lime juice to your liking is always a great way to brighten up any tuna dish. The real trick is the fineness of all of the ingredients, which you can in the photos on this page.
I drained canned tuna and chopped it up super fine on a cutting board. Then, I took fresh coconut pieces and used a fine grater/zester like this to get the coconut to the appropriate size (using a box grater made the pieces too large). You’ll have to shred the coconut fresh—don’t use dried shredded coconut for this one. If you have a food processor, that may get the job done!
This was my first attempt at homemade mas huni (and storebought flour tortillas).
Variations of Mas Huni
You can add pumpkin (or any kind of winter squash, like butternut squash) to your mas huni which will give it a delightful color and a softer texture, like the one here that we were served on the island of Fulidhoo.
Greens are also sometimes added to mas huni; while moringa is a traditional favorite, experiment with your own favorite greens. Or perhaps use this as an excuse to serve mas huni like a tuna salad over a bed of your favorite salad mix.
Have fun with it! Add chili peppers, lime or lemon juice (or even zest!), seasonings and fresh herbs to your liking–there’s no wrong way to mas huni!
How to Make a Vegetarian or Vegan Version of Mas Huni
While we were on Fulidhoo, the kitchen made a batch of vegan mas huni daily for a guest. It was a blend of shredded coconut and shredded local eggplant and onions, and it was absolutely delicious.
You can also use just squash, as mentioned in the previous section, mixed with coconut and onions.
This is also a good option for fish lovers who are trying to limit their intake of tuna to a couple of times a week.
Traditional tuna mas huni on the left, and vegan eggplant-coconut mas huni on the right.
The mas huni on the left has local pumpkin mixed in with it for added nutrients and fiber.
Mas Huni Serving Ideas
Serve it with some warmed flour tortillas (although nothing will be as delicious as the paper-thin roti, or roshi, served fresh in the Maldives!) or any tuna salad vehicle of choice: think endive leaves for a fancy, gluten-free option.
About Tuna in the Maldives
Tuna in the Maldives is still caught using the pole and line method of catching the fish individually, rather than in giant nets. This method is much more sustainable and less destructive to marine habitats; there’s very little “bycatch” (that is, unintentionally catching other species in nets, such as sea turtles or dolphins).
This little guy on Fulidhoo island? HUGE fan of mas huni, hold the coconut, hold the onions.