Crispy Sweet and Spicy Ikan Bilis (Dried Anchovy)


Ikan bilis is a staple in Nasi Lemak (literally translated as ‘Fragrant Rice’), a delicious rice that is made with coconut milk and pandan (screwpine) leaves.

In my family, we eat ikan bilis just as another dish on the dinner table (Chinese style – where there are a couple of dishes and people eat it with rice), because it is just so good, and there is not reason why we have to wait to make nasi lemak to eat it. 🙂


  • 500 grams ikan bilis (dried anchovy)
  • 300 grams peanuts
  • 4 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce (this comes in a bottle from the Asian grocery store)
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups cooking oil


In a stockpot, add 1 1/2 cups of cooking oil, and bring the oil to medium-high heat. (Test the temperature of the oil. If the ikan bilis bubbles immediately, the temperature is right.)

Fry the peanuts and ikan bilis (in this order) in the oil separately, until golden brown.

Drain the excess oil on a plate lined with two layers sheets of paper towel. Discard the oil (it is not good after frying the ikan bilis.)


In another stockpot, add the Thai chili sauce and sugar, and turn up the heat.

Once the chili sauce starts bubbling, add in the fried ikan bilis and peanuts.


Stir everything to coat the ikan bilis and peanuts with chili sauce.
Remove from heat, wait 15 minutes, then serve.



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