Special Tuna Curry (Kandu Kukulhu)


This is the most  special fish curry for Maldivians. The literal meaning of Kandu Kukulhu is Sea Chicken or Chicken of the Sea. Chicken curry being a favourite curry for Maldivians, hence the name “Kandu Kukulhu” has been given to show how special this tuna curry is! 

Usually this curry is cooked for special occasions and celebrations as it involves a fair amount of time. However for those who are pressed for time, you can easily cook the curry without the rolling and tying process. I must say I have cooked without that process many a times.

As I was cooking this curry I thought of giving a modern twist for a change, as you can see from the pictures below. I reserved one piece of the tuna, and spread with the curry paste, instead of tying with a strip of pandan leaf, I used one whole pandan leaf, wrapped around the fish and then trimmed the excess.  Read on for the modern twist.




Prep time:  30 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Serves 6

For the Curry Paste


  • 8 tablespoon desiccated coconut
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 5 dried red chillies
  • 6 cloves garlic or 2 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 170 gm onion roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Blend all the above ingredients until smooth. Keep aside.

For the Tuna


  • 530gm fresh tuna 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Wash and slice the tuna.
  2. Working around the piece of tuna, slice around it as if you are unrolling a swiss roll. (2cm x17cm approximately)
  3. Rub the salt in to the fish.
  4. Spread one teaspoon of curry paste onto each of the tuna piece and roll it tightly. 
  5. Secure it with a toothpick or strips of pandan leaf.
  6. Finish with the rest of the fish. 
  7. Keep aside.

For the Curry


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 3 x9 cm pandan leaf
  • 2 medium fresh tomatoes quartered
  • 1/4 habanero chilli or scotch bonnet chilli or to taste.
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk powder mixed with 1/2 cup hot water.


  1. Place the remaining curry paste ( approximately 1 and 1/3 cups)in a medium sized pan.
  2. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  3. Place the fish in the pan, followed by the curry leaves, pandan leaf, tomatoes, chilli and salt. 
  4. Cook on medium high  heat uncovered, for about 15 minutes giving a stir from time to time.
  5. Or until the fish and the curry paste is cooked and fragrant. (If you feel the curry is too thick you can add more water but I prefer it this way)
  6. Add the coconut milk, and cook for 2 more minutes.
  7. Take off heat.
  8.  Serve with rice, roti or folhi. Enjoy!

Modern twist

  1. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a small fry pan.
  2. Place the reserved piece of tuna and cook on each side for about 5 minutes or until firm and lightly golden.
  3. Take off heat. 
  4.  Serve with a green salad  ( spinach salad) and some gravy from the curry on the side. 


If you make this, share it by tagging your photo with #nattulicious on Instagram.

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