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Crunchy ikan bilis with aromatic sambal Recipe

Crunchy ikan bilis with aromatic sambal Recipe

Crunchy ikan bilis with aromatic sambal Recipe

Baby anchovies or ikan bilis fished along the coasts of South-East Asia are dazzling silver flakes when dried on mats in the sun. They are used not only in sambals but also in crunchy nibbles. Here the assertive flavours of chilli, lemongrass and tamarind in the dip create a seductive snack.

Ingredients :

    • 125 g (2 cups) dried baby anchovies (Ikan bilis) or whitebaits, heads and intestines removed, rinsed, then drained well
    • Oil, for frying


    • 3 tablespoons oil
    • 4 tablespoons Chilli Sambal
    • 4 tablespoons Aromatic Nonya Spice Paste
    • 6 candlenuts or macadamia nuts, crushed or ground
    • 4 teaspoons dried prawns, dry-roasted and ground in a blender or mortar
    • 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp, mashed with ½ cup (125 ml) water and strained to obtain the juice
    • 2 teaspoons tomato ketchup
    • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
    • 2 teaspoons sugar, or to taste
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
    • 1/2 cup (125 ml) coconut cream

Method :

    1. Prepare the Chilli Sambal and Aromatic Nonya Spice Paste.
    2. Remove and discard the heads and intestines from the anchovies, then rinse well and pat dry with paper towels. Heat the oil in a wok until hot and fry the anchovies or whitebaits over medium heat until golden brown and crispy, 2–3 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain on paper towels. Keep warm.
    3. To make the Aromatic Sambal, heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the Chilli Sambal, Aromatic Nonya Spice Paste and crushed candlenuts or macadamia nuts over medium-low heat for 3–5 minutes until fragrant, making sure the mixture does not burn. Add the dried prawns, tamarind juice and tomato ketchup and cook for about 5 minutes. Season with the lime juice, sugar and salt to taste and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in the coconut cream, mix well and remove from the heat. Transfer the Aromatic Sambal to a serving bowl. Serve the fried anchovies or whitebaits with the bowl of Aromatic Sambal on the side.

COOKING TIME : 15 mins