Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ikan Bilis Powder

The most useful cooking tip I learn when I first became a mother was how to prepare Ikan Bilis (Anchovies) Powder. It was from a leaflet from a Infant Formula Company. I'm still using the same method to do it after 6 years except now it's easier for me with the use of oven. The kids still loves porridge sprinkled with Ikan Bilis Powder. No other seasonings is required and it's amazing how fast they can finish their bowl of porridge and ask for seconds. :) Hmmm ... maybe I shouldn't crack my head so much thinking of what to cook for them. ;)

Previously, without an oven, I would dry fry (no oil) the Ikan Bilis in small amount using low fire after draining them as dry as I could. Don't even try skipping the washing part. It will be very salty especially for babies. After they turned light brown (see picture above) and are completely dried, they will be crunchy. You can try one after they are cooled. If they are not crunchy, you have to returned them to the pan and continue frying. Now, with an oven, things are so much easier. Drain the Ikan Bilis and spread them evenly on a flat pan and bake them at 180C for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring and spreading them evenly again half way through baking and they are ready for the next step.

After the Ikan Bilis are fried or baked dried, you can pound them into powder. Okay, I cheated. I first used a blender to blend as powdery as possible. Next, I sift them and you will see bigger bits left on the sieve (see the edge of dish of above picture) . Pound those bits using the mortar and pestle into powder. Of course, now that the kids are older I no longer have to pound them. I just blend them as powdery as possible (as shown above). Now you can keep the Ikan Bilis Powder in an air tight container and use it as an seasoning for your porridge or other dishes.


  1. Thanks for this! I've never done the powder 'cos it's too much work but now that i know i can use the oven it's so much easier. may i know how long i can keep this for? also can i refrigerate or freeze it to keep longer?

  2. I use ikan bilis powder too for my kids' porridges and their soup noodles. Very handy to use as stock. But I buy the small siver fish (the japanese type?) instead of the ikan bilis.

  3. woah.. i never knew that i can blend ikan bilis too, i usually blend "ha mai" and cook together with the porridge.. .lol thanks for the idea~

  4. what is this is it a soup, and it also looks like fish ....hum looks delicious but is it really...let me know, i am curious about this one.

  5. Wow home made ikan bilis powder, I'm so impressed. N I also didn't know that they can be baked instead of deep fried, thanks for the ideas :D P.S. Haven't looked for the oven yet, hehe

  6. Anonymous,
    I have not tried freezing it but I did refrigerate it when my kids were babies cos I make a lot. I think 1 week is okay cos after that it doesnt smell as fresh and once refrigerated, you have to keep it that way.

    I used sliver fish before but still prefer ikan bilis cos they are crunchier but sliver fish is sweeter. :)

    I like Hai Mai also!! I use it to do mini Hai Mai rolls. :)

    This ikan bilis is a fish. Some call it Anchovies. Ours are usually dried so the salt content is very high. Hence, I normally give it a rinse before I use it.

    The powder can be used for soup, porridge or other dishes as a seasoning.

    :) try it some time. It's a lot healthier than frying them and can be keep longer.

    Hehe ... maybe go hunting for it this weekend? Hope you will find a good bargain. :)

  7. Certainly DO-A-BLE! And you know exactly what's in it! Healthy and yummy!

  8. Hi,
    I blended the ikan bilis when they were grey in color, is that ok?

  9. Anonymous,
    Do you meant when they are not cooked?

    If that's what you mean, my advise is don't. It will be too fine to dry fried later and most likely it will get brown and burn very fast. Then it will be bitter.

  10. Is it ok if i cook the ikan bilis powder while cooking the porridge? Or shd jus add in the powder before eating??

  11. wondering.... drain the ikan bilis.. till very very dry? for overnite? my kids like ikan bilis and i wanted to try this crunchy ikan bilis with oven :)

  12. @Cassandra, sure you can add in the powder while cooking. Use it as a seasoning. :)

    @My life zone, dab dry not need overnight. Just spread flat and use the oven to toast it. No problem to get it crispy. :)