Pica-Pica de Locrio (Spicy Sardines and Rice)

This is one of my favorite comfort foods 🙂 If you like this dish, keep these ingredients on hand because these same ingredients are used in other dishes, though the flavor is different in each dish.

One tip, even though you CAN chop large pieces of onion, celery, olives: DON’T! Flavors are more intense if you take a few moments to dice small… it’s like the added time equates to love in the dish. People take my recipe and use same ingredients, but then say it doesn’t taste same; the celery stalks cut into three pieces, large hunks of onion, whole olives tell the reason. Take the time to put some love into your cooking, it’s worth it! 

Time: Approx. 30min once you have experience making it.
Serves: 8 – serve with Cabbage Salad

You will need:

  • Wide (approx. 12-14″), shallow (approx. 4″) pan. I use stainless steel pan, works best with this dish to create the concon (prized lightly brown crunchy rice at the bottom of pan).
  • Rice (Chaval) – approx. 4 cups
  • Water – approx. 6 cups to cook (additional water to wash the rice)
  • Oil – 6 Tbls.
  • Spicy Sardines – 4 cans (3.75oz – brands vary in size, need approx. 12-15oz)
    or add a few splashes of Louisiana Hot Sauce or a small bit of red chilies (Lal Mirchi) to regular sardines
  • Tomato Paste (Tamater)- 4 Tbls.
    or skip the tomato paste and use Sardines in Tomato Sauce with a splash of hot sauce
  • Onion (Pyaz) 1 large or 2 small-medium, diced small
  • Garlic (Lahsun) 4 large or 6 medium cloves, minced
  • Red/Green Bell Peppers (Shimla Mirch) 1/2 each, or 1 Red Pepper, chopped
  • Celery (Ajwain) 2 stalks diced small. Celery seed (Ajumd) can be used
  • Cilantro (Hara Dhania) handful, chopped = Coriander is the seed/more spicy, Cilantro is the leaf/more mild flavor – I prefer Cilantro but coriander (Dhania) can be used instead)
  • Green Olives (Jaitun) half handful, chopped small
  • Fish or Chicken Bouillion – 1 large soft cube
  • Adobo – 1 or 2 Tbls.; if you cannot find this in store, make your own (ingredients here)
  1. Put 2Tbls oil in pot over medium heat (6) – or if using plain sardines in oil, add that oil to pot.
  2. Add onion, garlic, sardines. Add additional oil if needed to keep from sticking.
  3. When onions become translucent, break up sardines into pieces, add peppers, celery, bouillion, and adobo.
  4. Add water, tomato paste (and hot sauce), olives, cilantro; bring water to a full boil.
  5. Wash rice and add to pot. (water should just cover the rice, if there’s more – ladle it out); turn heat to medium-low (4)
  6. Keep close eye, do not stir (stirring makes sticky rice).
  7. Let water boil off.
  8. Turn heat to low (2) when the water is gone.
  9. Fill cooking spoon with 4 Tbls of oil and drizzle over rice; stir once.
  10. Cover (do NOT peek throughout cooking time)
  11. Cook 25min.
  12. Remove rice, then remove concon (crunchy rice on bottom); keep separate so concon stays crunchy.

Serves 8


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