I bought some fresh sardine fish from the farmer’s market and was wondering what to do with it. So I asked my Cameroonian foodies on Facebook and decided to make sardine (generally known as Titus in some parts of Africa). Shout out to you all for your tips foodie fam!!! 🙂 But first, I made sure to call my mom (she’s the best cook of all time) to get her tips and techniques and this is her homemade sardine recipe.
But first, let’s talk about the health benefits of sardine for a bit.
Sardines are full of good-for-you fatty acids, high in protein, vitamin B12, D, calcium, and selenium. They are one of the highest sources of essential omega-3 fatty acids on the planet. These fatty acids, vitamins, and trace mineral elements help in the prevention of many diseases and promote overall health.
Some of the health benefits of sardines include the prevention of heart diseases and certain types of cancers. It helps in bone strengthening, building the immune system, insulin resistance, and rejuvenation of the skin. More about the health benefits in another post.
Sardines are usually sold canned, either in salt water or in oil. In Cameroon, fresh sardine can be bought from the local market. In my part of the world, I buy my sardines at the farmer’s market or at whole food stores to make sure I am getting wild-caught and not farm-raised sardine fish with high concentrations of antibiotics, pesticides and lower levels of healthy nutrients.
Apart from the nutritive value attached to sardines, this is one ultra delicious food that comes handy anytime you need to eat something really fast. As I spoke with mom, she gave me one tip:
The fewer the ingredients used, the better the taste”.
That’s just it! She said, “sardine has its distinct taste which you do not want to compromise by adding too many ingredients”. And believe me, she is absolutely right! But to give it some extra heat, I added two Habanero peppers. Be careful not to overdo it with Habanero as this may upset your stomach and may even provoke diarrhea.
Also, go easy on the oil to keep the fat content down. Try as much as possible to use extra virgin cold-pressed oil to benefit from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids which are heart-healthy and can decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Sardines are generally eaten as a fast food in Cameroon as a sandwich for bread or are used as fish in stews or sautéed with spaghetti. Ghanaian love it alongside Baku and light soup. For those of you trying to lose weight but still want to enjoy your favorite African treats, this recipe is perfect as I use very little oil.
SUPA TIP: If you are on the BRONZE phase of my shape up African – SUPA – weight loss program, use tomatoes as a base to make a healthy tomato-sardine-sandwich as pictured below to enjoy a healthy delicious and very satiating breakfast.
Whichever way you chose to enjoy your sardine, remember to portion control. Let us know if you try this recipe and what you eat it within the comments area below.
Cheers to your health from heritage.
- 1kg fresh sardines
- 1 tsp. white pepper
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1 onion
- 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 habanero peppers (optional)
- Salt and bouillon cubes to taste
- Gut your fish carefully since sardines are very fragile and will break if not handled with extra care. Do not scale to avoid breakage. I did not remove the gills in the head since the fish is too small and will be cooked till all bones are soft.
- Now rinse fish using cold water and add it to a pressure cooker along with finely chopped onion, garlic, peppers and ground white pepper.
- Add 2 cups of water, then add, salt and cubes and let it cook for an hour on low heat checking from time to time if more water need to be added. If you do not own a pressure cooker, use a normal crock pot and cook for about 3 hours untill fish is completely soft and bones are edible.
- Once fish is cooked, add oil and let it fry for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Let it cool. Your sardine is ready to be used as a sandwich for bread, in stew or sautees.
- Some people do not gut the fish. But mum said not gutting the fish makes the end result bitter because of all the entrails. Yikes! So you should definitely do the gutting properly.