Ikan Bilis Powder

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.”

You May Also Like: Ikan Bilis Stock Recipe

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.”

Grinder Blades

Grinder Blades

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 >>

(with oven temperature, measurements and printable view)

 Step by Step Description
Rinsing Ikan Bilis (Anchovies) 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.
Baking Ikan Bilis 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.
4982990168_011f96627c_o 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.
Baked Ikan Bilis 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.
Grinder 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.
Ikan Bilis Powder 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).
Ikan Bilis

Use cleaner, higher grade ikan bilis (the ones I used had head and tail removed; and some people use de-gutted/de-boned ones).

Ikan Bilis Powder Recipe

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 before use; 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.

Serves: 150 grams (per tray)

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 20 mins

Ingredients

  • 150 grams ikan bilis/anchovies/江鱼仔 (any amount, as long as it can fit one layer on a baking tray; about 200 grams per tray)
  • water

You also need:

  • flat baking tray
  • an electric blender with straight blade (instead of crossed) which is good for pulverising dry ingredients to powder form
  • if you don't have a blender, you can also use a mortar and pestle to pound them into powder form

Directions

  1. Rinse the ikan bilis in two changes of water to reduce the excess saltiness (if the type you bought is very salty, you may need to rinse a few more times).
  2. Pat dry the ikan bilis 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.
  3. Bake the ikan bilis in a preheated oven of 180°C (356°F) or about 10 - 15 minutes, until they just turned a lovely light brown.
  4. Use a spatula to stir and spread the ikan bilis evenly, then continue baking at 200°C (392°F) for another 10 minutes, or until they turn a shade of golden brown. At this point, they should be crispy and makes a great snack too.
  5. Add the baked ikan bilis in an electric blender and blend for about 30 seconds, or until they become powder form. Store in an airtight container in a cool and dry place.

Noob Cook Tip:
Since you are "eating" the ikan bilis, buy the cleaner varieties (preferably the ones which have been degutted; head & tail removed).