Are you a fan of canned sardines? I am posting this question because I know of some people who don’t like it; I’m a bit curious and would want to know the reason why.
Personally, I like eating canned sardines though I can say that this is one of the foods that I can live without. I don’t really crave nor experiment some recipe with it but I make sure to stock a few cans just in case the need arises.
If you grew-up in the Philippines, chances are that your pantry is filled with different canned goods and probably canned sardines make-up at least 25 percent of your supply. This has been the practice of most people because preserved or non-perishable foods are necessary in order to survive during typhoons (the Philippines is hospitable enough to welcome at least 15 typhoons a year). I think that this was the main reason that forced me to try sardines when I was still a child – and eventually got used to it. Aside from this, I also learned that sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids: this is responsible in reducing occurrence of cardiovascular diseases and may also decrease the possibility of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
I usually eat a heavy meal during breakfast. Any entrée would do as long as there is rice (plain rice or garlic rice) on the side. I usually consume the leftover foods from the night before (its one way to live a frugal life) – but today is different. There were no leftovers, I haven’t had coffee yet to give me some boost, and I’m really starving. This makes me a starving lazy man that would grab almost anything to satisfy that growling stomach. This is an emergency – I thought. Its time to open some canned sardines that have been sitting in the pantry for a few months.
Eating sardines fresh from the can does not work for me. It has to be cooked one way or another to make it more appealing. For this meal, I sautéed some garlic and onions before pouring the sardines (this is the regular canned Philippine sardine in tomato sauce) then allowed it to cook for a few minutes. I smell something fishy – can’t do anything about it since it is fish that I’m cooking. What I can probably do is to neutralize or lessen the fishy taste: I simply do this by squeezing some lemon or some local lime (known as calamansi) over the sautéed sardines. This is the simplest and fastest method to prepare sardines – at least that I know of.
There are other ways to make your sardine meal more enjoyable or at least encourage you to try having some. Here are some suggestions:
- Add some vegetables – adding vegetable in cooking canned sardines is not a bad idea; in fact, it is considered as a healthy combination. Imagine getting all the health benefits that are already present in sardines plus the vitamins and minerals that you can derive from the vegetable of your choice.Bottle gourd (upo) and angled luffa (patola) are the common vegetables cooked with sardines. These vegetables are sautéed with the sardines; an addition of some spices and a little water is also needed. Aside from that, this is also a good way to manage your tight budget and save you money. You see – the vegetables also act as fillers that increase the serving size of your dish.
- Combine with noodles - There are several recipes out there involving canned sardines and noodles. In fact, some are even delicacies in certain regions of the Philippines. The most common noodle added to sardines is the thin flour noodle locally known as “Miswa”. I was able to stumble upon Lalaine’s post in her blog about this; you might be interested in knowing how to cook Ginisang Sardinas at Miswa. Odong is another sardine dish that you might be interested in. Popular in the southern part of the Philippines, odong is cooked by adding short yellowish spaghetti-like noodles (also known as “odong”) with the sardines. Market Man elaborates this topic in his blog.
- Create a fancy snack – A fancy what? You read it right; sardines can also be eaten as a snack (just make sure to brush your teeth afterwards). A fancy snack can be some kind of sardine sandwich or a pandesal pizza perhaps.I am assuming that making pandesal pizza is a no brainer for everyone. You can make pandesal anytime by following our pandesal recipe post – we’ll be using sardines for the topping –of course. All you need to do is slice the pandesal in half and top the cut part with sardines. You may also top it with some grated cheese of your choice if preferred.Don’t be grossed-out, I understand that this isn’t for everyone; you might need to develop an acquired taste to enjoy this.
- Make a soup out of it – Have you heard of “Sinigang na Sardinas”? Yes, it is a sour soup dish similar to that of our “Sinigang na ulo ng salmon”; the only difference is that it uses canned sardines instead of fresh fish. This might be a bizarre idea that seriously needs an acquired taste – but my take on this is simple: anything new can be considered bizarre, you need to try and get used to it to be able to develop a sense of appreciation. Check out the video on 10 Peso Meals with Chef Edward Bugia.
What do you think ? Do you have other suggestions to add? Please feel free to post a comment