From Pantry to Plate: The 15-Minute Canned Sardine Stir-Fry You Didn’t Know You Needed! This incredibly quick and nutritious dish is going to be your new weeknight hero.
When I first found out that outside of Asia, people don’t cook canned Sardines, especially the ones in tomato sauce. This seemed so odd to me, even though it made actual sense. “Canned sardines are already cooked, therefore you can eat it straight out of a can” – this was such a foreign concept to me! Growing up, canned sardines was one of the quick meal hacks in the family, but we have NEVER had it straight out of the can. My mom would always make a complete dish out of it, specifically, we love it in a Sambal stir fry. I have a recipe for Sambal Sardines right here.
This recipe is a quick and easy stir fry, and comes together in just 10 minutes! 15 minutes, if you include ingredient prep. I love having this with rice, but this is so good dipped with some bread.
Why You will LOVE the Recipe:
Canned Sardines Stir Fry holds a special place in the hearts of many for several reasons:
- Quick and Easy with Minimal Ingredients: Talk about convenience! Canned sardines, with their pre-cooked and ready-to-eat nature, make for a swift cooking experience. With just a handful of pantry-staple aromatics, you can whip up this satisfying meal in minutes.
- Rich Flavours: Sardines, with their delightfully umami undertone, are bursting with flavour. Their distinct taste combined with the tomato sauce, combines effortlessly with various aromatics to create a deliciously full meal!
- Nutritional Powerhouse: Canned sardines are a nutritional powerhouse, packed with omega-3 fatty acids, protein, calcium, and other essential nutrients. Additionally, the tomato sauce houses all of the antioxidants and lycopene associated with various health benefits. This makes the stir fry not only delicious but also a smart choice for a well-rounded diet.
- Budget-Friendly: Canned sardines in tomato sauce are economical and easily accessible! This recipe will elevate the humble canned sardines to taste not-so-economical.
Key Ingredients for Sardine Stir Fry
The magic of Canned Sardines Stir Fry lies in its simplicity. Here are the key ingredients that come together to create this flavourful fusion:
- Canned Sardines in Tomato Sauce: The star of the show, these fish are rich in flavour and nutrients. Opt for sardines in tomato sauce. I always go for Ayam Brand of canned Sardines in Tomato Sauce, but Ligo and Three Lady Cooks are options too.
What if I only have canned Sardines in oil and water? If you only have sardines packed in oil or water, you can still make this recipe. Drain the sardines, and add chopped tomatoes to the pan. If you have marinara sauce or ready-made pasta sauce, add to the pan to create the sauce for the sardines.
- Aromatics and Seasonings: All you need are onions and garlic, to create that aromatic depth. This recipe includes birds eye chillies, for an addictive heat that goes so well with the sardines and tomato sauce base. I also added makrut lime leaves for a citrusy fragrance, but this is optional.
How to Make Sardines Stir Fry
1. Saute Aromatics
Add oil to a pan, and heat over medium heat. Stir fry onion, garlic and until fragrant.
2. Add Canned Sardines
Add in the entire can of sardines, and stir fry to combine. I like to add a splash of water here for more sauce. Season the sauce here with salt and pepper, only if needed. The canned sardines are seasoned already, so I never find that I need to add the additional salt and pepper.
This step is totally optional: to level this dish up, tear in makrut lime leaves and Sambal for added fragrance and flavour.
Once the sauce comes to a bubble, turn off the heat. Garnish with spring onions or cilantro and extra chillies. Serve over rice!
How to Serve Sardine Stir Fry
I love serving this with rice, but there are a plethora of ways to serve this Sardine Stir Fry:
- Bread Dip: This would be amazing when dipped with bread! The bread will soak up all of that delicious tomato sauce.
- As Sandwich Filling: In this recipe, I kept the sardines whole. You can crush the sardines – and they will crumble very easily – and create a saucy sardine mince. Layer the sardines with omelette, cucumbers and lettuce between two slices of bread to create a sandwich.
- Noodles: Cook up your noodles of choice, and add to the sauce. Alternatively, you can spoon on the sardines with the sauce over the noodles.
More Recipes Like This
- Sambal Sardines | Easy recipe for Canned Sardines in Tomato Sauce
- Soy Sauce Eggs | Telur Masak Kicap
- Singapore Chilli Prawns
Sardine Stir FryCourse: Recipes
1 can or 425g of sardines in tomato sauce
3 cloves garlic peeled, minced
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 bird’s eyes chillies, minced (optional)
3-4 makrut lime leaves (optional)
1 tbsp Sambal (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp vegetable oil
for garnish: cilantro, lime wedges, sliced chillies
- Add oil to a pan, and heat over medium heat. Once hot, add onion, garlic, chillies and stir fry until fragrant.
- Add in the entire can of sardines with the tomato sauce to the pan. Add water to create more sauce, and salt and pepper to taste, if needed. If using, add Sambal and tear in makrut lime leaves. Stir fry to combine.
- Once the sauce comes to a bubble, sardines are done. Turn off the heat. Garnish with cilantro, lime wedges and extra slices of chillies. Serve immediately.