food 4 tots

Crispy anchovies

Crispy anchovies, dried whitebaits, dried sardine, Tazukuri, snack, side dish, ikan bilis, toddlers


Source: Adapted and modified from Traditional Japanese Recipe Book (和食の事典)

Serve: 4

60g (about 1 cup) tiny dried anchovies (dried whitebaits, 银鱼仔) – note 1
1 tsp toasted white sesame seeds (more or less, but optional)

Group A
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp sake (Japanese rice wine/ Japanese cooking wine) – note 2
2 tsp mirin (Japanese sweet cooking wine)
1 tbsp brown sugar/ white sugar
1½ tsp honey – note 3
A little bit of water (to dilute the seasonings if needed)

Group B
1 tsp salad oil
¼ tsp sesame oil (optional)


  1. Wash and rinse anchovies gently for several times till the water runs clear. This will help to reduce the saltiness of the anchovies. Drain to remove excess water.
  2. Line a baking tray with 2 layers of kitchen towels. Spread the anchovies over it. Then using another set of kitchen towel, gently press on top to absorb the water. Discard the kitchen towels.
  3. Spread the anchovies evenly on the baking tray in a single layer.
  4. Place the tray in a preheated oven at 100 °C for 15 minutes to dry the anchovies. After 10 minutes, use a large wooden spoon or spatula to stir and give the baking tray a good shake. Do it again after another 5 minutes. Extend the roasting time if needed.
  5. Once the anchovies are thoroughly dried, increase the heat to 150°C and continue to bake for another 18-20 minutes or until they turn golden brown and crispy. After 10 minutes, give the tray a shake. Repeat this for 2-3 times. Give the anchovy a bite to test the crispiness.
  6. Remove them from the oven and set aside to cool.
  7. In a small bowl, combine seasonings in Group A.
  8. Heat up a skillet or cooking pan (with a flat base). Add in seasonings from step (7) and cook under medium heat. When small bubbles are forming and the sauce is almost dried up, stir in the anchovies from step (6) all at once and stir until they are completely coated with the sauce.
  9. Turn off the heat and add in toasted sesame seeds and seasonings in Group B. Mix till well incorporated.
  10. Spread the anchovies on a grease proof paper to let them cool down quickly. This will help to retain their luster.
  11. Once cool, keep them in an air-tight container and store in the fridge until ready to use. It can be kept in the fridge for 2 weeks.


  1. You can substitute tiny anchovies (银鱼仔) with normal anchovies (江鱼仔).
  2. If you can’t find sake, just replace the amount with mirin.
  3. Honey is my personal addition. You can use more sugar instead.
  4. You can make any adjustments to the seasonings to suit your family’s liking.
  5. The suggested roasting time should only be used as a reference. It may vary depending on the size and amount of anchovies used. Do not overcrowd the baking try. Make sure the anchovies are dried before proceeding to step (5). You may need to give the anchovy a bite to test the crunchiness. Remember that the anchovy will continue to cook after being removed from oven. So, do not over-bake them. If you prefer crispy plain anchovies, you can stop at step (4).
  6. Let the anchovies mixture chilled in the fridge for at least half an hour before serving as it will allow them to absorb the sauce.
  7. The anchovy mixture will tend to stick together and harden after being chilled in the fridge. Just thaw them at the room temperature first before serving. Alternatively, leave them in a preheated toasted oven (without heat on) for 5 minutes. Another shortcut is to place them on top of the freshly cooked rice for 2-3 minutes. The residue heat will make the anchovies break apart easily.

Crispy anchovies, dried whitebaits, dried sardine, Tazukuri, snack, side dish, ikan bilis, toddlers


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  1. KY says:

    Thanks for sharing this yummy recipe. I usually cook whitebait with fried rice but this looks like a delicious alternative and snack! Congratulations on receiving a gift from Fairy Hobmother! I would love to receive a gift from her too… I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight!! 🙂

  2. Grace says:

    My son is just 8 months old. Can I make this stock for him to add into the cereal or porridge? He has no appetite nowadays, sometimes willing to eat more, sometimes don’t even want to open his mouth. That’s really difficult to adjust the portion for his meal time nowadays 🙁

    • food-4tots says:

      Grace: I don’t recommend any recipes that include salt, sugar and oil for babies below one year old. This includes making anchovies stock. Moreover, fish or seafood may cause allergy reactions. So, it is advisable to introduce them from 9 months. His lost of appetite may due to many reasons such as tiredness, distraction, teething or boredom. Try to find out the reason first. You can try adding pumpkin or sweet potatoes to enhance the taste of his porridge. Besides rice, you can opt for millet (小米) which is a highly nutritious grain. Hope it helps. You can always write directly to me if you want. 😉

  3. Grace says:

    Oh forgot to ask, how to make this achovies stock for my baby? Thanks very much!!

    • food-4tots says:

      Grace: As mentioned in my early reply, this anchovies stock is not suitable for your baby. I had never made it for my son previously. Try to introduce a variety of food into his diet but be careful of those allergic food such as seafood, nuts, egg, honey etc. 😉

  4. noobcook says:

    your anchovies look really crispy and flavourful. Last time I deep fry them but nowadays I roast in oven too, less oily and easier =D

  5. Priya says:

    Omg, they looks stunning,super crispy and irresistible..

  6. Selba says:

    I love crispy anchovies, love eating with rice or just eat it directly as a snack. My favorite one is the one made from Thailand with kaffir lime leaves and roasted peanuts.

    Wow.. there’s Fairy Hobmother? and you got amazon gift card for the value of USD 100 gift ? That’s so great!

  7. Little Inbox says:

    The tiny anchovies are easier to cook to crispiness in the oven compared to the normal anchovies. I’m happy to learn about this recipe.

