Talking about canned sardines, the first thing that came to my mind was the picnic sandwiches that we had when I was at secondary school. It was relatively common that we have picnics during the school holidays at the beach side. We would need to camp and cooked ourselves. On top of the lists of breakfast item was always sardine sandwich because it was easy to bring and prepare. We would just bring few loaves of bread and few cans of sardines for this simple sandwich. The cans were opened, sardines slightly mashed and spread on the bread. It was delicious but that is something that I have yet to introduce my kids.
Canned sardines appeared in the market much earlier than canned tuna. I remember it was there since I was very young and Ayam brand is always the brand until now. We don’t eat canned sardines at home very often but my late mum would occasionally prepared this dish for dinner especially when the weather was hot and appetites were low. She heated up the canned sardines, added some lime juices, shallots and chilli, stir and the dish was ready. In my humble opinion, it was delicious because of the sourness and the spiciness that wake up the appetite. In fact, no other dishes are needed if this dish appeared in the table.
My wife have constantly asked me to prepare this dish as she was craving for this. She always ordered at the mixed vegetable stores. My kids would take some from her and I found that they like the fish too. Therefore, I think it is time to introduce them this dish at home. I am not promoting consumption of canned food, but it is my views that anything not excessive is acceptable. We should exposed kids to as much food as possible, and not to mention that this was so the food what their grandparents and parents were eating all these while.
It is rather funny to issue this post since most families will have their own recipe. I am blogging this for records and to remind readers that there is such a dish that appeared in dinner table in the olden days. It serves to capture my family recipes too.
This is a very simple straightforward recipe. I know canned sardines can be eaten directly from the can but I usually heat it either over the stove or microwave to get rid of the fishiness. If you are running short of time, you can omit the heating process. As for the herbs, my recipe is very simple, using common ingredients in the kitchen as usually this is the last minute dish. I knew some families added bunga ketan, daun kesom etc. but for our family the stated ingredients is more than adequate. Calamansi lime skin does play an important part in the dish. I also did not add anymore seasonings be it salt of sugar to the dish as canned food is fully flavoured with salt and seasonings.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: 3-4 adult servings
- 1 medium size canned sardines
- 4 chilli padi
- 2 shallots
- 6 calamansi lime
- few sprigs of coriander
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Open the canned sardines and put it in a pan. Bring to boil. Once it boils, off the heat. This step is optional if you are running out of time.
- Chop the coriander, shallots and chilli padi into small pieces. Squeeze the juices from the lime and take the skin of two limes, shred into small pieces.
- Put the sardines in your serving plate and leave the sauce in the pan. Put the chopped chilli, coriander, shallots, lime juice and lime peel into the tomato sauce (in the pan). Stir until well combined and drizzle onto the sardines in the serving plate. The dish is ready to be eaten with white rice.
This may be an out dated recipe as many households do not eat canned food. To me, this is a respect to our food history as long as the canned food is still being sold and it is my responsibility to introduce this childhood dish to my kids. How often it will appear in the dinner table is totally another issue.
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