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Weeknight Dinners – Curry In A Hurry With Sardines And Green Tomatoes

Sardines – now here is a  fish that  makes  no apologies  about  being  one.  This  tiny flavorful fish, for  many, is   an  acquired  taste –  you  either  love  them  or  can’t  stand  them.  This   recipe  is  for  those  in the   first  category.   Once  you fall in love  with these  there is no going  back,   not only is  it tasty but  also  filled   with   calcium , protein  and  omega 3 fatty acids.  Good  for  bones , brains  and  all in between 🙂 .  Why would   anyone go back ?

Canned Sardine Curry

Sardines  and  small fish like  it  are  popular in many coastal communities. So it  was in Kerala.  Sardines  are  plentiful, very nutritious   and  reasonably  priced.  It isn’t over fished  and  are not  contaminated  with heavy metals   and  other pollutants  either.   If  that is  not good  news for a  seafood  crazy community I don’t know  what is! Now  for  the  bad  news ,  these are a  pain to clean  and  your  friendly fishmonger  wont be  happy to  clean these  either !

This  was a  chore  that our mothers  were  happy to undertake provided we  ate  sardines.  It  was  fairly well known in  our  parts  that if  you eat  seafood  you won’t   contract  certain  diseases (ex: goiter)  and  that  the bones  and  teeth were  stronger  for  it. But as kids  we  had  good  reason to be  wary of  these.  Sardines have gazillion  bones , as  my kids put it,  making it a tough   fish to handle.   Hence  the  older  siblings/cousins were  able  to get   away with “you  snooze,  you lose”    while  whisking  away your  share, until  you  figures  out  how  to  eat  it.

Here  we  sometimes get  fresh sardines  in the  Asian  sea  food  stores.  I hate  cleaning   this  one  though. This features among the  top 10  reasons  on my list   to build an outdoor  kitchen –  and  before  you ask ,  yes, I do  have a  list  for  that.   Until that  happens  canned  sardines are  are  going  to be  in the pantry  often.

Canned Sardine Curry

So one evening I find myself with a can of sardines and a couple of green tomatoes. Is  there   enough here  to make a  quick dinner ? Of course, yes!  In the time it takes  for the rice to cook I have a delicious curry to go with it.   That is something I can live  with.

OK, let me be honest – this  was not entirely my idea. Few years back I was clearing out the garden beds and ended up with a box of green tomatoes. We had fresh sardines delivered that day – and mom had this fabulous idea to make sardine  curry with a  few  of the raw  tomatoes.  Suffice  to say that we  were not  disappointed !
Making Sardine Curry

Today, I don’t have the luxury of fresh cleaned sardines, but I do have canned ones. So here it is curry in a  hurry –  but  don’t get me wrong , it is utterly satisfying.  Sardines, coconut milk, onions and tomatoes – who is to say you are not getting your veggies and protein ? Mom  would  rather  make  it with  fresh ingredients, but the flavors are still very good in this version.

I use white or yellow  onions  for  this  recipe , you could  also try shallots or  boiler  onions.  The green  tomatoes  are  just  tart  enough  and  flavors  the  curry  nicely.    This  is  not a  heavily spiced  dish, and   flavors are  bright  and  cheery.    Serve  over a  bowl of  rice  and  sit  back and  relax.

Here is  the  recipe  for  Sardine  curry with  Green  Tomatoes.


Canned Sardine Curry

Curry In A Hurry – Sardines With Green Tomatoes

By Syama
This curry made  with  canned  sardines  and  green tomatoes is  easy to make.  Serve  over a  bowl of  rice for a  quick dinner.
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Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Fusion
Servings 4 Servings


  • 2 Can Sardines About 4 oz each Drained
  • 1 Large Green Tomatoe or 2 medium
  • 1 Small Yellow onion
  • 1 -2 Serrano Peppers As Per Taste
  • Few Curry leaves Optional
  • 1 Inch Fresh Ginger
  • 3 -4 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 Tsp Turmeric
  • 1 Pinch Coriander Powder
  • Salt To Taste
  • 1 Tbsp Oil
  • 1/2 Tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 Pinch Fenugreek Seeds
  • 3 - 4 Tbsp Coconut Cream
  • 1/2 C Water


  • Slice the onions fine. Chop the ginger and garlic. Cut the tomatoes into bite size pieces. If you like the curry to be spicy slit or chop the green chilies, otherwise leave it whole.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. When the seeds splutter add the sliced onions, ginger and garlic. Sprinkle a little salt and cook till the onions are translucent. Stir often to prevent it from browning. Add the green chilies and curry leaves. Stir and cook for a minute. Add the turmeric powder and coriander powder. Mix well and slide in the green tomatoes . Close the lid and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, till the tomatoes begin to soften a little.
  • Open the lid and add 1/2 C water followed by the coconut cream. Mix and adjust salt . Reduce heat and bring the curry to a slow simmer.
  • Drain the cans and slowly place the sardines in the curry. Scoop some curry over the sardines to cover them. Avoid stirring the fish. Cover and let the sardines warm though over low heat. Once the curry comes back to a slow boil turn off the heat and rest for few minutes before serving.


You can make these with fresh sardines as well . When using fresh fish cook over medium high heat for 5 to 10 minutes after the fish is added.

Important: Nutrition Values are estimates. Actuals vary based on ingredients and serving size.

Tried this recipe?Mention @Oventales or tag #Oventales on Instagram

Isn’t that simple ?


  • Use  yellow  or  white  onions .
  • Slice  the  onions  as  thin as  possible,  and  sweat  it out  by  adding salt,  do not  brown .
  • If  the  tomatoes  are  not  tart   enough  add  a  few  drops  of   white or red wine  vinegar.
  • Do not  stir  the  canned  sardines  much , they do tend  to  break  easily.
  • If you make  them   fresh , please please  invite me …

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