Kitchen by TILAH

Sardines in Black Pepper Soy Sauce (Sardin Masak Kicap Lada Hitam)

Hello Cooks!!  I know that I have posted this recipe on my page in FB, but since I now have the step by step pictures taken, I should put it up on the blog.  Not everybody is experienced in cooking.  I remembered the time when I first started learning how to cook  at quite a young age.  Things were not as simple as I had thought.  For a person who needs everything to be specified in precise detail, I kept wondering if what I was doing was correct and if I had followed and understood the recipe correctly.

Firstly, reading and trying to cook by referring to the recipe without pictures, leaves a lot of unanswered questions for an amateur or a beginner. How to know if the oil has separated? What colour should it be? Darker or lighter? How should this look like? How should that look like? How does the cooked product look like? How do I do this? How do I do that? Of course, at that time, I had my "walking cooking encyclopaedia" at home who is also my beloved mother so I got to bombard her with questions whenever I was in doubt . Secondly, not everybody is blessed with a mother, or a sister, or anyone else who can teach or guide them on how to cook.

The least I could do therefore, is to try and provide step by step pictures in order to help answer as much questions as I can for amateurs and beginners in cooking, except of course, most of the dishes in this blog are Asian food or more specifically, Malay and sometimes Indian food. But then again, maybe non-Asians and people of other race would like to try and cook something different once in a while just as I would have surf the net in search of recipes from other countries or people of other cultures. So hopefully, the step by step pictures provided in this blog are somewhat, if not completely, helpful.

It has been quite a good few days since I went to the market for my fishy business ;p but my all time faithful cans of sardines are always on standby waiting patiently for me to greet them and then sacrifice them.

This time round I increase the amount of gravy so that everybody in my family could have an extra helping of the gravy for some "licking off the finger" pleasures. Yes, we are gross because yes, the gravy taste real good.

I also did not fry my sardines this time.  Nope, no particular reason.  I did it just for the fun of not frying.  Hehe...actually...I  needed my cooking to be done chop-chop.  As usual, running around the house with two boys chasing after me, leaves me no choice but to try and speed up whatever I need done most of the time.

I usually like to fry the sardines till slightly crisp on the outside using a covered pan. Sardines taste and smell real good when fried. You will have to cover the pan however as the sardines will pop ferociously whilst frying. A good alternative would be to cover yourselves if you don't cover your pan...hehe. ;p

However, when I do get to fry my sardines, I get to use my favourite "Happy Call" pan cos I don't have to overturn the sardines whilst frying, I just need to overturn the pan.  Saves me a lot of hassle!  Then, use the oil from the frying of the sardines to cook up the sauce.  It will taste marvellous!!

Ok, so here are the ingredients:

2 stalks of lemon grass - cut into two and crushed
2 cans of sardines
2 large onions (finely sliced)
2 cm ginger (finely sliced)
4 garlics (finely sliced)
2 stalks lemon grass (crushed)
2 green chillies (slit into halves and cut into twos)
2 tomatoes (sliced into fours)
½ to 1 teacup sweet soya sauce - depending on how much more or less you prefer (I used “Habhal's Kicap Manis Cap Kipas Udang”)
crushed or ground black pepper to taste (crushed black pepper taste better)
salt to taste
half to one small bowl water


1. Heat up oil in pan and add in crushed lemon grass. 

2.  Add in the sliced onions, garlics and ginger.

3. Saute until fragrant.

4.  Add in the green chillies.

5.  Stir fry for about two to three minutes.

6. If you had chosen to fry your sardines earlier on, you will just need to add in the sardine sauce for now. If you did not, you can now add in both the sardines and the sauce into the pan.

7.  Add in the small bowl of water.  Stir.  Also add in salt to taste.  Stir.

8.  Add in the sweet soya sauce.

9.  Stir.

10.  Add in the ground black pepper or crushed black pepper and stir.

11.  Now add in the tomatoes.  This would also be the time to add in your fried sardines.  Leave to simmer for two to three minutes and stir every now and then until the gravy slightly thickens.

12.  Off fire and serve.

Best eaten with white rice and shut the world out!  Happy Kitchen-ing!!


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