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How to use Asian dried anchovies?

mrbozo Apr 11, 2007 03:43 PM

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. C. Hamster RE: mrbozo Apr 11, 2007 03:48 PM

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

    2 Replies
    1. re: C. Hamster
      Candice RE: C. Hamster Apr 12, 2007 10:12 AM

      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
        benjamin23 RE: Candice Dec 27, 2011 02:36 PM

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

    2. alex8alot RE: mrbozo Apr 11, 2007 04:13 PM

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

      1. ceejoi RE: mrbozo Apr 11, 2007 04:16 PM

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

        1. c
          cheryl_h RE: mrbozo Apr 12, 2007 06:27 AM

          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. bitsubeats RE: mrbozo Apr 12, 2007 07:53 PM

            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. a
              another_adam RE: mrbozo Apr 12, 2007 10:02 PM

              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
                bitsubeats RE: another_adam Apr 12, 2007 10:49 PM

                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
                  pepper_mil RE: bitsubeats Apr 13, 2007 04:50 AM

                  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
                    another_adam RE: pepper_mil Apr 13, 2007 06:14 AM

                    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. mrbozo RE: mrbozo Apr 13, 2007 02:20 PM

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

                1. v
                  Val RE: mrbozo Jun 14, 2010 11:04 AM

                  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
                    hannaone RE: Val Jun 14, 2010 12:45 PM

                    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
                      Val RE: hannaone Jun 14, 2010 05:44 PM

                      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
                        joonjoon RE: Val Jun 15, 2010 01:44 PM

                        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
                          hannaone RE: joonjoon Jun 15, 2010 01:56 PM

                          LoL !

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

                          1. re: hannaone
                            joonjoon RE: hannaone Jun 15, 2010 02:18 PM

                            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. m
                    mayt RE: mrbozo Jun 14, 2010 11:29 AM

                    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
                      jeniyo RE: mayt Jun 14, 2010 11:37 AM

                      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. p
                      PAO RE: mrbozo Jun 14, 2010 02:55 PM

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

                      1. s
                        spicysalty RE: mrbozo Jun 20, 2010 05:13 PM

                        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. a
                          Ascender RE: mrbozo Jan 13, 2011 10:46 AM

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

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