This Filipino sardines recipe is a quick, canned recipe using popular brand Ligo Sardines! Get ready to dip your pandesal (dinner roll) in a spicy, tomato-based sauce that is so addicting with rice done in 15 minutes!
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Alrighty folks, if you haven’t had sardines, you’re missing out! This spicy Filipino sardines recipe is so good with garlic rice, that the sauce itself is seriously good enough to save on something else (not kidding!).
Ginisang sardinas, or sauteed sardines, is a favorite Filipino recipe that can even be eaten with breakfast! The twist to this recipe is the inclusion of the habaneros for a spicy kick!
This will definitely be a canned sardine recipe you will need to save, as you won’t want your sardines any other way!
This post will go over everything you need to know to create this spicy Filipino sardines recipe.
Recipe difficulty: Beginner level with a spicy twist!
Ok, so the spicy twist in this recipe is the addition of the habaneros. Now, nothing in this recipe is difficult to do, but cutting the habanero could be a little challenging depending on how sensitive your skin is. Don’t worry, see my tips below and you’ll be fine!
Sam’s Pro Tips for this Spicy Filipino Sardines Recipe
- Remember to get the right Ligo Sardines can for this sauce to work! So, the kind we get is the Ligo Sardines in Tomato Sauce Chili Added. Seriously, this is the best flavor in combination with the habaneros, vinegar, and lemon juice. It produces a tangy, spicy sauce that you hardly get that overpowering fish taste. Think of the sauce in this can as the base, and we’re just enhancing it!
- Try to leave the stem on when cutting the habaneros or use gloves. Ok, so this is very important. Habaneros are very strong peppers! These peppers can burn your skin when mincing. So, when you cut the habanero, try to mince while leaving the stem on. You can place the habanero stem side down on the cutting board and cut around the seed pit. Remember if you add some of the seeds to this sardines recipe, the seeds will make it extra spicy! Or for extra caution, just use food gloves. We love habanero, and this tip is very similar to our 5-Minute Salted Egg Salad Recipe where we include habaneros for an extra kick!
- What if I don’t have habanero, or I want some spice, but not that much spice?! Don’t worry, we have some alternatives for you. If you don’t have habaneros on hand, or this pepper is too spicy, try substituting with a different kind of pepper. Remember, the flavor may be a little different on this approach! However, jalapenos or a red bell pepper depending on your spice tolerance could be a good alternative. If you don’t have any peppers handy, try incorporating red chili flakes into this dish! The red chili flakes will pack just the right punch, without it being too much!
Key Ingredients – Filipino Sardines Recipe
Below are some key ingredients for this recipe:
- Ligo Sardines in Tomato Sauce Chili Added: The favorite sardines recipe Filipino style! Ligo is the only brand we use, as the sauce combination is perfect in this recipe. So hard to believe it came from a can!
Pepper and Herbs
- Habanero: The game-changer in this Filipino sardines recipe is the habanero! Seriously! Most recipes I have seen don’t include this, but it’s such a nice flavor enhancer and really elevates the flavors in this sauce! I use two habaneros in this recipe, but you can also start with only one if this is your first time. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
- Onion: One whole onion will be used in this recipe as we want that sauteed flavor in the sardines. We roughly chop the onion to get nice uneven chunks to compliment every bite!
- Garlic: You already know this sardine recipe will not be complete without garlic. We will be using 5 cloves of garlic in this recipe! Remember how I said you won’t get an overpowering fish taste? The garlic will help with this as the aroma of the garlic is a strong compliment to the tomato sauce.
- Vinegar: The vinegar gives a little acidity to the sauce and rounds out the herbs. You don’t need a lot, but its enough for a boost to the sauce.
- Lemon: Lemon is the partner to the vinegar! Of course, fish will pair well with the lemon! When serving, have a couple lemon wedges on the side for any guests that want extra!
- Soy sauce: Here comes the tanginess! Such a robust enhancer to create the best sardine recipe ever! You don’t need a specific brand of soy sauce, as there are so many components to this recipe. Only 1½ tablespoons is needed.
More Variations to this Recipe
There are a few ways you can variate this Filipino sardines recipe. Here’s how:
- Add fresh herbs or different peppers! I love this canned sardine recipe as it is, but you could add fresh herbs like chopped parsley or cilantro. I have not tried it in this recipe, but I have seen other sardine recipes with chopped herbs added at the end. Remember to add the chopped herbs as a final step. As I said in Sam’s Pro Tips section above, if you don’t want to use a habanero, you can use jalapenos or even bell peppers for some added spice. Red chili flakes will also work as an alternative as well!
- What can I pair with this dish? Here’s the fun part! Definitely have your side of white rice or Garlic Fried Rice to pair with the sauce. Or, because the sauce is so good, have your pandesal (dinner roll) ready to dip for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This is perfect with a sunny side up egg or a Salted Egg Salad that will pair amazingly with the habaneros in this sardines recipe. So many yummy options!
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If you love this recipe, check out our 20-Minute Filipino Sardines Pasta Recipe for your next favorite pasta recipe!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you cook canned sardines?
You can sauté canned sardines with onion, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, and soy sauce. For a kick, try adding habanero!
How do you eat Ligo sardines?
Ligo Sardines in Tomato Sauce Chili Added are ready to eat. Be sure to add the onion, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, soy sauce, and habanero from this recipe in a pan for the best flavor!
Can you fry tinned sardines?
Yes, canned sardines can be fried in oil and other seasonings for extra flavor.
How long does sardines last in the refrigerator?
Store this spicy Filipino sardines recipe in the refrigerator and eat within 2 days.
How much juice can you get from one lemon?
Usually, 1 lemon can yield 3 tablespoons of juice depending on the size of the lemon.