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Surinam Sardines in Tomato Sauce

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This meal is a true combination of comfort, simple and tasteful cooking by using cheap yet nutritious ingredients.  

I think this dish belongs in the category 'a poor man's feast'. Sardines, covered in a rich tomato sauce from a can, oh yes a can. Baked with some onions, cooked potatoes, spicy chilies and served with warm rice. It's a typical Surinam dish, my mom used to serve this with either rice and dahl or on a fresh baguette with a cucumber pickle and as for today this is still the way we enjoy this classic.

(serves 2)

  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • 1 can sardines in tomato sauce (Morjon)
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 large cooked potato (or two smaller ones)
  • 2 tbls Sunflower oil
  • 1 Mme Jeannette chili
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cilantro


  1. Rinse rice thoroughly, transfer to a pot (with lid) and add 2 cups of water.
  2. Bring to a simmer, when the water starts boiling cover the pot with a well fitted lid. Make sure no steam escapes! Immediately reduce heat to a minimum. Cook -undisturbed for approximately 10-12 minutes, remove from the heat and let it steam for 3-5 minutes.
  3. While the rice is cooking, clean sardines (this is optional), by removing the small bones. Leave aside, also please keep the sauce from the can. Slice onions and cut potatoes in smaller pieces or slices.
  4. Heat oil in a pot and fry potatoes until they turn slightly brown, remove from the pot and add onion in the pot. Stir fry for a minute or two until lightly golden brown. Add sardines including left-over sauce from the can and gently bake for 2 minutes, now add the potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and leave to cook for about 8-10 minutes, the potatoes will absorb all the tomato sardines juices. Add the Mme Jeanette chili, do not cut into it let it simply steam.
  5. To serve, transfer rice and tomato sardines onto a plate and serve the Mme Jeanette alongside. Do not forget to share the chili! Top with cilantro. 

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