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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.

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86 Responses to “Ikan Bilis Stock”

  1. Quinn — March 29, 2010 @ 2:52 pm

    You know, on my Lunar Birthday every year, without fail, I get 2 red hard boiled eggs and a bowl of Mee Suah soup with minced pork balls around it. And the soup base is always anchovy base stock. I don’t know how my grandma makes it but they’re always the best. The addition of ginger and red dates sounds interesting and sounds like it would be a nice touch.


    • wiffy replied: — March 29th, 2010 @ 3:18 pm

      I can imagine a bowl of longevity noodles is really delicious with the anchovies soup stock. and very traditional too with the red hard boiled eggs :-)


  2. Lia Chen — March 29, 2010 @ 3:05 pm

    I never made ikan bilis stock. Does it have a very strong fishy smells? I usually fried the ikan bilis and eat it with sambal terasi hehehe … :)


    • wiffy replied: — March 29th, 2010 @ 3:18 pm

      I don’t find it fishy hehe. Oh I love deep fried ikan bilis with sambal :up:


  3. Anh — March 29, 2010 @ 7:02 pm

    The quality of the anchovies matters, right? Your anchovies look much better than the stuff I can get here. I will try this tho’. Love anchovy flavours!


    • wiffy replied: — March 30th, 2010 @ 11:23 pm

      really? maybe because it’s an Asian ingredient, so it’s easier to get good ones in Asian countries. Hope you like the recipe :)


  4. sweetlife — March 30, 2010 @ 12:34 am

    wow I have never heard of this but I love anchovies so it must be just so yummy!! what great anchovies..I will try soon



  5. TasteHongKong — March 30, 2010 @ 10:58 am

    As you said, the quality of anchovies vary so I use them less frequent, but good ones are lovely for making broth. Any chance to find dried silver fishes in Singapore? They are abundant here in H.K. Although less intense in flavors, the dried silver fishes are less fishy. Sometimes, I simply add a handful of dried shrimps with the fishes, of which the soup is nice to me.


    • wiffy replied: — March 30th, 2010 @ 11:21 pm

      Yes there are dried silver fish (both white and brown types) in Singapore! can find in the supermarkets or Chinese medical halls. I have not tried them in broths before though (usually deep fry them in a shallow layer of oil and used as condiments). I shall try your idea next time, thanks for sharing =)


  6. Krissy @ The Food Addicts — March 30, 2010 @ 11:40 am

    wow, i’ve never heard of this before! very interesting method of making stock. my parents actually eat those anchovies for dinner!


    • wiffy replied: — March 30th, 2010 @ 11:19 pm

      I love eating them too (especially deep fried in my nasi lemak), but it’s a different species of anchovies. They are delicious!


  7. juhuacha — March 30, 2010 @ 2:21 pm

    Degutted and deboned anchovies can be found at dry grocery store. I usually buy from bencoolen street “Si Ma Lu” or wet market.


    • wiffy replied: — March 30th, 2010 @ 11:18 pm

      Thanks juhuacha!! grateful for your tip. Actually I wonder what degutted and deboned really meant, and I wonder how to convey it to the auntie/uncle. I will check out the market :)


  8. Trisha — March 30, 2010 @ 7:02 pm

    So this is the secret recipe for those amazing broths and soups and sauces!!!! Oh man I remember our eating escapade in Singapore and all those culinary fireworks were exploding in my mouth! :)


  9. Reeni — March 31, 2010 @ 8:11 am

    I love anchovies! I bet a little bit of this stock would give my pastas and soups great flavor. And this is so easy!


    • wiffy replied: — April 7th, 2010 @ 11:15 pm

      It’s a great idea to add this to pasta. adds a fushion and very savoury twist!



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