How to make Ikan Bilis Kacang Goreng, or Fried Dried Anchovies and Peanuts.
Ikan Bilis and Kacang Goreng, or fried dried anchovies and peanuts are a beloved garnishing in Malay cuisine. It’s crunchy, full of umami flavours, and is great with rice! The crispiness against the soft rice is such a lovely textural exchange. This is most commonly served in Nasi Lemak, but it’s great as a snack.
In this ultra easy recipe, I’ll show you how exactly to fry this up at home!
What is Ikan Bilis or Dried Anchovies?
Dried anchovies are a staple ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine, and most certainly in Malay cooking! It can be found in abundance in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
Ikan Bilis refers to anchovy, but in Malay cuisine it refers to dried anchovies instead of the actual fresh anchovy fish. So do note that if a recipe calls for ikan bilis, it is referring to dried anchovies. It can also be known as dried split fish.
Dried anchovies or ikan bilis is dried, salted and fermented, and used in a variety of ways. It has a bit of a pungent smell, but definitely not as pungent as belachan. Ikan Bilis adds saltiness and a lovely umami to any dish.
Frying ikan bilis to a crisp is the most common way of cooking it. It is also a flavouring agent. When added at the shallot and garlic portion, it can level up any stir fry. It can also be used to make stock. Simply boil water with a handful of ikan bilis.
How to Prepare Ikan Bilis
I always make it a habit to wash my Ikan Bilis, you don’t know where it’s been. And don’t worry if you think it’s going to wash away all that flavouring – it will not. There’s enough flavour fermented into the fish, trust me!
After rinsing the ikan bilis, drain the water as much as possible, or lay over paper towels. If you have good planning, you can store this in the fridge and the next day it will dry off.
I don’t think I need to explain much about nuts! These are the universally loved ground peanuts. These days you can find readily fried ground peanuts. These go hand in hand with the dried anchovies!
In this recipe, I’ll guide you on how to fry raw ground nuts to perfection. You want to rinse these too, and dry as much as possible.
Can I Fry it Separately?
Of course. Fry the peanuts until it has turned a darker brown shade and remove from the pan. Then fry the dried anchovies. The anchovies are done once it crisps up and turns a golden shade. If unsure, give it a taste. It should be crunchy, with no chewiness in the middle.
How long can this keep?
I always make a big batch of this and store in an air-tight container. Use a clean spoon to scoop the ikan bilis and peanuts out of the container every time. It should be able to keep easily for a month. If it smells off or has mold, discard immediately.
Fried Anchovies and Peanuts | Ikan Bilis Kacang GorengCourse: Recipes
100g Dried Anchovies or Ikan Bilis
200g Ground Peanuts
1/2 cup Cooking Oil
- Add oil to a pan, and heat over medium heat.
- Once hot, add the ground nuts first. Let that fry. Stir occasionally for a more even cook.
- Once you hear some popping and crackling from the peanuts, add the dried anchovies.
- Fry the anchovies together with the peanuts. Once the anchovies crisp up and turn a light golden brown, take the peanuts and ikan bilis off the heat. This should be a quick process; 5-7 minutes depending on your heat. Let drain on paper towels to remove access oil.