Sardines Fried Rice

Culinary history was changed forever when someone long ago in China introduced rice to wok! The humble steamed rice, tossed with seasoning (normally soy sauce) and oil, seared with the intense heat from the frying pan, transforms into a dish worthy of kings. There was even an episode of Iron Chef where the Japanese chef completed the rout of his challenger by frying rice with a dash of shrimp paste that won the judges over with its flavor.

While our post today is certainly not set in a competitive cook-off, fried rice on the menu is very much something to look forward to. To start with, fried rice is simply delicious. Secondly, it is a complete meal in itself which makes it perfect for lunch. Finally, it is quick and easy to prepare. Coupled with a bowl of clear soup, it is comfort food for our family. No wonder that as Ro-Taro gets ready to head out to college this fall, he has requested for mom to teach him how to prepare fried rice. It’s like the old saying about teaching a man to fish, with a twist we can say that “teach a child to fry rice and he will learn to feast for a lifetime”.

Cooking fried rice in a home setting is a piece of cake with the available utensils and ingredients. Almost any fresh or leftover meat and vegetables can be thrown in and the rice will taste good so long as the pan is hot and the grains of rice are separated and fluffy. In a dormitory setting, the challenge is with a limited budget, appliances, utensils, ingredients, and time. The dorm room may be equipped with a mini fridge, 3-cup mini rice-cooker, a deep fry pan, spatula, knife, simple plates and silverware, and a tote to transport these to the dorm kitchen. Basic ingredients include rice, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and dried spices.

Next is to check out the grocery store for suitable ingredients in small quantities. Small cans of sardines are great as they have a long shelf life and can be easily stored in the room. An entire can is perfect for a meal with no need to mess around with leftovers. A one-pound bag of frozen mixed vegetables can be stored in the freezer compartment of the mini fridge. Onions may be purchased singly or substituted with onion powder. Garlic may be omitted altogether.

Most days Ro-Taro will be eating at the campus cafeteria but when he feels the pangs of homesickness, he can always check out mom’s blog. πŸ˜‰ In fact, I have created a Dorm Cooking tab, a sub-category of Misc in the drop-down menus above for Ro-Taro’s easy reference. There will be more fried rice and simple meal recipes complete with shopping guide in the days to come.

Sardines Fried Rice
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2 servings
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 can (3.75oz/106g) sardines in hot sauce
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
  • 3 cups cooked white rice (preferably kept overnight)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  1. In a large non-stick fry pan, heat canola oil. Fry onions for about 3 minutes. Add garlic and fry for another minute.
  2. Split open sardines with a fork. Remove bones. Drop sardines into the pan and fry for 2 minutes. Stir in frozen mixed vegetables and allow it cook for another 3 minutes.
  3. Then add cooked rice. Give it a stir. Add soy sauce, remaining hot sauce from can, pepper, and salt (to taste). Stir to get everything well mixed and cook until rice is dry and fluffy. This will take 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Remove and serve immediately.

Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 😎

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  1. says

    I have never tried making fried rice with canned sardines, but now I don’t see why not, since I love anchovy fried rice and the two are close cousins πŸ˜‰ Of course knowing me, I will sneak some chilli into the pan, when no one’s looking πŸ˜€ The rice looks so grainy and fluffy and your bowls are adorable! I am sure too, that Ro-Taro will be checking in very regularly at mama bear’s blog lololol

    • Biren says

      I would also add the chilies if I was cooking for myself. :) I lugged those bowls home during my last visit. It is no wonder my luggage was so over loaded. Yes, the flavor of sardines fried rice and ikan bilis fried rice has similarities.

  2. says

    This fried looks fabulous. I have never made it with sardines. I know how healthy they are for you… gotta try this one. :) Have a wonderful weekend! ~ Ramona

  3. says

    I love sardines. I can eat them just like that out of the can. Shame on me. Mashed sardines with chilli and lime/ lemon juice with sprinkle of coriander or spring onion and spread this on bread. Yummy! Sardines fried rice? Not attempted yet. Sounds interesting, ‘cos it’s hassle free, which I like :-D. Will definitely give this a shot when I want to make a quick meal for the boys. Thanks for sharing, Biren!

    • Biren says

      I eat sardines out of a can too. In fact, mom used to make a no-cook salad with it. I made it recently but didd not take any pictures. Maybe I’ll share it one of these days. It is similar to the sardine filling for sardine sandwiches.

  4. says

    You just might get me liking sardines with this recipe! I know my husband would love it because he’s a huge sardine lover. I should definitely try this because taste buds do change and it does look quite good!

  5. says

    Fried rice is great! Never tried it with sardines – I should. Sardines are so healthy and have tremendous flavor. But I didn’t even know you could buy them canned in hot sauce! What a terrific idea (I love spicy). Good post, and your son will certainly eat well at college! Thanks for this.

    • Biren says

      I think the sardines in hot sauce taste even better than those in tomato sauce. It is especially good in fried rice. :) My son has been frying a lot of rice lately. I think he will be just fine. :)

    • Biren says

      Canned sardines are really versatile. I too have used them in a spicy tangy soup in place of chub mackerel.

  6. Dongxing says

    One of our favaorites when I am too stressed and in a hurry to whip something out to feed hungry mouths. These days the supermarkets carry boneless sardines in ketchup, so even more time saving! Love all your posts, Biren, I just have not been able to write any comments of late. Keep blogging and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading every single one of them, especially those on Malaysia.

    • Biren says

      Canned sardines are pantry staples for me. This fried rice amkes a quick and easy meal. Wow…boneless sardines! That’s a nice to have but the bones provide extra calcium.

      Glad to hear you are enjoying my posts. Thanks for reading. :)

    • Biren says

      You are so right about it being a “salty” flavor. It is very tasty and appetizing. My boys love it.

      Thank you so much for the encouragement. I really appreciate it. :)


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