How Do You Like Your Canned Sardines?

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Back in Beijing, it’s no use buying a lot of fresh goods to cook as we spend little time here and days of eating gourmet food made us crave for simpler things in life. So for three days, we had hotdogs, omelet, sauteed long beans and cucumber salad fresh from our Client’s orchard, spaghetti with bacon and sausages tossed in olive oil as requested by the kiddo, and canned goods such as tuna chunks, corned beef hash and of course, sardines. Back home, canned sardines is a staple for breakfast and the pantry should always have at least a can in stock. According to Mike, wag isnabin… it’s also a gourmet delight!

So how do you like your sardines? Plain and uncooked? Stir-fried with egg? With misua? With a little vinegar? Sauteed with tomatoes and onions? Now this sounds like a fun meme! Hmmm… then I’d like to tag Mike and Toni and Anne and if you think you like canned sardines… you are also tagged!

As for me, it all depends on the brand and here we fell in love with a local brand. The sauce is tasty and sweet; maybe because tomatoes here are sweet. If it’s just me, I’ll be happy to have it uncooked with diced raw onion, salt and pepper.

But for A, everything must always be cooked. So here is one of the many ways he likes it – sauteed with onions till dry.

1 can of sardines in tomato sauce, cut each chunk in halves
Minced garlic
Diced onion
Salt & pepper
Diced tomatoes (optional)
1 teaspoon of soy sauce (optional)

Heat oil in a non-stick pan. Fry garlic until aromatic. Throw in the diced onion (and tomatoes if you like) and cook for about a minute. Add in the sardines, season with salt and pepper and cook for a minute or two. Serve hot with plain rice.

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I am not a professional cook. My only claim to having a culinary background is a short stint as my dad’s teen ‘sous chef’ in his carinderia ages ago. Dad ran small eateries since I was a young kid - serving standard ‘turo-turo’ food ranging from the likes of menudo, adobo, pritong isda, dinuguan, binagoongan, bopis, munggo, pinakbet and giniling to merienda fares like goto, ginataan, pancit bihon, halu-halo and saging con yelo.

My father, a farmer in his hometown before working his way to becoming an accountant, definitely influenced my cooking in a lot of ways than I thought. My siblings and I were raised in a backyard full of fruit trees and vegetable garden. We spent weekends and the summer breaks running around with ducks, chickens, goats and pigs. I had wonderful memories of gathering eggs, butchering chickens, selling vegetables and the sweet aroma of preserved fruits. But my love for art led me to a degree in Architecture. Just few months after getting my license, I went abroad and lived independently at age 23. Definitely no maid, no cook, and a totally different food culture. Along the way I met lots of friends and spent what seemed a lifetime learning new tricks and recipes.

Now living in Auckland, I am a work-from-home mum who juggles time between work, fun and family - in pursuit of work-life balance. No matter how busy I am, I love the idea of cooking for my family. My blog chronicles home cooking greatly influenced by life outside my home country from Southeast Asia to Beijing and Auckland. And most of the time, being busy also means easy (sometimes quick), affordable meals.

20 thoughts on “How Do You Like Your Canned Sardines?

  1. yummy! i like mine cooked in vinegar with loads of chopped onions, garlic, tomatoes, and siling labuyo. this makes me want to cook sardines, too!

    eh, why don’t we start a SARDINES meme . . . ? :-)

  2. I love canned sardines. I don’t eat it as much now, but when I do, hay naku! Onions lang ang katapat niyan! Saaaarap. Thanks for the tag. I’ve bookmarked this na. I will get started on my canned sardinas recipe and post it soon!

  3. hi iska! Ako, LIGO fan forever :) I always have a can in my pantry for when the craving hits. My favorite way is spicy, then the variations can go from there. I love it with lots of onions like A or with tomatoes, or with eggs….and on and on :D

  4. naku favorite ko ang sardinas as long as galing sa Pinas. Like ko sya pag may misua.Pang special occasion ko ang sardinas . When I do get the time I’ll post about it :)

  5. Toni, pareho nga tayo Leo, onion lang sa sardinas masaya nahehehe… belated happy birthday nga pala uli!
    Thess, I used to do that naku kailangan ko yatang i-try uli. I miss that!
    JMom, if only I have access to Ligo kaso wala waaahhh! But I tell you this Chinese brand is so good. (Para akong nag-a-advertise ano?)
    Kaoko, I’ve tried that before… oo nga masarap nga din ang may kalamansi.
    Anne, wow! Sardinas for a special occasion! Can’t wait to read about that!
    Jane, that is new to me…. sardines with bagoong…. mind if I ask the “how-to”? Sounds interesting!

  6. Hi Iska.. Naku, sorry if na-confuse kita!
    It’s actually staight from the can with vinegar, bagoong ang sili used as a dip.

  7. hi.

    where do you buy your sardines? we still get ours from the philippines [pasalubongs and sariling bitbit]. I’ve tried looking at major stores but all they have are the super sweet TC boy ones.

  8. my mother cooks it with brocolli and we love it. igigisa mo lang. add a bit of water para may sabaw. add brocolli. so good! we use sardines either in tomato sauce or mackerel in oil.

  9. hi grace! dun lang namin usually nabibili sa kapitbahay naming russian store.

    badette, i’d better try that one. sounds really yummy!

    macnerdzcare, hindi ko pa yata natikman yang narcissus brand. pero malasa na para sa akin ang gulong e… that narcissus must be really good then!

  10. Hello po. I’m one of your blog fans.

    I’m so inspired with your post at nagawa kong makapagluto din ng sarili kong style.

    More power and God Bless po sa inyo.

    Pls. visit my li’l blog about cooking sardines.

    Watermelon Jubelance

    Thank you.

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