Jul. 8, 2016

Try These Sardines with Breadcrump and Ginger Stuffing! Delicious!

Welcome back!

I hope you have had a good week and have enjoyed your time off with some good food and drink! Glad for you!  This week, we will be talking "fish"!

Do you love sardines but not so keen on the bones that go with them?  Well. I might be able to help  because we are making boneless stuffed sardines! Yieeeh!  This way of cooking sardines is one of the delicacies of the Fantes from the coastal parts of Ghana. This particular method allows you to completely remove the central bone so that you can stuff the internal cavity with a delicious stuffing of your choice.  The Fantes usually make a ginger paste made up of ginger, peppers and onions and my version here is a variation on that theme (ginger and breadcrumbs paste). The result is a quiet enjoyment of freshly fried stuffed  sardines without any bones in sight.  Sounds good?  This is also a unique and delicious way of cooking fresh sardines for any gathering!  We usually refer to this recipe as “self-contained” because the fish comes with its own stuffing so that you don’t have to make a separate sauce to go with it, making it ideal for picnics and outings. Serve with breads and salads and other accompaniments such as Jollof Rice and  Kenkey or even fried Yam or better still, Fante Kenkey which is what this special fried fish is made for! To make this dish, this is what you need to do:-

Difficulty and servings:

 Moderately easy, serves 6

 Preparation and Cooking times:

 Preparation time:  40 minutes: Cooking time:  30 minutes, plus 10 minutes marinating time

For the stuffing, you will need:

 1 large thumb of Ginger, peeled  washed and chopped into smaller pieces

2 or 3 medium Hot Peppers or Chilies, to suit your taste

1 large Onion, sliced

6 slices Toast, grated (or 4 heap tbs of Breadcrumbs)

1 Fish Stock cube, crumbled

Water to bind mixture

Salt to taste

For the Sardines, you will need:

12 fresh medium Sardines, scales removed and washed

150ml Vegetable Oil for frying

A sprinkle of toasted Egushi (Melon Seeds) or toasted Sliced Almonds for garnishing (optional) or

Slices of freshly cut Lemons for garnishing (optional)


  1. To make the stuffing, pulse together the ginger, peppers, onion, toast, fish stock cube in a blender and bind with just enough water to make a firm but coarse stuffing.  Add the salt, mix well together and divide into 6 portions and set aside.
  2. To prepare the sardines, wash and place sardines on a chopping board and remove scales by holding each sardine firmly and carefully using a sharp knife to stroke the scales in an upward motion.
  3. When all scales are removed, make a shallow diagonal slit on each side of the skin to help marinate. Now, cut fish gently beneath the head without cutting the head off and without cutting through the centre bone. Turn fish and repeat the same action on the other side.  Cut the tail fin off.
  4. Loosen the flesh around the centre bone by gently squeezing the flesh to release it from the bone. Then, hold the head and tail of the fish and gently pull the bone out from the head end.  Remove any remaining bones and season the inside and skin with salt and place on a plate. Repeat Step 4 with all the other sardines.  
  5. Stuffing the sardines, Now stuff each sardine with the stuffing mixture made earlier, making sure not to over stuff. Leave in the fridge on a platter for about 10 minutes for salt and stuffing to infuse fish. Fry fish spaced out in a spacious non-stick frying pan, in shallow oil, on medium high heat, until each side is dark brown but not burnt. Drain, cool and garnish with toasted Egushi (Melon Seeds) or toasted sliced almonds and slices of lemon if using. Serve hot or cold.

Monica’s Tips:

Once fish is stuffed with mixture, it can be fried, grilled or barbecued and is delicious hot or cold. Can be individually wrapped in foil when grilling or barbecuing. Serve with hot Kenkey, (a stiff fermented corn-meal) buttered bread slices, warmed pita bread, rice or salad at picnics and barbecues. Because of the stuffing, when frying, barbecuing, or grilling, turn only sparingly so that the stuffing does not fall apart. This recipe is not suitable for deep frying or cooking in a deep fat fryer.

 I would like to know how you get on when you make this boneless sardine dish.  Please drop me a line with your pictures, if possible, through www.africaonyourplate.simplesite.com

Happy entertaining!

Monica Serwah Busia