Ginisang Sardinas with Ampalaya or Sautéed Sardines with Bitter Melon is a simple Filipino dish that consist of canned sardines in tomato sauce and sliced bitter melon. These are sauted with garlic and onion. I topped the dish with chopped scallions and toasted garlic to make it look and taste better. It is best eaten with rice and can be consumed either for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
I cook this regularly when I was still in the Philippines because convenient in many ways. Timewise, it takes me a very short amount of time to prepare the dish. It is ideal if I am busy or in a hurry to complete something or go somewhere but needed a quick meal. It is also favorable financially because it does not cost much. It is budget friendly.
Although it is easy and simple, I am picky when it comes to the brand of sardines that I use. I almost tried all the local sardines brands in the Philippines and I developed a liking on a particular brand because of its quality. I am happy to know that my brand of sardines is available here in the US. This was the reason why I was able to make this dish. Do not let my brand preference get on your way, use any brand of sardines that you prefer.
I remember having this dish as a kid. Me and my friends would cut a fresh banana leaf from the nearby vacant lot inside the subdivision that we live in Las Pinas. It was a very happy place. In fact, the subdivision is called Happyville. Back then, I haven’t heard of the term “boodle fight” yet, but we were doing it apparently when we scatter a pot of newly cooked rice over the banana leaf and pour all the sauteed sardines over the rice. We ate with our hands, of course. I’m sure that you can imagine how our hands smelled like afterwards. The meal was special though even if it was simple because it was shared equally by everyone.
Try this Ginisang Sardinas with Ampalaya (Sautéed Sardines with Bitter Melon) Recipe. Let me know what you think.
- 1 large can sardines in tomato sauce
- 1 medium bitter melon (ampalaya), cored and sliced into thin pieces
- 1 medium red onion
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons toasted garlic (optional)
- 2 tablespoons chopped scallions (optional)
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce (patis)
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- Heat oil in a cooking pot
- Sauté garlic and onion until the garlic starts to turn light brown.
- Add the sliced bitter melon. Continue to sauté for 2 minutes.
- Pour the contents of the large can of sardines. Gently stir.
- Add ground black pepper and fish sauce. Cover and continue to cook in medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Transfer to a serving plate. Top with chopped scallions and toasted garlic.
- Serve. Share and enjoy!