What are albondigas de sardinas?
In Equatorial Guinea, as in all coastal countries, fish is an important staple of national gastronomy.
Albondigas de sardinas are dumplings of sardine fillets accompanied by a pepper and onion sauce. They have a special place in the cuisine of Equatorial Guinea and are usually served with white rice. This recipe is particularly interesting because it differs from many sardine recipes where they are usually fried as is or grilled like in a number of Mediterranean countries. In this recipe, the skin and bones being removed, these albondigas of sardinas are easier to eat, as the fishy smell and taste are tamed. They can be a good alternative to meatballs.
How to make albondigas de sardinas?
The slightly sticky texture of oily fish such as sardines or mackerel lends itself well to the making of dumplings similar to those made from ground meat and makes it possible to not use eggs to hold them together. The principle remains the same, chop the fillets and combine them with other ingredients to perfume them. Here, the sardine fillets are blanched in a pot of boiling water. Once drained and chopped, the sardines are mixed with garlic, onion and chili pepper. A sticky paste is formed and the fishballs are formed with greased hands. The albondigas de sardinas are then fried for a few minutes in hot oil.
In parallel, the sauce is prepared with onions and bell peppers until they melt. The cooked fish dumplings can then be placed in the sauce to perfectly combine the flavors of the albondigas de sardinas and finish cooking gently. This dish is served hot with white rice as a side dish.
What is the origin of albondigas de sardinas?
The word albondigas comes from the Hispanic Arabic habibi and the classical Arabic bunduqah. Louis del Marmol, historian of the city of Granada, mentions the albondigas in his Descripción general de África (1573). “They sell noodles, almojabanas and albondigas with spices and fried in oil”.
In Spain, both words albondiga and almondiga are used. We find this word in Ladino in the form of mandigas. Equatorial Guinea, because of its geographical position, has been exposed to European settlers since the 15th century. It was the Portuguese navigators who settled there first, then the Spanish in 1777 after the treaty of San Ildefonso which made Spain the new owner of a part of the Portuguese colonies. It is this presence that influenced the cuisine of Equatorial Guinea and popularized albondigas de sardinas in the islands of the country and on the continent.
What are other versions of fish dumpling recipes in the world?
Every port city has at least one fish dumpling recipe, which varies according to taste and local products. The major difference between all these recipes is more on the sides of the preparation and the sauce. Some are breaded, other fried, while others can be dipped in a batter, just like the famous accras de morue (cod fritters) from the West Indies.
Sardine dumplings are common throughout the Mediterranean. In Morocco, rice, cilantro, cumin and paprika are added. The sauce is prepared with tomatoes instead of peppers.
In Sicily, breadcrumbs, parsley, mint, lemon and parmesan are added.
In Spain, pimentons are also added to these meatballs.
In Venice, fish dumplings are called polpette and may contain tuna or cod.
In Africa, the Senegalese prepare dumplings called thiou. They are served with a tomato, bell pepper and hot pepper sauce.
In Asia, there are many fish dumpling recipes usually served in soups such as tahu kok or pempek from Indonesia, youg tau foo or mee pok from Malaysia. The bola-bola in the Philippines and the kaeng khiao wan luk chin pla from Thailand where the fish dumplings are accompanied by a curry.
Of course, the Scandinavians also prepare fish dumplings such as fiskbullar in Sweden and fiskerbollers in Norway. In Sweden, these dumplings are served with mashed potatoes, peas, dill, caviar and shellfish sauce. In Norway, they are served with a bechamel sauce and mashed potatoes.
In the Faroe Islands, dumplings are called knettir and contain mutton fat in addition to ground fish meat.
We encourage you to prepare these delicious sardine dumplings from Equatorial Guinea and enjoy their rich flavors.
- 1 red bell pepper , chopped
- 1 green bell pepper , chopped
- 1 onion , finely chopped
- 1 onion , roughly chopped
- 500 g sardine fillets (fresh)
- 2 red hot peppers (or green)
- 3 cloves garlic
- ¾ cup flour
- Vegetable oil
Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven and fry the coarsely chopped onion for 4 minutes, over medium heat, or until soft and golden brown.
Add the chopped bell peppers and a pinch of salt.
Continue cooking for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Pour this mixture into a mortar and pound until obtaining a paste. Set aside.
Add the chili in a large volume of boiling water for 3 minutes to soften them, then drain.
In another mortar, place the finely chopped onion, garlic and chili pepper and crush the mixture until it is reduced to a paste. Book.
Boil a large amount of lightly salted water in a pot. Add the sardine fillets and cook for 3 minutes.
Drain the sardines and chop them well.
Add the sardines in the second mortar containing the onion, garlic and peppers mixture. Season with salt and mix well with the pestle.
Grease your hands and form dumplings with the sardine paste.
Dredge all the dumplings in the flour.
Heat a large volume of oil in a pan and deep fry the sardines over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until cooked and browned.
Pour the reserved sauce into a large Dutch oven and heat over medium-low heat.
Place the meatballs in this sauce and simmer for 10 minutes covered.
Serve hot with white rice.