In the seafood universe, sardines are surely not one of those popular ones to yearn for. If the idea of eating whole sardines make you gag and put down your fork immediately, try to think of ways to hide it. But where? In rice balls! No scary bones and skin are in sight, and people naturally pick up their chopsticks asking for more. Simply dress them up with a dollop of vegan mayonnaise and sprinkle bonito flakes for a classy, homely presentation with minimal effort.


Ayam Brand’s Brisling Sardines in sunflower oil are soft tiny fishes caught in the icy waters of North Atlantic Ocean during prime winter catching season. Living in the extreme cold condition makes freshly caught sustainable sardines fattier, juicier and richer in Omega-3s. Out of all types of sardines under their range, I personally preferred this selection of sardines from Scottish Seas, they taste less fishy which is a perfect to create a delectable dish once synergised with other core ingredients. Check out my taste test on other selections right here on IGTV!


This Sardine Rice Balls recipe I am sharing with you today is inspired by the Japanese “Mottainai" lifestyle, it can be translated as “Don’t Waste” and expressed when resources like food is being wasted. Instead of forcing yourself to finish a can of sardines to hit your recommended daily intake of omega-3s, empty the entire can of contents and mixed all the other Japanese elements together. Sardines will never be wasted anymore. Also, these flavourful rice balls are shaped precisely at the right size to pop them into your mouth.

Looking for something dead-simple to host a party, pack in a lunchbox for your dear ones, or to snack as your work? This is a game changer to how you look at sardines. Unbelievable.



Serves 16 balls

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Difficulty: 2/5

Diet Notes: Dairy-Free


  • 1 can Brisling Sardine in Sunflower Oil (Ayam Brand)

  • 240g natural mixed 18 grains (Green Farm)

  • 750 ml filtered water

  • 1 cup Japanese cucumber, diced

  • 1/2 cup Japanese pickled daikon (Jinan)

  • 2 Nori sheets (Kirei Temaki), cut into thin strips

  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

  • 4 tbsp sesame oil

  • Pinch of cracked black pepper


  • 5g shaved bonito flakes

  • Vegan Mayonnaise

    • 100g baked cashew nuts (soaked for at least 2 hours, or overnight)

    • 60ml avocado oil (Grove)

    • 50ml filtered water

    • 1tbsp lemon juice

    • 1tbsp organic apple cider vinegar (Bragg)

    • 1/2 garlic clove, grated

    • Pinch of Himalayan sea salt

Kitchen accessories

  • Disposable kitchen gloves

  • Blender


  1. Soak mixed grains in a bowl of water for 5 minutes. Drain, rinse and gently scrub mix grains twice till water turns less murky. Pour 750ml water to the mix grains in a sauce pot, and cook for 30 minutes over medium high heat. Stir rice grains occasionally to prevent them from sticking to the base of the pot. Alternatively, you can use a rice cooker and follow its cooking settings.

  2. Use a pair of chopsticks to fluff cooked mixed grains and let it cool down for 10 minutes.

  3. To prepare vegan mayonnaise, drain water from soaking baked cashews. Add all ingredients into the blender. Start blending at medium speed to break up the ingredients. Switch to high speed for last 10 seconds to achieve a smooth, thick consistency. Add 1 tbsp of water each time and blend again for a desired thin consistency.

  4. In a large mixing bowl/salad bowl, empty the contents of Ayam Brand Brisling Sardine in Sunflower oil. Use the back of a fork to mince sardines.

  5. Scoop mixed grains into mixing bowl, and add in all ingredients. Wear a disposable glove on your dominant hand, while the other hand supports the mixing bowl. Scoop up sardines from the bottom and mix with the other ingredients until it is evenly combined.

  6. Use a tablespoon and take about 2 heaping scoops of rice mixture, roll into a rice ball and set on a serving platter. Repeat till entire rice mixture is used up. Take 1/2 teaspoon of vegan mayonnaise and gently drop on each rice ball, sprinkle with bonito flakes. Alternatively, you can sprinkle bonito flakes over rice balls, and serve mayonnaise aside as a dipping sauce for the rice balls.


For any remaining vegan mayonnaise, store them in an air-tight glass jar, and refrigerate for later consumption. As it does not have a long shelf life, it is advisable to store up to 3 days. You can also enjoy this as a hummus dip for tortilla corn chips or pretzels.


Benefits of sardines:

  • A budget friendly protein source that is highly nutritious, packed with Omega-3s. 1 can of sardines equates to over half of the recommended intake of omega-3.

  • Sardines provide EPA and DHA fats which are brilliant for brain, heart function, and anti-inflammatory.

  • Soft edible sardine bones is a great dose of calcium in a highly absorbable form. It helps to strengthen our bones and lowers the risk of osteoporosis.

  • Sardines are considered one of the safest fishes with low mercury level, and sustainably farmed.

  • Helps to maintain healthy and radiant skin at the cellular level in skins cells.

Lots of love,