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Make Eric’s Sardine Fried Rice At Home

During this difficult time canned food is a great resource for creating meals at home. In the spirit of inspiring people to cook and do so inexpensively, we are sharing a simple recipe, one that Eric and Sophie ate frequently while growing up in Vietnam. Canned sardines are ubiquitous in Vietnam and eaten as a quick breakfast, sautéed with tomatoes and served with a baguette, or cooked into a simple fried rice.

As a child Eric and the siblings spent time in a Malaysian refugee camp (read more about that story here) while they were making the journey to Canada. There was very little food and the main source of protein was canned sardines. This as you can imagine, can be quite hard to eat day-after-day and he grew to dislike them. After leaving the camp Eric couldn’t think about sardines for decades.

In 2019 Eric and his wife Teresa traveled to Lisbon, Portugal where he rediscovered a fondness for the humble sardine. Sardines are prevalent in Lisbon and he ate them on many occasions during their travels. When he returned, he was inspired to bring them to the Ba Bar menus in 2020 and started working on his recipe for Sardine Fried Rice.

Today we share this recipe with you so that you may have something simple and inexpensive to prepare at home. You can swap the rice for any pasta you have on hand or instant noodles to make this dish versatile and flexible. Pick up Sumaco canned sardines at Viet-Wah for $1.25 per can or at Ba Bar for the same price! Just call us to order them.

Eric Banh’s Sardine Fried Rice Recipe

Canned sardine prices vary from $1 to $4 for 4-6 oz. Therefore, it depends on your preference. The expensive canned sardines from Portugal are olive oil marinated base, whereas, other affordable ones are water and tomato based. I prefer the water and tomato-based sardines for this recipe that are $1.25 per can and available for purchase at Viet-Wah or Ba Bar.

What you’ll need:
• 1 can sardine, Sumaco 4.38 oz
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 glove garlic, thinly sliced
• 1/4 teaspoon “Maggie” seasoning (soy sauce)
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Additional step for better flavor:
• 2 cups cooked jasmine/short grain rice (or 2 cups pasta or instant noodles)
• 4 tablespoons vegetable oil 
• 2 gloves garlic, thinly sliced 
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/2 teaspoon “Maggie” soy sauce 
• 2 tablespoons diced green onion 
• 1 pinch ground back pepper corn 

Sautéed sardines:
Medium sauté pan over medium heat until oil is hot, then add garlic. Wait until garlic is soft and light brown. Add sardines and tomato sauce from the can, soy sauce and salt, and gently sauté sardines for 30 seconds at medium heat. Set aside.

Use the same (soiled) pan, add oil and garlic. Wait until garlic is lightly brown. Add rice and use wooden spoon or plastic spatula to turn rice until rice is hot (not burned). Add salt and soy sauce and continue to sauté rice (1.5-2 minutes). Add pre-sautéed sardines and gently sauté with rice (1 minute). Sardines should fall apart into small pieces.