1 onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons white vinegar
250 g sardines, filleted
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
4 limes, juiced
6 perilla leaves, sliced
6 fish mint leaves or green mint leaves, sliced
6 Vietnamese mint leaves, sliced
1 teaspoon fried red Asian shallots
1 teaspoon fried garlic chips
2 teaspoon garlic oil
2 tablespoons nuoc mam cham (dipping fish sauce)
1 tablespoon roasted peanuts, crushed
1 chilli, sliced
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
In a small bowl combine the white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of sugar, stir until sugar has dissolved then add sliced onions. Allow the onions to sit for 15 minutes then drain discarding the liquid.
In a large bowl combine the salt, lime juice and the remaining sugar. Stir until sugar has dissolved, now add the sardines then allow to marinate for 10 minutes. Within 10 minutes the sardines would have been cured from the acids in the lime juice getting slightly discoloured.
Gently squeeze the sardines until there is no juice dripping from them then transfer to another bowl - discard the liquid. Add all the sliced herbs, pickled onion, fried Asian shallots, fried garlic chips, garlic oil and dress with dipping fish sauce.
Mix well, then transfer to a platter. Garnish with crushed peanuts and chilli.