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4 ‘Leveled-up’ Canned Fish Recipes For Home-cooked Meals On A Budget

4 ‘Leveled-up’ Canned Fish Recipes For Home-cooked Meals On A Budget
Image by @azerbaijan_stock / Freepik

There are a number of reasons to skip meat these days: abstinence, for the Catholic faithful, with the Lenten season here; health, because frequent consumption of meat can raise blood cholesterol and make heart disease worse; or financial, with the price of pork, chicken, and beef soaring, along with other prime commodities.

Thank goodness you still have your stock of canned fish in your pantry. Even better, you can turn these into tastier homecooked-style ulam by simply adding some vegetables or sauce. Check out these recipes and try them for meatless Fridays, or any day!

Ginataang Canned Mackarel


You can now make your favorite ginataang isda at a more affordable price without compromising its quality and taste. Canned mackerel is a convenient substitute for fresh mackerel tuna or tulingan for this flavorful dish.

To make this ginataang canned mackerel recipe by Kusina ni Teds, you will need:

3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 head of chopped garlic

1 chopped onion

1 tablespoon shrimp paste or bagoong alamang

2 cans of 425-gram canned mackerel in oil

20 pieces kamias, dried

1 cup coconut milk or kakang gata

1 cup malunggay leaves

Salt, ground pepper, chili to taste

On a heated pan, sauté garlic, onion and bagoong alamang. Add the canned mackerel and dried kamias. Let it boil, then simmer until the broth from the canned mackerel is reduced to half. Add kakang gata and simmer until almost dry. For the final touch, add malunggay leaves, and season with salt, ground pepper and chili.

Canned Tuna Sisig


Sisig is a famous dish loved by many Filipinos. The original recipe calls for pork belly and pig ears and can be quite meticulous to make. Replace pork with canned tuna for a tastier and healthier version.

To make this sisig recipe by Tweety from A Yellow Bowl, you will need:

1 to 2 pieces of chopped red onion

1 clove of minced garlic

1 tablespoon of oil

2 cans of tuna flakes in vegetable oil

1 to 2 pieces of calamansi

3 to 4 tablespoons of vinegar (adjust to your taste)

1 to 2 tablespoons of soy sauce (adjust to your taste)

Salt, pepper and cayenne to taste

Use a medium pan and sauté half of your minced garlic and chopped onion in oil. Wait until the onion caramelizes. Add the canned tuna, vinegar, soy sauce, and calamansi, and season with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Fry until the tuna flakes turn crunchy and dry. Add mayonnaise, mix well, top with an egg, and serve.

“Mayonnaise makes the sisig richer, creamier and tastier. If you don’t like mayonnaise, you may omit it. If the sisig seems too dry to your liking, add a teaspoon of oil,” suggests Tweety.

Sardines Caldereta



 This budget-friendly caldereta dish may not be beefy like the usual one, but it’s still hearty and appetizing, and goes well with a cup of steamed rice.

To make this calderetang sardines recipe by Lailaine Manalo from Kawaling Pinoy, you will need:

2 cans of sardiness in tomato sauce, drained, but reserve the sauce

¼ cup canola oil

1 potato, cut into medium-size cubes

1 carrot, sliced

½ red and ½ green bell pepper, sliced

1 chopped onion

2 cloves of minced garlic

2 minced Thai chili peppers

¼ cup green olives

Salt and pepper

In a pan over medium heat, add oil and cook the potatoes until lightly brown. Set aside and repeat the same step with the carrots. Remove excess oil and cook the bell peppers for about 30 seconds, then set aside. Sauté garlic and onions. When the onions have caramelized, add chili peppers, the tomato sauce from the sardines, and a cup of water. Boil and stir. Put in the potatoes and carrots, season with salt and pepper, and wait until the vegetables are tender. Mix in the fish and bell peppers, then cook for a few more minutes before serving.

Salmon Patties


In a typical Pinoy household, burger patties are served with a cup of rice. Even though meat is not the main ingredient in this recipe, it’s still a flavorful version with the use of salmon in can.

To make this salmon patties recipe by Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes, you will need:

2 cans of salmon, drained and flaked

1 large sliced bread, crust removed and shredded

3 tablespoons chopped green onion

1 clove of minced garlic

1 tablespoon of chopped dill

3 tablespoons of chopped green bell pepper

1 tablespoon of flour

1 egg

½ teaspoon of sweet paprika

1 teaspoon of lemon zest

3 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt and pepper

In a large bowl, mix together the salmon, bread, onion, garlic, dill, bell pepper, flour, egg, paprika, lemon, and two tablespoons of the canned salmon broth. Season with salt and pepper. When the mixture is ready, form patties the size of your palm and fry over medium high heat using a large skillet. Cook until both sides are lightly brown, then serve with rice.


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