How to Prepare Ikan Bilis (Dried Anchovies)

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I remember when Delia Smith’s cookbook came out back in the day and the scorn she received (in my household, to be fair) for her “How to Boil an Egg” tutorial – as we collectively ranted about its perceived redundancy – who doesn’t know how to boil an egg?!

Well, call this culinary karma if you will, but I’ve been compelled to produce this series of videos that makes for frankly dry viewing but is driven in large part by the regularly flummoxed expressions of people who have tuned in to my Malaysian cooking Hangouts-on-Air.

Evidently picking the right type of dried anchovies (ikan bilis) and using it in your recipes isn’t as second nature to some as you (read: I) would expect. So here it is, the third installment in my Asian Cooking 101 aka How to Boil A Metaphorical Asian Egg YouTube series.

Click here to watch on YouTube >>

By the way, my video editor misinterpreted what I meant when I said on camera that different brands of ikan bilis have different levels of saltiness – he thought I meant (and overlayed text to say as much) that if it’s not salty enough you have to add salt, which wasn’t what I meant to convey – I meant that your recipe ie. whatever you end up using the ikan bilis for AFTER it’s been fried, might need to be adjusted to allow for this variance. (I only picked up on this after the first round of revisions and I didn’t want to make him change it again in case he wanted more money. Yes, I’m cheap.)

Ikan Bilis at wet market in Kampung Baru, KL

Ikan Bilis at the wet market in Kampung Baru, KL

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