10 Ways To Use Malaysian Ikan Bilis In Your Cooking

Ikan bilis, aka dried anchovies, is so highly-prized among overseas Malaysians that my stepmom makes a point of using her entire luggage allowance on ikan bilis each time she comes home from a visit to Malaysia.

(I’m aware you can buy ikan bilis from other countries, but once you’ve tried the Malaysian variety you’ll realise there’s a world of difference between them.) Thankfully, the increased demand for Malaysian ikan bilis means it is more accessible now at your local Asian grocery stores than ever before.

So what do we Malaysians use ikan bilis for, apart from nasi lemak? As a matter of fact it’s used in lots of ways, from baby food (yes, we start them young on ikan bilis in Malaysia) to beer snacks.

Here’s my video where I talk about ikan bilis and give you some ideas on how to serve them –

After I shared my initial video with my eight suggestions on how to use Ikan Bilis, Her Majesty Queen Azizah shared some of her own ideas with me, which are –

1) ikan bilis masak kicap (dried anchovies cooked with sweet soy) and
2) ikan bilis masak asam (dried anchovies cooked with tamarind).

I invited her to showcase her ikan bilis recipes on Masters of Malaysian Cuisine and she graciously agreed; I’ll write about this in a separate article.

By the way, I’ve elaborated on some of these tips in a pdf; want a copy? Just sign up in the form below and I’ll send it your way along with other Malaysian Ingredients Made Easy pdfs, cooking tips and recipes.

This is the first of a series of Malaysian ingredient videos done in partnership with the Malaysian Agriculture Counsellor Office, Sydney. I will be focused on cooking with Malaysian ingredients in the coming months, so hit me up if there’s any in particular you’d like me to cover.

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