CANS of tuna gathering dust on your shelves? Hui Jun Ng has five quick and easy recipes to transform the humble can of tuna from blah to brilliant.
You’d be hard pressed to find a student who doesn’t have a few cans of tuna in their pantry. After all, this canned variety is affordable, convenient and nutritious. But anyone who’s ever searched for a quick and delicious lunch or snack, will also know that there’s not a lot you can do to spice up a can of tuna… until now.
With these no fuss and budget friendly recipes, you’ll be serving tuna dishes that are good enough for any dinner party table!
Just a note: Tuna cans last anywhere between three to five years unopened, but it has to be used within three days once you’ve opened it. Don’t store your leftover tuna in the can as it can spoil. Put it in a covered bowl or plastic container instead and refrigerate.
Korean tuna pancakes a.k.a Cham-chi-jeon
Recipe adapted from Maangchi
- 150g canned tuna
- 3 tbs onions, diced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 egg
- 1 tbs flour
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 2 tbs oil for frying
- Drain the liquid from the tuna and mix with the remaining ingredients in a big bowl.
- Divide the mixture into 6 portions and roll into patties.
- Heat a non-stick frying pan with the oil.
- Place the tuna patties into the pan.
- When the bottom starts to brown, flip the patties over and cook the other side.
- Serve with soy sauce and hot chili.
Baked potatoes stuffed with tuna
- 4 potatoes
- 95g canned tuna in spring water, drained
- handful of shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 egg
- ¼ of a carrot, chopped
- chives to garnish
- Heat the oven to 200°C.
- Halve the potatoes and scoop out the insides*, leaving the skin on and intact.
- Crack an egg into a bowl.
- Divide the tuna, cheddar cheese and chopped carrots into the potatoes’ cavity.
- Pour in the egg.
- Top up with any remaining tuna chunks.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
*If you don’t want to waste the potato flesh, store it in the refrigerator for a stir-fry the next day, or in a healthy and delicious salad.
Tuna pasta bake
Recipe adapted from Jenny Fanshaw, taste.com.au
- 275g organic penne pasta, or use your preferred type of pasta
- 40g butter
- 2 tbs plain flour
- 2 cups reduced-fat milk
- 1 ½ cups reduced-fat grated pizza cheese*
- 380g of canned tuna in spring water, drained
*You can use other cheeses as a substitute but I like using pizza cheese as it melts really well.
- Preheat oven to 200°C.
- Grease an ovenproof dish.
- Following the packet instructions, boil the pasta until tender.
- Reserve about ¼ cup of the pasta’s cooking liquid.
- Heat butter in a non-stick pan until melted. Add flour, stir until bubbling and then remove pan from the heat.
- Stir in milk until combined and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the mixture thickens.
- Remove pan from heat and stir in ½ cup of cheese. Sprinkle with pepper.
- Add the pasta, tuna, reserved cooking liquid and mix until well combined.
- Place mixture into the greased ovenproof dish and top with remaining cheese.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden brown.
Modified Chinese fried rice
The secret to tasty fried rice is in the sauce. Get that right and you can add any leftover ingredients you like. In this recipe, I used bacon instead of Chinese pork sausages.
- 185g canned tuna in spring water, drained
- 1 cup jasmine rice, cooked
- 2 tbs onions, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup mixed corn and peas
- 1 cup bacon, chopped
- ¾ carrot, chopped
- 2 eggs
- ½ tsp fish sauce
- 3 tbs soy sauce
- 1 tsp oyster sauce
- pepper, basil and oregano to garnish
- Cook the jasmine rice in a rice cooker. Cook the peas, corn and carrots in a pot of boiling water until tender.
- Fry the garlic and onions until golden brown and then remove from the pan.
- Stir the eggs with fish sauce and ½ teaspoon of soy sauce.
- Fry the egg mixture in the same pan you used to cook the garlic and onions. Once cooked, remove the egg and cut up.
- Add the vegetables to the pan. Add the cooked garlic and onions and fry for 2 minutes.
- Add the tuna and bacon and fry for 3 minutes.
- Combine the cooked rice with the remaining soy sauce and oyster sauce. Toss and add to the pan.
- Add the fried eggs.
- Sprinkle with pepper, basil and oregano then mix and serve immediately.
If you’re hankering for a tuna sandwich or planning to throw a party on a budget, there are plenty of ways to make bread and tuna fancy.
- Bread stampers and cutters to make your sandwiches look prettier
- Flavored tuna, Thai red chili tuna for example tastes infinitely better than the plain oil or springwater kind
- Transforming your sandwiches into french toast, or adding extra ingredients like corn, chopped tomatoes or grated cheese.