If the amount of sardine tins inside my luggage after each Lankan holiday is of any witness, you’ll agree that there’s nothing that tops Lankan tinned sardines aka tin maalu. Packed in brine water, as opposed to oil or tomato sauce as in most other countries, I am pretty sure every Lankan would agree how different and delicious Sri Lankan sardines taste! Sardines are used widely in Sri Lankan cuisine – ranging as a filling for short eats like cutlets, patties, rolls, fish buns, or made into sandwiches or toasts for a quick breakfast, or as a spicy curry perfect to accompany a kiribath or even as a fresh tangy salad like which I am going to share today.
This recipe is perfect for rainy days like today where you don’t want to fuss around too much in the kitchen but still crave something spicy, tangy and flavorful!
- 1 Tin of Sri Lankan sardines
- 5 Small red onions or shallots, finely sliced
- 1 Small tomato, cubed
- 2 Green chilies, sliced
- Salt, pepper & lime to taste
- Mix the finely sliced small red onions until the onion rings separates into individual rings.
- Add in lime, salt and a generous pinch of pepper and mix well. Set this aside for a few minutes so that the onions ‘pickles’ in the salt and lemon juice. This method will tone down the pungency and also deepen the purple hue of the onions. If you like the flavor of raw onions but not so much the after taste and the pungent smell that lingers, this is the tip for you!
- Next mix in the green chilies and the tomatoes and mix well.
- Lastly, remove the bones off the sardines and break into large chunks and mix with the onion & tomato mix.
- It is best served chilled as a salad on its own, in between two slices of buttered bread or as a rice puller for a rice and curry meal.
- I prefer using small red onions or shallots for this dish. But if you are only able to find the usual large bombay onion, that works just as well.
- This IS a dish that is best made with Laknan sardines. But if you really can’t find it, you could replace it with sardines that are tinned in brine or oil, but NEVER tomato sauce. Trust me on this one!