Tinned fish is so hot right now and we’ve got a great recipe from half Chinese, half Portuguese chef and one half of Two Hot Asians, Ana Da Costa, that’ll really showcase those sardines you’ve got sitting on your shelves. Her spicy sardine empadas are a twist on the on the savoury meat pie that’s popular in Portugal and Brazil, with Ana using tinned sardines “as an ode to Portugal”. As she explains, “tinning has been practised for many centuries as a way of preserving food over long periods of time without refrigeration. And for the Portuguese, tinned fish is not just your latest internet food trend, it’s a centuries-old tradition.” Her recipe makes 10-12 empadas, and here’s what you need to do.


For the dough:
150g plain flour
50g butter
50ml water
1 tbsp lard
Pinch of salt

For the filling:
2 mild red chillis
2 red onions
3 cloves of garlic
2 tins of sardines in olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt

Foil tart/muffin cases
1 egg, beaten


1. Add flour into a bowl and slowly rub in the butter. Add the lard, salt and water and mix well until it comes together. Knead the dough for a few minutes, then wrap and chill it in the fridge for 1 hour.

2. With a stick blender or a food processor, blend the chillis, red onions and garlic with the reserved oil from the tinned sardines.

3. Over a medium heat, pan-fry the sardine fillets for a few minutes – as the sardines are coated in oil, you shouldn’t need to add more to the pan. Lightly mash them with the back of your spatula. Set the sardines aside.

4. Add the chilli mixture to the same pan, add the smoked paprika, salt and sugar, and keep stirring to cook off the sauce for 2-3 minutes. Add the sardines and mix until well combined.

5. Divide the dough in half and roll each half to 2mm thickness. On one of the halves, use a cookie cutter or a glass to cut circles big enough to cover your tart cases completely. On the other rolled out half of the dough, cut smaller discs with a cutter big enough to cover the top of the case.

6. Line each case with the larger disc and fill it with the sardine mixture. Put the smaller lid on and press the edges to close. You can use water to help you seal.

7. Brush all empada pies with beaten egg, make a hole in the middle to let the steam off, and bake the pies in a preheated ovenf or 15 minutes at 190C.