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Sardine Fried Rice: A Recipe You’ll Fall In Love With

September 28, 2022 (Last Updated: October 26, 2022)
sardine fried rice

We have sardine fried rice on today’s menu. If you’ve never tried sardine fried rice before then you’re in for a big treat. This humble fried rice recipe is quick, easy, cheap, and OUT OF THIS WORLD. All you really need is day old rice and canned sardines in tomato sauce.

I’m going to show you how to make this classic fried rice in a minute but I’ve got some fried rice tips and tricks for you to help you make the perfect sardine fried rice. Here’s a little overview of what we’ll be covering in this post:

I totally get it if you’re not sure about eating canned sardines but trust me when I tell you that this canned sardine recipe will change your mind. If you need some convincing, here are a few reasons why you need this sardine fried rice recipe in your life.

Why You Need This Sardine Fried Rice

sardine fried rice

Sardines and rice and rice are a great combination. Canned sardines have a bad rap but this sardine fried rice is one way to get anyone to love sardine dishes. I’m biased and love this childhood favorite because it’s something my Mom would make after a long day at school but I know you’ll love this sardine fried rice recipe because:

  • It’s incredibly easy to make
  • Super time efficient and takes 10 minutes to whip up
  • It’s a bomb of flavor without needing so many ingredients
  • Canned sardines are cheap and inexpensive. Plus they last forever in the pantry.
  • Lots of easy swap-ins and substitutes
  • This recipe is customizable. You can swap out the green beans for a bag of frozen veg, adjust the spice levels or completely remove the chillies, use other canned fish, anything really.

I could go on and on about why this recipe is to die for but I’ll let you be the judge of that. This sardine fried rice recipe is true to the one my Mom made for me when I was a kid but that doesn’t mean it isn’t flexible. 

The next part of this post will cover swap-ins and substitutes for this fried rice recipe.

Ingredients & Substitutes

sardine fried rice

Cooking is an art and like most art, it’s subjective. So feel free to substitute ingredients in this fried rice recipe to suit your family’s appetite.

Rice

You can use any type of rice for this recipe. Basmati, brown, white, red, whatever, as long as it’s a long to medium grain rice. Other types of rice like sushi rice or risotto rice won’t give the same results and will end in a sticky fried rice.

Ultimately, the best type of rice for fried rice is day-old rice because it’s been dried out. This is perfect for fried rice because the grains are separated and makes it perfect for absorbing sauces and seasonings.

But you don’t have to wait a day to make fried rice. Click here for my secret to making fried rice with freshly cooked rice.

Canned Sardines

No surprise that this sardine fried rice uses sardines but the best kind of sardines for this recipe is canned sardines in tomato sauce. Of course you can use any other kind of canned fish but make sure they’re canned with tomato sauce. 

Vegetables

I’ve used green beans in this seafood fried rice recipe but you can use any kind of fast cooking vegetable or leftover roasted vegetables if you have them. If I didn’t have green beans, I’d use a cup of frozen veggies.

Chilies

Chilies are completely optional. You can add as many or none at all depending on your tolerance for spice.

Oyster & Sweet Soy Sauce

The oyster sauce and sweet soy sauce act as seasonings in this dish. You can exclude these ingredients if you don’t have them and season the dish with salt and sugar. 

Toppings

You can add toppings if you want to take this sardine fried rice to another level. I’ve added omelet ribbons, fried anchovies, and fresh chilies as garnishes. Feel free to add spring onions, scrambled eggs, shrimps, or tofu pieces. 

Maybe the thought of canned sardine recipes tomato sauce doesn’t excite you but did you know that there were tons of benefits to eating sardines?

Sardine Health Benefits 

sardine fried rice

Canned sardines have a less than appealing reputation but they’re actually really amazing, great if you’re on a budget and it turns out they’re good for you. According to Healthline [1], here are some sardine benefits:

  1. Sardines are filled with omega-3 fatty acids that help prevent heart disease, reduce the risk of blood clots and lower blood pressure.
  2. They’re a great source of vitamin D and B12 which helps your cardiovascular system and gives you energy.
  3. Sardines are also loaded with calcium. So they’re a great source of calcium for anyone that’s lactose intolerant.
  4. Aside from calcium and vitamins, sardines also have numerous minerals and are rich in protein. 

That was a surprisingly positive list for such an inexpensive and tiny can of fish. This ingredient is incredibly versatile and there are a lot of Asian sardine recipes out there but this sardine fried rice has got to be my favorite.

Stick around if you want to learn tips and tricks to make the best sardine fried rice you’ve ever had.

