SARDINE RICE BALLS | AYAM BRAND

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.

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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!

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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.

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SARDINES RICE BALLS

Serves 16 balls

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Difficulty: 2/5

Diet Notes: Dairy-Free

INGREDIENTS

  • 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

Toppings

  • 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

DIRECTIONS

  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.

NOTES

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.

MORE TO KNOW

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,

Ally

SUPER BASIC SEAFOOD PLATTER WITH EGGLESS MAYONNAISE

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Every time I reminisce about winter holidays, the first thing that came to my mind was the most basic, simple and fresh seafood platter at The Sign Of The Black Faced Sheep restaurant. What made it more indelible was having a girls day out with Teresa, my mum-to-be in two months time! We love the simplicity about the restaurant’s interpretation towards their seafood platter, using the natural sweetness of the freshly caught seafood by preparing them in less refined ways. We were regaled with excellent chilled, and smoked seafood on a bed of garden greens, a mayonnaise dip and a homemade bun to go with. Dishes that were artfully crafted this way leaves a deep impression anytime!

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Today I am going to share with you this “Super Basic Seafood Platter with Eggless Mayonnaise”. The King Salmon from Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand was delivered by the lovely folks from The Meat Club actually got me excited to recreate this platter I missed . fondly. This rustic meal comprises some of the biggest names of the “High-Fat Foods” family that may ring a bell with you! They are salmon, coconut oil, pine nuts and cashew nuts. With this harmony of good fats, they are incredibly nutritious for your hair, skin and nails.

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To begin, I sprinkled a wee bit of Himalayan pink sea salt on this orange, richly marbled wood roasted salmon and pan seared it with coconut oil over medium heat. Achieving a golden, crispy texture on the outside with an orange-pink undertone requires attention and patience- you need to keep a eye on the salmon and cook the corners evenly.

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Don’t waste any drop of the fragrant, orange oil. Once you’ve plated the salmon, pour the remaining oil into a dish for bread dipping!

Finally, THE EGGLESS MAYONNAISE! Using cashew nuts to replace eggs in this veggieboy-approved dressing recipe, both enriches it with extra fat and and a desired smooth consistency. Even the most straight forward, thrown-together dressing makes this seafood platter feel a lot more manageable to prepare for healthy quick meals.

There you go, a belly-filling, super basic seafood platter that pairs really well with a glass of sparkling lime water!

Tip

To test doneness of the salmon (even if they are golden on the exterior) use a toothpick and slide in gently. Touch it with your lips or your finger tips. If its warm, the salmon is almost done. If it’s still cool, give it another 4 minutes. You can also check the colour at both ends of the salmon for the doneness. 

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SUPER BASIC SEAFOOD PLATTER WITH EGGLESS MAYONNAISE (serves 1)

GLUTEN-FREE | DAIRY-FREE

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 17 minutes

Ingredients

  • 200g King Salmon, Natural, Wood Smoked (The Meat Club)

  • 5 fresh grey prawns, deshell & devein

  • 50g salad greens 

  • 2 tbsp organic raw virgin coconut oil (Ceres Organics), also available in Cold Storage supermarket

  • 2 slices multiseed gluten-free bread (Swissbake) also available in Cold Storage supermarket

  • 1 tsp pine nuts (NuVitality)

  • 4 Spanish pitted queen green olives

  • Pinch of Himalayan pink sea salt

  • Pinch of cracked black pepper

  • ½ lemon, sliced

Dressing

  • 50g cashew kernels (Ceres Organics)

  • 3 tsp lemon juice

  • ½ tsp organic Dijon mustard

  • Pinch of cracked black pepper

  • 40ml water

Directions

  • Boil 3 cups water in a saucepan over medium high heat, gently lay prawns in and cook for 1 minute 30 seconds, till they turn bright red. Transfer to a bowl with a handful of ice cubes to chill. 

  • Heat a non-stick fry pan over medium high heat. Season salmon with a pinch of sea salt on both sides.

  • Add coconut oil on the pan, gently lay salmon skin side down. Cook for 3 minutes, until skin is crispy. Flip over to other side, turn down to medium heat, cook it for 8-10 minutes until fish is opaque all the way up. 

  • Transfer salmon to a plate and let it cool slightly. Pour remaining coconut oil into a small dish for bread dipping.

  • Add all dressing ingredients into a blender and blend till smooth and creamy. For a thinner consistency, add 1 tbsp each time and blend again till desired. 

  • Pour water away from the bowl of chilled prawns, season them with a pinch of black pepper.

  • Assemble salad greens, pan-seared salmon, chilled prawns, bread slices, dipping oil, lemon slices and olives, on a plate. Drizzle dressing over salmon and sprinkle pine nuts over. Squeeze lemon over chilled prawns and enjoy! 

With loads of love Xx

Ally