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How to use Asian dried anchovies?

I love the "fresh" European anchovies and have found and invented many uses for them. I've often noticed the bins and bags of dried anchovies at Asian groceries. How are these used? Anyone have any recipes?


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  1. I sometimes just eat them out of the bag -- I dip them in kochujang.

    2 Replies
    1. re: C. Hamster

      I eat them as a snack. I also read an article recently that you can simmer them in water for about 15 min. to make a quick stock that serves as the base for a lot of Korean soups and stews.

      I know this sounds weird but I also keep a bag of them in the fridge as cat treats. I like that they're not full of fillers and preservatives (I buy the ones with the ingredients: fish, salt) like conventional pet treats. It totally grosses my boyfriend out when the cats and I sit around in the kitchen eating them.

      1. re: Candice

        Wow! Cat treats - That's exactly what I was thinking! I reckon that my dogs would love them too.

    2. my grandmother always uses them for a broth for various simple korean soups and stews

      1. my family usually eats them like they're chips or with steamed rice and fresh cucumbers.

        1. They're used to make sambals and as a base for fish stocks. I've also had them fried and served as a side dish. If you google "ikan bilis" you'll find lots of recipe suggestions.

          1. in korea you use them for making fish stock..then you throw away the fish after the stock is made. or you can buy the tiny tiny ones and stir fry them with some sugar and sesame seeds and eat them with rice

            1. yeah, as suggested above, if they're little, you can fry 'em up in a little vegetable oil (just a little, and not too long) and stir in a little bit of gochujang (pepper paste), cooking syrup (korean malt syrup = mulyeot, or maybe even a drizzle of corn syrup might work? or sugar, in a pinch), and perhaps a couple drops of soy sauce; sprinkle with sesame seeds.

              the little ones can also be mixed in with other crunchy snack foods, for some extra crunch and calcium. (In fact, there are several snack blends that come with them inside, such as with squid peanut, rice cracker, etc.)

              If they're relatively big, they're better for stock. for really big ones, some people cut off the heads for making the stock, but i've never found it to be necessary. For thicker stew-type soups, like the korean version of miso soup (dwenjang chigae) I usually just leave the fish in the soup, grandmother-style :) They add some calcium and extra flavor.

              3 Replies
              1. re: another_adam

                people cut off the heads? too much work if you ask me. Also, I find that if I accidently eat a body it tastes really sharp and irony - must be all the guts and the head.

                as a child, one of my favorite breakfast foods was rice mixed with cold boricha and eaten with those tiny sugared anchovies. Since the boricha was cold, it was a great summer breakfast dish

                1. re: bitsubeats

                  What is the name of the Korean dish where they are covered with a sticky red sauce that tastes like it has lots of kochujang and sesame? I had it as a panchan in a Korean restaurant recently and it was one of the best versions I'd ever tasted.

                  1. re: pepper_mil

                    It's myeolchi bokkeum (=anchovy stir-fry)

                    taking away the heads is too much work for me too (and unnecessary), it's just for the big ones, and I think it's maybe more common in Japan.

              2. Thanks for all the tips. Looks like I'll have some (small) fish to fry.

                1. I'm bumping this thread because I recently used these to make some stock for miso soup...prior to that, I'd used them for a lovely Korean soup. My question is:
                  do you NEED to discard the middle part (intestines) and use only the head and tails for your stock or is it purely an aesthetic thing? Thanks! Oh, also...do bonito flakes and dried anchovies serve the same purpose and are they interchangeable for making tasty stocks?

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Val

                    On the larger anchovies I'm told that leaving the gut in affects the flavor in a bad way. With the tiny ones, there is so little gut that it doesn't make a difference.

                    Bonito flakes do make a tasty broth, but the flavor is not quite the same as with the anchovies.

                    Try making a broth with toasted anchovies and kelp.

                    1. re: hannaone

                      Yes, the broth I made for the miso soup had the dried anchovies, kelp and shiitake mushrooms, garlic and fresh ginger. I really loved the flavor...but when I asked for dried anchovies at the Asian store, she just handed me the bag of them, she didn't ask large anchovies or small anchovies...LOL..it's okay, though. Thanks, hannaone!

                      1. re: Val

                        Taking the head/guts off is not necessary, neither is fishing out the anchovies from the stock. It's a matter of personal preference. Korean moms who lived through tough times wouldn't think of wasting the extra meat/calcium in those anchovies...

                        From what I understand, as far as bonito vs anchovy goes, they are somewhat interchangeable, but in Japan they are considered different types of dashi - niboshi dashi being the one made with anchovy.

                        One of my favorite banchan that my mom makes is a stir fry of anchovies, hot peppers, and garlic. I just love that flavor combination!

                        1. re: joonjoon

                          LoL !

                          My mother in law's actual comment about the anchovy guts was "tastes like war".

                          1. re: hannaone

                            Hannaone, that is one of the most brilliant culinary comments I've ever heard. I guess we just can't imagine what some of our parents lived through...the stories my mother tells me about the war is just incredible.

                  2. There's a tasty and simple Chinese dish you can do with garlic, sugar, rice wine vinegar, dash of dark soy, fermented black beans, the dried anchovies and some sliced mild sweet peppers (poblano or green bell). Stir-fry everything together until fish are tender and peppers are soft.

                    It goes great as a topper for steamed rice.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mayt

                      i second mayt's idea.

                      my family also would add a pungent onion/garlic ie. garlic scapes, leeks, sliced raw garlic, chinese chive flowers etc...

                      or bittermelon but i am not sure if this is something my mom came up with or an official "dish"

                    2. My dad used to toast them in a dry frying pan and then we'd eat them with hot rice.

                      1. i just got a bag of these, slightly larger and already headless from my vietnamese hairdresser and she gave me an awesome recipe!
                        basically you soak them in water for about 10 minutes and then remove from water to dry, then add some oil to a pan and fry minced garlic and shallots and birds eye chiles, add the anchovies and season with a generous amount of salt and a bit of sugar until they turn somewhat crispy and caramalize and then they're good to go! the salty fishy flavour goes so good with rice =)
                        hope this helped

                        1. Try tossing the tiny ones with a green salad. They add delicious salty crunch.