5 Tips For The Best Sardine Fried Rice

sardine fried rice

Tired of wet and gooey fried rice, undercooked ingredients and mushy rice, or perfectly cooked ingredients but burnt rice? The key to making fried rice is in the 5 simple tips. These tips will have you making fried rice like a pro:

  1. Prepare All The Ingredients Before Cooking

Do everything in advance if you have to chop, pound, mix, or dice anything. Fried rice takes minutes to make because everything cooks pretty quickly. You’ll end up burning something if those minutes are spent doing something other than stirring. 

  1. Have Ingredients At Arms Reach

Having your ingredients close by is important. Just like prepping everything ahead of time, you want to make sure every ingredient is easily accessible to avoid burning anything. 

  1. Add Ingredients In The Right Order

Adding ingredients into the pan in the right order is important. Try adding ingredients in this order for the best result:

  1. Aromatics like garlic and chilies.
  2. Long cooking ingredients like the stalks of leafy greens.
  3. Meats or proteins.
  4. Rice and sauces
  1. Avoid Too Much Liquid 

Gooey or wet fried rice is not appetizing and using too much liquid seasoning might be the issue. This sardine fried rice already has a lot more liquid in it because of the canned sardines in tomato sauce. I cook the sauce down and reduce it to avoid mushy rice.

You can leave out the soy and oyster sauce if you’re worried about having wet fried rice and season it with salt and sugar instead.

  1. Cook On Medium High Heat

The final tip to making perfect fried rice is a non-stick wok and cooking on high to medium high heat. Fried rice takes minutes to make and that’s because it’s cooked on a very high heat. Adding the ingredients in the right order and cooking it at high heat will produce the best fried rice.

Ready to make one of the best canned sardine recipes now that you’re armed will all those fried rice tips?

How To Make This Sardine Fried Rice

sardine fried rice

Click here to learn how to make rice for fried rice in case you don’t have any day-old rice on hand. And if you read the tips mentioned above, you’ll know the first step is to get all the ingredients ready. I’ve pounded the garlic and chili, chopped the green beans, mixed the sauces, whisked the eggs together, and got my sardines ready.

Add the oil into a hot wok or large pan and start with the garlic and chili paste. Cook that for about a minute. Next, add the green beans and cook it for another minute. After that, add in the sauces and sardines with tomato sauce.

sardine fried rice

Break the large pieces of fish into smaller pieces and cook this mixture down for 3-5 minutes. This might take longer depending on how saucy your can of sardines are. It took me about 5 minutes because mine were pretty saucy.

sardine fried rice

Add the rice to the pan when the sauce has reduced. Stir everything together until combined and adjust the seasoning with salt and or sugar. You can add eggs to your fried rice by cooking them separately in another pan.

Scramble your eggs and add them to the fried rice mixture or make an omelet and cut it into strips like this:

Garnish the sardine fried rice with anything you like. I’ve added fried anchovies and omelet ribbons for my in-laws. But that’s it, a can of sardines, leftover rice, and 10 minutes later, you’ve got an impressive dish anyone will fall in love with.

sardine fried rice

Would you try making this sardine fried rice? What about canned tuna fried rice? Here are a few of our favorite fried rice recipes:

Sardine Fried Rice

Dinner, lunch, breakfast Malaysian
By Yummyble -Aisha Serves: 4-5
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 5-8 minutes Total Time: 15-18 minutes

This amazing sardine fried rice will blow your mind! All you really need is a tin of canned sardines, green beans, and some day old rice.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 cups of leftover rice *see notes if you don't have leftover rice.
  • 1 or 2 red chilies (Adjust this to your spice tolerance. You can also leave the chilies out)
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tin (215g or 7.5 oz) canned sardines in tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chopped green beans or any vegetable of choice
  • 4 tbs oil
  • 2 tbs oyster sauce
  • 3 tbs sweet soy
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Optional: 2 eggs

Instructions

Prepare Ingredients Before Cooking:

1

Pound or blend the garlic and chilies into a smooth paste.

2

Measure out and mix all the sweet soy and oyster sauce together.

3

Chop the green beans.

4

if using eggs: crack them into a bowl and lightly beat them.

Cook The Fried Rice:

5

Heat 4 tbs of oil in a large pan on medium high heat.

6

Add the garlic and chili paste into a the pan and saute for 1 minute.

7

Add the green beans and saute for another minute.

8

Add the canned sardines and the sauce into the pan. Break up the pieces of sardine with the back of the spatula. Cook this sauce down for 3-5 minutes. This will depend on the amount of sauce in the canned sardines.

9

After the sardines have cooked down, add in the rice and stir everything together.

10

If the rice feels or looks wet, turn the heat up and saute the rice for an additional minute or 2.

If using egg:

11

After the rice is cooked, grab a separate pan and scramble the eggs. Add the scrambled eggs to the sardine fried rice and mix everything together.

Notes

If you don't have leftover or day old rice: Cook rice as usual and spread it out flat on a plate or tray. Place this in the fridge for 10-20 minutes or leave it to cool at room temperature before frying rice.

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