• 1 kilo of fresh sardines (small ones)
  • 3-5 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice (depending on preference rawness and amount of acid to taste)
  • 1 red chili
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • fresh herbs to taste: mint, coriander, Thai basil, Vietnamese coriander / Rau ram, etc. Any additional vegetable, like lettuce and cucumber
  • roasted peanuts, chopped
  • dried fried onions (optional)
  • rice paper
  • prawn crackers, cassava crackers or Vietnamese sesame rice crackers / Banh trang me (optional)

Tamarinde peanut sauce

  • 100 ml water
  • 75 g of sugar
  • 50 g tamarind (to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (to taste)
  • 1 bird’s eye chilli or red chili, sliced
  • roasted peanuts, chopped


  1. Fillet the sardines by removing the head and spine, do not remove the skin. Carefully clean the sardines and let drain well.
  2. Place the sardines in a large bowl and add about 3 tablespoons of vinegar. Stir well and leave the sardines approximately 10 to 20 minutes in the vinegar. Remove the moisture. If you want less rawness, squeeze in a colander the moisture out of the sardines. Place the sardines back in the cleaned bowl and season with 2 to 3 tablespoons of vinegar and mix well. Let stand for a few minutes again. Remove the liquid.
  3. Cut the chili into large pieces and grind it roughly with the garlic clove. Add the chili with the garlic and onions to the fish and stir.
  4. For the dipping sauce, dissolve the sugar and the tamarind in the water. Press the tamarind pulp from the seeds with a fork or chopsticks. Remove the seeds and any fibers from the pan and let cool. Add bird’s-eye chili or red chili and fish sauce. Garnish generously with roasted peanuts and save some for the fish salad.
  5. Chop the herbs coarsely and spread over the fish. Garnish with roasted peanuts and dried fried onions.
  6. Roll on a rice paper some fish salad, with extra fresh herbs, and dip in the tamarind peanut sauce. If you want to use crackers you can put some fish salad on a piece of crackers, or crumle some crackers on the fish salad.