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Ikan Bilis Stock

Ikan Bilis Stock (Anchovies Stock)

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Making ikan bilis (anchovies) stock is fast and easy. Unlike making chicken or vegetable stock, you just have to simmer it for about 10-15 minutes; prolonged simmering is unnecessary and may result in a bitter taste.

See Also: Ikan Bilis Powder Recipe

A container of ikan bilis stock is handy to keep in the fridge for making porridge, as soup bases for dishes (such as spinach in superior stock) or noodles soup (such as mee suah soup and fish ball noodle soup).

Ikan Bilis (Anchovies)

Ikan Bilis (Anchovies)

The choice of ikan bilis is important. If you go to an Asian dried foods stall, you can ask the assistant which variety is the most ideal for stock making. I personally used the “Pangkor” variety which is good for soups. Wheras I use degutted ikan bilis for making ikan bilis powder, I use whole ikan bilis (head and tail in tact) for extra flavour in the soup stock.

Ikan Bilis Stock (Step-by-Step Photos)
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Rinsing Ikan Bilis (Anchovies)
Rinse the ikan bilis (anchovies) in a few changes of water. This will reduce the excess saltiness. Ikan bilis come in vary degrees of saltiness depending on the type you buy and as a general guide, I recommend rinsing them in two changes of water; but if your ikan bilis is the extra-salty variety, you may need another 1-2 rinses. At the same time, do not over-rinse the ikan bilis or the stock will taste bland.

Making anchovies (ikan bilis) stock
2. In a pot, bring water to boil. Add washed ikan bilis, red dates and ginger to the pot. Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. Do not simmer for too long or the broth may become bitter.

Making anchovies stock
3. Using a slotted ladle, remove ikan bilis, red dates and ginger. Strain the broth through a sieve. When the broth has cooled, transfer to a storing container.

86 comments on “Ikan Bilis Stock”

  1. My mum used to make ikan billis stock for soups, etc when we were young. I guess I never followed this tradition and will take the easy, quick way out .. get some Knorr’s stock cube. Shame on me!

  2. I used to make ikan bilis stock with soy bean. Will follow your method next time when I’m going to make ikan bilis stock again. Thanks!

  3. I love ikan bilis soup. It has been quite difficult to get ikan bilis here so I have not made that for a long time. I have never added dates and ginger. Will do that next time. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Never have fish stock! :) Must give a try someday…

  5. I switched to using the cleaned ones (ie, split and de-gutted) because my kids and I don’t like the bitter taste you mentioned. I know this cleaned up version is usually for eating and not for stock, but since we don’t consume it in copious amounts, I figured nevermind lah. ;) Adding red dates is a great idea!!

  6. Hi Wiffy – what is this the base for – really interested to learn! Thanks

    • this soup base is usually used for noodles soup and for making porridge. It’s just another soup stock so you can use it for a variety of recipes :) I hope I interpret your question correctly :)

  7. I love anchovies, and I can’t believe the stock is so easy. Thanks Wiffy!

  8. Hi there, nice post there :)

  9. Hi,

    I was puzzled. Soak ikan bilis in water for 5 minutes. Rinse several times until water runs clear. Will the stock be tastless since all the taste of the ikan bilis had been gone after wash it for so long. I was told by my elderly not to wash it too many times.

    Please advise.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Mixue,

      according to this site, “Anchovies can concentrate domoic acid which causes amnesic shellfish poisoning in humans. Therefore when preparing the stock, it is always good to give the anchovies a good rinse and soak in the warm water.

      My friend who taught me this recipe also told me to rinse it well coz the anchovies may be “dirty” and “too salty”. Maybe nowadays, the food quality is not as great as before.

      Nevertheless, there may also be some truth with what the elderly told you. So it’s up to you which one you believe. Or you can rinse it well but not until the water is totally clear :-)

  10. This is an useful tips for me, thanks.

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