Ikan Bilis Powder
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One of most rewarding things about keeping a recipes blog is that I get to learn many neat tricks and tips from my readers. When I posted my recipe for ikan bilis (anchovies) stock a while back, a reader lynette shared this awesome idea:
“I hate the freezer space that the anchovies takes so I bake them and then use the blender to turn them into ikan bilis powder. It’s my secret ingredient to all my soups. A giant plastic bag turns into a handy small jar. We use the ikan bilis that has been cleaned (i.e. without the heads and entrails) as it has a lower cholesterol content but retains its calcium value.”
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and then adding on to this comment, another reader jsager shared:
“With ikan bilis in powder form, there is no waste or boiled-out ikan bilis to throw away. More importantly, if the backbone has not been removed (as happens in some of the super clean ikan bilis you find in the stores nowadays), you will get a very healthy dose of good calcium, that most of us are short of.”
I was sold. I embarked on making the ikan bilis powder with the help of my oven and electric grinder, finding the process satisfying and effortlessly easy. This is a great condiment for porridge (baby food!) and also a secret ingredient for many Chinese dishes, particularly soup and stir fries. These ikan bilis have a naturally sweet and salty taste that complements many types of savoury dishes.
Printable Recipe >>
|Step by Step Description|
|First, 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; the ikan bilis powder needs to be quite salty to work its magic as a seasoning condiment.|
|After washing the ikan bilis, pat dry on paper towels and arrange them one flat layer on a baking tray. For best results, allow to air dry before baking in the oven.|
|Bake the ikan bilis in the oven for about 10 – 15 minutes (oven temperature are at the printable recipe on page two; link above), until the ikan bilis have just turned a light brown shade (see above). Use a spatula to stir and spread them evenly.|
|Return to oven and continue baking for another 10 minutes, or until the ikan bilis turn a shade of golden brown, as seen in the photo above. At this point, they are crispy and makes a great snack or a savoury topping for many Chinese dishes.|
|Pulse the baked ikan bilis in an electric grinder until they become powder. If you do not have an electric grinder, you can see a mortar and pestle to pound them.|
|What you get is fine ikan bilis powder which is very versatile – you can use it as a condiment for plain porridge or as a secret seasoning ingredient in many types of dishes (such as soups and stir fries). Store in an air tight container in a cool and dry place (such as the fridge).|
My mother-in-law taught me to bake/toast ikan bilis (no washing) in oven before keeping them in the freezer. This will make sure it’s very dry and remove its rather fishy smell too. When making stock, i’d rinse and put the ikan bilis into a pot, sprinkle shallot oil on it and heat it up to get a v fragrant smell before adding the water to boil. The stock is tasty. I remove the ikan bilis before adding other ingredients to make a soup or use it to cook porridge.
BUT i will definitely want to give this a try! Thanks.
Hi Wiffy, I love the retro looking sauce dish, green outlines with yellow enamel. May I know where to buy it? :) I have matching plate but no sauce dish!
Hi Min, I got it when my family, eons ago, redeemed the cutlery set from the petrol kiosk. I wish I have a spare one to give to you :(
Just a question, after you wash the ikan bilis, how do you dry the ikan bilis before you put in the oven?
I also like the blender, very convenient.
If i want to use make soup, can use the Ikan Bilis Power also? The duration will it be the same as using Ikan Bilis itself? Or the time will be shorter?
Hi I have a recipe for ikan bilis stock at https://noobcook.com/how-to-make-ikan-bilis-stock/
How much ikan bilis powder do you use for eg 500ml of stock? I guess it will not be necessary to boil powder plus powder for 10 mins as per your ikan bilis stock recipe?
Hi Corrine, sorry I’m not sure what you mean. For ikan bilis stock, I use this recipe https://noobcook.com/how-to-make-ikan-bilis-stock/
Do you use this powder to make stock instead of the whole ikan bilis as written in your ikan bilis stock recipe?
For soup stock, I use the ikan bills; but if I just want to season the soup for that extra special flavor, I use the powder.
I don’t think domoic acid can be rinsed off. It is a pretty serious toxin if present. See http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/domoic_acid.html
Do I need to wait for the ikan bilis to be completely dry before putting them in the oven?
Hi Rose, no I didn’t. Just semi-dry will do.
Thanks Wiffy, will give it a try soon.
Actually u can get the ready made in bottle from Pearl Island Seafood Sdn Bhd. We were recommended by fried and we call the shop in Penang at 0125413088 and they will send straight to our house. One bottle is just RM8(not including the mail order fee). We order 4-5 bottle one time. It is so convinient, no need to wash, dry, bake, blend and etc… why not you give it a try!
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Hi Wiffy, the ikan bilis powder can keep in the fridge for how long?
Keep the powder dry (no water), cover with lid and keep in fridge for at least 2 weeks (and possibly longer).