Malaysian Monday 61: Sardine Curry

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy Monday everyone. How was the weekend?

We’re still enjoying our summer holidays which is great for the soul but not so great for the motivation. Meals are simple and quick affairs, pulled together after a day at the beach or the pool. Baking has taken a back seat, and I’ve only churned out some treats when “forced” to, for MC Senior’s birthday party on the weekend.

I even put off going to the shops for as long as possible, which is how today’s meal came about. While rummaging through the pantry looking for inspiration, I found a can of sardines. Aha! Dinner and Malaysian Monday sorted in one go, my kind of dish. Allow me to introduce the Sardine Curry.

 If you're lucky enough to have leftover roti, you can serve that with sardine curry too.

This happens to be one of my dad’s favourite meals, and I think Malaysians will have seen this dish in one form or another. It’s quick, simple and most importantly tasty.

Here’s my version of Sardine Curry:

1 stalk lemongrass (white part only, bashed with the back of a knife so it’s bruised)
Half a large spanish onion (or use a few french eschallots if you prefer) - slice into rings then dice, leave a few rings aside to add texture.
1 sprig fresh curry leaf (strip the little leaves off the stalk)
1 heaped tsp curry powder mixed with a little water to form a thick paste. (Technically, I should have used curry powder meant for fish, but I didn’t have any on hand, so I used all purpose curry powder)
1 can of sardines in tomato sauce (I used a 215g can)
enough coconut milk to taste (optional - I used about 2 tablespoons)
3 dried red chillies - or chilli powder can be used instead

     Heat a little oil in a wok or large frying pan, then fry the diced onions until soft and starting to brown slightly. Toss in the lemongrass, curry leaves, dried chillies and the onion rings. Fry until fragrant, keep stirring often. Add the curry powder paste, stir well, then add the sardines in, sauce and all, and the coconut milk if using. Reduce heat and simmer the sardines gently for about 10-15 minutes or so, until it “looks done”. When I say “looks done”, I mean that the sauce has changed colour from reddish to brownish, and thickened a little. Some oil may also rise to the top.

Serve with steamed rice and a side dish or two. Makes enough for 2 adults for one meal (or for 1 adult for two meals).

Another not very pretty dish I'm afraid.

Now I’m off to the beach, see you soon.

Before I forget,  I’m hosting Muhibbah Malaysian Monday #7. Please do join in and send your entries to its(dot)sharon(at)gmail(dot)com. Muhibbah Monday is a blog event that I co-host with Suresh from 3 Hungry Tummies, and you can find more info here.


tina_bakes said...

I love canned sardines - they make tasty sandwich sardin, karipap sardin, sardin roll etc... and they always make the yummiest fall-back dish... I think we should give them a higher stature in the hierarchy of dishes!!

thanks for giving these sardines the limelight the deserve! LOL... I'm thinking they make a satisfying breakfast with some bread. must make some soon!

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Sardine is my favourite cooked in any kind form of dish. Curry sardine is so yummy. I always make sure there are sardine cans in our pantry for time when there is actually nothing in the freezer or a busy week no time for grocery shopping. Sardine always save the day and so quick to cook.

MaryMoh said...

Mmmm...delicious. Woudl be so good with rice. We grew up eating lots of canned sardines but never in curry. My mom always cooked it with lots of big onions, soya sauce and lime juice. It was very delicious. I must try making curry next time.

Deeba PAB said...

I need some curry Shaz...and this looks a winner. lemongrass and curry leaves ... mmmm! have fun at the beach, and thanks for making me E N V I O U S!! We are still FREEZING here! Summer come quick!

Barbara said...

You see very few recipes with sardines, Shaz. This looks like a good one, too. Never would have thought to make a curry with them!

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

I've never tried making a sardine curry but I like that this one uses tinned sardines. Such a great idea.

Sharon said...

Mmmmm looks delicious! I loooove roti. That looks like roti canai, which is my favourite. As soon as I land in Malaysia, that's the first thing I will eat. With a nice big juicy coconut :D. Your curry and roti is totally Malaysian alright. Not only making my mouth water but also making me miss all the food back home!

Marine Loves Papi... said...

Yum Yum Yum! I love Ligo tinned sardines mmmmm

Anh said...

is it really that simple? I really like malaysian fish curry! Oh I'm visiting KL soon. Do you recommend any eateries? :D

Juliana said...

Shaz, sardine curry is totally new to me...don't know why never thought about making sarine this way...sure looks very tasty :-)

shaz said...

tina_bakes - oh yes, I almost forgot about sardine rolls and karipap sardine, now I'm craving some, he he :)

Malay-Kadazan girl - they are great aren't they? My hubby isn't much of a fan so I don't cook it too often.

MaryMoh - yum, your way sounds very delicious

Deeba PAB - sorry dear, I didn't mean to make you envious :) Just explaining the lack of posts.

Barbara - I think that's because they are very much an acquired taste.

Helen (Grab Your Fork) - super quick and easy.

Sharon - I love coconut water too :)

Marine Loves Papi - ahh, Ligo eh? I use the Malaysian brand of Ayam sardines.

Anh - It's simple but it's not the fish curry you probably know. This is more a homestyle recipe. There are quite a few fish curry recipes out there, the most famous being the fish-head curry but I actually haven't tried to make that at home.

As for eateries, it depends on where you are heading. I haven't lived in Malaysia for over 12 years so I'm not sure what's still good, but I've seen many bloggers mention Soo Kee for noodles in KL. We like banana leaf at Kavitha's at PJ (in a previous Malaysian MOnday post),and the Asia Cafe hawker centre (also posted before). Send me an email if you'd like to discuss more :)

Juliana - glad you found something new.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

This is such a clever idea and I love how it came out of rummaging through the pantry. As much as I love shopping, there are some days when you just want to make dinner from the pantry :)

Indie.Tea said...

Your photographs are still very good, and I love the sight of all of those deep green curry leaves. Delicious.
And I'm sure the dish is really tasty and comforting too.

Hungry Dog said...

Wow, I never would have thought of sardines with curry. You are a constant source of inspiration! I actually haven't done anything with sardines at all, but I do like them.

♥LOVE2COOK♥ said...

I just love this curry. But used to do with mackerels. ;)

Curry looks super tempting dear ;)

Barbara Bakes said...

So nice to have a simple dish you can put together in no time. I'm a bit jealous of days at the beach or pool. We're in the middle of a cold winter.

grace said...

as long as i don't have to see the sardines or, frankly, know that they're in the dish, i'd love this! there's something about the little fishies that icks me out. :)

Jackie at said...

Sounds very interesting, I've never tasted this version. I love sardines even though they're not so popular!