Use the Tin of Sardines in Your Pantry for This Simple, Quick Pupu

Sheldon Simeon makes the simple, delicious Filipino treat and two other dishes on this week’s installment of Chefs at Home.

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Sardine Pupu
Photo: Kevin J. Miyazaki

Having tinned fish in your pantry is always a good idea, since you can turn it into all kinds of meals on the fly, from quick pasta recipes to tuna salad. In this week's installment of Chefs at Home, chef and cookbook author Sheldon Simeon turns tinned sardines into sardine pupu, which he writes is "a simple, prototypically Filipino treat." The quick dish is from his cookbook Cook Real Hawai'i, and over the course of the three-part episode, he prepares two other recipes from the book as well—blistered shishito peppers with furikake ranch and pancit, Filipino stir-fried noodles. Keep reading so you can find out how to make all three dishes at home, and follow along with the videos below.

Sardine Pupu

"Pupu's kind of generalized terms for appetizers or small plates that you share during a meal or in the beginning of a meal here in Hawaii," Simeon says. And this one uses one of his "favorite things in the world, canned sardines." After making a simple lemon oil and chile pepper water, you move on to prepping your onions and sardines. Slice the onions really thin and soak them in ice water, and reserve the oil from the sardines to use during cooking.

Heat up the reserved oil in the pan and add in garlic and gochugaru. Once the garlic is lightly browned, add in the sardines and deglaze the pan with shoyu and apple cider vinegar. When they're cooked through, add them to a platter, give them a quick season, and add the drained onions on top. Finish the dish off with the chile pepper water and lemon oil, along with a little more cracked pepper.

"This is a dish that you can't mess up," he says.

Blistered Shishitos with Furikake Ranch and Crispy Quinoa

Next up is blistered shishito peppers. Start by frying up the cooked quinoa (make sure it's well-drained) in a high-sided pot, and then transfer it to a pan lined with paper towels so it can drain. For the shishitos themselves, you'll want to use a ripping-hot pan so they get nice and charred. Make sure you do this in a well-ventilated area, too, since things might get a little smoky.

Once the peppers are done, you're all set to plate. Get them on a platter with the ranch dressing, and season everything with garlic salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. The furikake and crispy fried quinoa go on top for the finishing touch.

"They're smoky, sweet, [and have] so much texture from the furikake and the crispy quinoa," he says as he tries a pepper. "Just perfect."

Pancit (Filipino Stir-Fried Noodles)

Simeon wraps up the episode with pancit, which he says is "the near and dear dish to every Filipino's heart." While there are plenty of different versions of the dish, the style he's preparing in this video is from his dad's side of the family. It's packed with three different proteins—chicken, pork, and shrimp—as well as tons of vegetables, including shiitake mushrooms, carrots, and Napa cabbage.

Get all of your protein and vegetables prepped, and make the sauce for the noodles—a mix of chicken stock, oyster sauce, fish sauce, ground annatto, and instant dashi powder. After that, you're all set to start cooking. In either a wok or a very large skillet, heat up the oil, and then add in the garlic and proteins. You'll gradually add in ingredients as you cook, reserving the cabbage and scallions for the last phase. To plate the noodles, get all of them on a platter and top with the fried garlic. Don't forget the calamansi wedges (lemon wedges work too) and hot sauce for serving, either.

Come back for next week's installment of Chefs at Home featuring Tyler Malek.

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