Sour and Spicy Ikan Bilis

Seafood, Snacks September 14th, 2007

spicy and sour ikan bilis

Before I got married, the only snack which I knew how to cook with Ikan Bilis (Dried Anchovies) was my so-called Ikan Bilis Snack recipe. After getting married, I cooked that dish for one of the meals and my wife remarked that her family version is slightly different. Sour and Spicy Ikan Bilis (a name I coined out) is slightly more elaborate but if you ask me, has a more complex but delicious taste compared to Ikan Bilis Snack.

If you compare the two recipes, you will realize that Sour and Spicy Ikan Bilis has more ingredients compared to Ikan Bilis Snack. The combined use of thinly sliced aromatic shallots, fresh chillis and garlic with ikan bilis with a twist of lime makes this dish truly appetizing and refreshing. You can eat it as a snack (provided you have a couple of glasses of drink to help you quench your thirst) or as an accompaniment to steamed white rice. Give it a try as it is really simple to prepare and cook.

This is my wife’s recipe for Sour and Spicy Ikan Bilis



  • 1 rice bowl measure of ikan bilis (rinsed)
  • 1 red chilli (sliced thinly)
  • 3 shallots (sliced thinly)
  • 3 cloves garlic (sliced thinly)
  • 2 pieces lime (juiced)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dark soya sauce
  • Sugar to taste
  • 5 tablespoons cooking oil (palm oil preferred)



Bring oil to high heat in wok and fry ikan bilis till golden brown. Remove and set aside ikan bilis. Discard used oil.

Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in wok and fry shallots till beginning to brown. Remove and set aside fried shallots. Add garlic and fry till golden brown. Remove and set aside fried garlic. Add chillis and fried ikan bilis and stir well. Return fried shallots and garlic to mixture, stir evenly and add dark soya sauce, lime juice and sugar.

Dish out and serve.

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  1. 1
    September 14th, 2007 at 9:58 pm

    Wahhhh .. i like this dish. Never got around to cooking it myself though. Maybe its about time

  2. 2
    September 15th, 2007 at 1:57 am

    Give me both types. Will be good with Nasi Lemak.

  3. 3
    Paula from Only Cookware
    September 16th, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    I will definitely be trying this one. I absolutely love anchovies. It looks so easy too.

  4. 4
    Steamy Kitchen
    September 23rd, 2007 at 9:53 am

    Oh this looks SO tasty!

  5. 5
    September 27th, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    platinum-girl : It really is about time 😉

    tigerfish: I would prefer sambal ikan bilis with nasi lemak. More traditional ler 😀

    Paula : It is very easy. Tell me what do you think after you’ve tried it out.

    Steamy Kitchen : Try it 🙂

  6. 6
    Mama BoK
    September 30th, 2007 at 8:53 am

    I love the spicy ones for my nasi lemak.. but my neighbour used to make the sweet ones with sugar. 😉

  7. 7
    October 2nd, 2007 at 9:13 am

    Mama Bok : Look out for the recipe Ikan Bilis Snack in the post above. It is sweet.

  8. 8
    April 12th, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    I just tried this out for dinner and it was delicious. Added some dried chilli (blended-dry) to spice it up even more. Thanks for sharing!

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