Wholesome Sardine Sandwich with a Malaysian Twist!
This Sardine Sandwich is tomato-ey, slightly spicy, fragrant with a tinge of sweetness from the caramelized onions. The toasted slices of bread lend a crispy yet tender experience while the vegetables give a refreshing crunch to the texture of the sandwich.
When I get lazy to cook, or if I’ve suddenly run out of ingredients, this will be my go-to meal for my family. It’s not only simple but tasty and healthy too. Fresh lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers pairs well with toasted bread. We will use butter for our sandwiches, but it can be omitted as well 😉
This can be had on white bread slices or even whole grain bread slices. White bread is a “default” bread flavour, while wholegrain will add a more nutty flavour to the sandwich. We usually have both types of bread for an added variety of choices.
Why don’t you give it a try? 🙂
Cooking the Sardine Filling
First, prepare the sardine filling. Although the sardines are already cooked in the can, I like to add shallots, some red chillis for some heat and a little bit of lime to offset the taste of the ocean from the sardines.
Slice the shallots and chilli with a sharp knife. Carefully cut the lime vertically, avoiding the core.
Add 4 tablespoons of cooking oil to a frying pan. Set the pan on high heat until the oil is hot. Fry the shallots until its fragrance is released and its layers appear translucent.
Add the chopped chilli and continue to fry until the chilli’s fragrance has been released and shallots are almost golden brown. This will release the spice from the chilli and flavour of the onions into the cooking oil to enhance the taste of sardines.
Wash and dry the sardine can to remove any dirt or dust that may have stuck to it. Open the can of sardines and empty its contents into the frying pan. Halve the sardines, exposing their bones. With a clean spoon or fork, gently lift the sardine’s bones from its bottom flesh, if desired. I usually leave the bones in as it is tender enough to consume.
Break the sardines into smaller pieces. Gently press down on the sardine pieces to further smash them into smaller pieces. The filling should resemble a paste – but if you prefer a more textured filling, smash the sardines to your desired consistency.
Add squeeze half a lime over the sardine filling to enhance its tang and turn off the heat. Taste the sardine filling and adjust the taste as desired, by adding sugar or salt. As the sardines already come pre-seasoned, I usually do not add salt nor sugar to the filling.
This recipe yields more sardine filling than required for one sandwich. Usually, we consume a can’s worth of sardines over 8-9 sandwiches. Allow the sardine filling to cool to room temperature before storing in airtight containers in the refrigerator. It can be kept frozen for a month and chilled in the refrigerator for about a week.
After the sardine filling is complete, it is time to assemble the sandwich!
Assembling the Sardine Sandwich
The plainest way to enjoy it is by adding some of it to a piece of toast and halving the bread – sardine-only half sandwich! However, I recommend adding fresh vegetables – lettuce, cucumber and tomato slices – for a more wholesome meal. 😉
Rinse the fresh vegetables to remove the dirt and debris from the vegetables. Break the lettuce into smaller, toast-size pieces.
Angle the cucumber to obtain elongated slices. Make thin slices of tomatoes.
Toast two slices of bread. Spread butter on the inner sides of the sandwich, before adding a generous helping of the sardine filling (2 tablespoons) atop the buttered slices.
Top one of the slides with cucumbers slices and the other with tomatoes slices. Place two leaves of lettuce on top of the tomato slices, neatly tucking in the parts that are outside the sides of the bread. Carefully angle both slices of bread to sandwich the lettuce.
This is what a cross-section of the Sardine Sandwich looks like.
This sandwich can be eaten whole – halving it is not necessary. Only one Sardine Sandwich is enough to make a full meal; have another one if you’re still hungry. I could barely finish a whole sandwich on my own – that’s how filling it is! 😉
Wholesome Sardine Sandwich
- Silicone Spatula
- Frying Pan
- Butter Knife
- 1 can of sardines
- 12 shallots, optional
- 2 red chilli, optional
- ½ lime, split in half, with seeds removed
- 4 tbsp cooking oil
- 10 slices bread, choice of wholemeal or white
- 5 tsp butter, room temperature
- 15 leaves Coral lettuce
- 2½ tomato, thinly sliced
- 1¼ cucumber, sliced diagonally
Making the Sardine Filling
- Turn on the stove to medium heat.
- Add cooking oil and shallots to the pan. The shallots should be fried until its fragrance is released and it becomes tender and almost transparent.
- Add the chillis and fry for 10 seconds, or until the fragrance of the chilli have been released.
- Open the sardine can and pour the contents of the can into the pan.
- Split the sardine in half, before gently crushing the sardines to bite-size pieces with the spatula. (optional: remove the sardine innards and bones at this step).
- Squeeze half a lime over the filling.
- Allow to cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally or until the filling is well-combine.
- Turn off the stove, and taste the sardine filling. It should have a slightly spicy and sour taste from the chillis and lime, blended with the savoury taste of sardines.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Keep refrigerated in an air-tight container for maximum freshness.
Assembling the Sardine Sandwich
- Slice cucumbers diagonally to get elongated slices.
- Slice tomatoes.
- Toast two slices of bread.
- While the bread slices are warm to touch, spread butter on the inner sides of the bread with butter knife.
- Add a generous helping of sardine filling to both the inner sides of the bread.
- Top the sardine filling with a few slices of cucumber on one slice.
- Top the sardine filling with a few slices of tomato on the other slice.
- Add 2 pieces of coral lettuce on the tomato slices, folding them so that it is contained within the sides of the sandwich.
- Place your palm under the bread slice of the cucumber and using the side of the bread, gently flip the cucumber side of the sandwich over the lettuce side to make a whole sandwich.
- (Optional) Place the sandwich on a chopping board. With a sharp knife, slice the sandwich diagonally in half.
- This makes for an excellent and filling breakfast option if you like sardines.
- Goes well with coffee or tea.