Malaysian & Anchovies
IN South-East Asian countries, dried anchovies (Setipinna taty) or ikan bilis in Malaysia, are known as ikan teri in Indonesia, and dilis in the Philippines.
In Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, anchovies are used to make fish stock, Javanese sambal, or are deep-fried. Ikan bilis is normally used in a similar way to dried shrimp in Malaysian cuisine.
In Vietnam, anchovy is the main ingredient in the fish sauce, the unofficial national sauce of Vietnam.
In the Philippines, anchovy is very popular in making bagoong, a fermented concoction used for cooking.
These anchovy stocks are usually used as a base for noodle soups or traditional Korean soups. There are many other variations on how the anchovy is used, especially in Korea.
When preserved by being gutted and salted in brine, matured, then packed in oil or salt, they acquire a characteristic strong flavour. In Roman times, they were the base for the fermented fish sauce called garum that was a staple of cuisine and an item of long-distance commerce produced in industrial quantities and were also consumed raw as an aphrodisiac.
Today, they are also an ingredient in several sauces, including Worcestershire sauce, Remoulade and many fish sauces, and in some versions of Café de Paris butter.
For domestic use, anchovy fillets are packed in oil or salt in small tins or jars, sometimes rolled around capers. Anchovy paste is also available.
The strong taste people associate with anchovies is due to the curing process. Fresh anchovies, known in Italy as alici, have a much milder flavour. In Sweden and Finland, the name anchovies are related strongly to a traditional seasoning, hence the product “anchovies” is normally made of sprats and also herring can be sold as “anchovy-spiced”, leading to confusion when translating recipes.
Fresh and dried anchovies are a popular part of the cuisine in Kerala and other south Indian states, where they are referred to as netholi/chooda (and nethili in Tamil Nadu) and provide a cheap source of protein in the diet. Fresh anchovies are eaten fried or as in a spicy curry.
To learn on “How to Make Sambal Tumis Ikan Bilis (Anchovies)”, click here.
If you want to discover other unique Malaysian food products, click here