Fish,  Under $1

Healthier Version: Easy Sardines with tomatoes, onions, and reduced gravy

August 5- Sardines with Fried Chilli Shallots

Today is a lazy day and I just prepared sardines and vegetable soup for lunch. Preparation and cooking took me a total of 15 minutes and food was on the table.

Most of you know I don’t normally use canned food, but if there’s one I approve of, it is sardines. Sardines are high in omega 3 fatty acids which can lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels, and can in turn support cardiovascular health. It is also rich in Vitamin D to promote bone health, and is packed with protein. What an amazing food!

How do you normally prepare your canned sardines? Just open up the can and heat it up, most of the time! Although sardines are good for you, the gravy that it is canned in is not quite. Ah mm and 88 both have high blood pressure, so I try to make canned sardines healthier by replacing most of the gravy with a home-made tomato sauce so I can control our sodium intake. I also add extra servings of tomatoes to make it even more nutritious. Sometimes, I top it with shallots and chilli padi, lightly fried in a little coconut oil. You win some, you lose some. Take away the sodium, add on some fat. Haha!

Makes 3-4 servings

What I used:

1 can sardines in tomato sauce. Remove the sardines, keep 2 tablespoons of gravy and discard the rest
3 tomatoes, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
3 cloves shallots, sliced
1 chilli padi, sliced
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Half teaspoon oilve oil
200ml water
A squeeze of lemon juice

1. Add the olive oil into the heated pan. Fry sliced onions for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and fry together for 1 minute on high heat.
2. Add the water and crush the tomatoes in the pan. Cook for 4 minutes or til tomatoes are soft.
3. Add the sardines and reduced gravy into the pan, mix well and continue simmering for 2 minutes or til bubbly. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice.
4. Heat up a clean pan and the coconut oil. Fry shallots til crispy and mix in chilli padi. Spoon over sardines and enjoy!

How much I spent:

$2.95 for sardines
$0.50 for tomatoes
Everything else from my pantry!

Total cost per serving: $0.87


The lemon juice really goes very well with the tomatoes and sardines, and you can reduce the sodium intake by simply replacing the gravy with tomatoes and water. Add more tomatoes! I love tomatoes.. we easily eat 15-20 tomatoes a week. I sneak tomatoes into soups, stir fries, curries and side dishes whenever I can and they don’t even complain. Try this healthier version the next time you prepare sardines.. your family won’t even notice the difference!