  8. Janine says:

    oooh I never knew that they were known as whitebait! and I use the microwave too 😀 I love the chili and peanut combination the best 🙂

  9. Ching @ LCOM says:

    This is irresistible! This is like the non-spicy version compared to the Korean one.

  10. I love them with sweet potato congee!

  11. Joanne says:

    I really like anchovies but I’ve never thought to use them like this before! Great idea.

  12. I love crispy anchovies/ whitebait! Goes so well with both rice or congee..thanks for sharing your tutorial 🙂

  13. My kids love this too. I “fry” the anchovies in my microwave, oil free 🙂 I’ve only tried the sugar and chilli version but not anything with teriyaki. Thanks for sharing.

    And congrats to your free gift!

  14. Ali says:

    this looks super delicious. Couldn’t help but notice one of the comments where one o the readers wanted to make this for her baby, I wouldn’t recommend it too for kids below one years, he/she might be allergic to this at that age

  15. jo says:

    Yummy and definitely very addictive. I can see myself snacking on this in front of the telly. LOL!

  16. Eleen says:

    Been following your website for awhile. Thanks for all the great recipes that you have shared. It helped me a great deal in preparing meals and snacks for my toddler. Pls continue the good wrk!

    Christmas is just round the corner. I wish that the Fairy Hobmother could pay me a visit. 🙂

  17. Alice says:

    I love fried dried anchovies with nasi lemak to bits! This is definitely a good idea for me!

    Oh! and not forgetting the FAIRY HOBMOTHER, hope that I can make the wish come true for Christmas present! 🙂

    • food-4tots says:

      Alice: Yes, it can be a good substitute for those who can’t eat spicy food. Give it a try! I’m sure your Christmas wish is clear and loud to the Fairy Hobmother. lol! 😉

  18. Grace says:

    Thanks F4T, there can be so many reason he doesn’t want to eat, everytime I found out why then the next meal different reason. Haih.. I am very tiring 🙁 ok I won’t start anything with anchovy first. I did use sweet potato and pumpkin too, things is just not that simple as I thought 🙁

    • food-4tots says:

      Grace: You’re always welcome. I can totally understand your situation for being a first time mom. I was as confused as you too when my son was still a baby. Luckily a friend of my hubby recommended me a book titled “The New Contended Little Baby Book” by Gina Ford. I followed the book to set bedtime and feeding routine to my son. It helps a LOT!! At least I know that my son has enough sleep and well fed. It is a “BIBLE” to me since then. So, I highly recommend this book to you. But one advice, you and your caretaker must follow strictly the routine. Otherwise, it won’t work. Hope it helps! 😉

  19. junemom says:

    A VERY BIG THANK YOU for your blog and ideas of more variety to my dear son’s palate.
    Your photography skill is superb too 🙂

    And YESSSSS… GINA FORD.. I am faithful follower too. And indeed it was really GREAT help. Found another Gina Ford baby.. hehe.

    Really thankful for your recipes which otherwise my cooking only sticks around steaming and baking/ovening (Anna Karmel’s method)..
    Hope the Fairy Hobmother come my way too
    HOHOHO.. oops is that Santa Hobfather?

    • food-4tots says:

      Junemom: Thanks for your wonderful compliment and kind support! I’m sure Fairy Hobmother (or perhaps soon another Santa Hobfather) can receive this message. Wishing you good luck! 😉

  20. CKeyi says:

    Wow looks GD! My mum likes to add some sugar to it sometimes n I think it taste GD too! We like to eat it with porridge! I hope the fairy hobmother will visit me too! 🙂

  21. Lavinia says:


    Your sake is it using mirin (sweet sake).


  22. Lavinia says:

    Sorry didn’t see that you also use mirin. Now I know which type sake you use is it the green bottle for cooking.

    • food-4tots says:

      Lavinia: You can find the photo of cooking sake under my “Seasoning” page – Currently, I’m using Mitzan brand for both sake and mirin. You can find them from NUTC Finest, Cold Storage or any Japanese specialty stores.They are those bottles that I shot together with my crispy anchovies. Hope it helps! 😉

  23. Joyce says:

    Loved your receipe & photography! I want to follow you. How can I add follower?

    Also I wish for fairy hobmother to visit me with a gift of an oven so that I can bake all those delicious meals that you had presented in your blog.

    I promise to be good and faithful to try out the receipes 😉

    • food-4tots says:

      Joyce: You can follow me thru email subscription, RSS subscription, Twitter or Facebook. The buttons are at the sidebar on the left hand side. Thanks for your sweet comment and kind support. May your wish come true! 😉

  24. LIN says:

    looks lovely .
    Hope fairy hobmother will grant me a
    microwave as mine is spoil

  25. MaryMoh says:

    I sure love this but so sad I can’t get small anchovies here 🙁

  26. evelyn says:

    Thanks for sharing this receipe. It is so yummy! But I think I have to rinse the Ikan bilis more (instead of 3 times) cos it is still a bit salty 😉

  27. Li Theng says:

    These look really yummy and crispy. Good with porridge!

  28. nezzy says:

    I always wanted to make my own ikan bilis condiments but dislike deep frying. This looks absolutely tasty, I’ll try it this weekend!

    Fairy Hobmother, Fairy Hobmother, please, please, please. Come visit me and help me complete my kitchen! 😉

  29. illia says:

    wut a great website..glad i found it..i didnt gv my son anchovies too..n now he juz turned one..mybe its time for me to try tis!thanks..

    • food-4tots says:

      Illia: Thanks for your wonderful compliment! I would suggest that you delay trying this recipe until he is 2 years old as it is still considered quite salty for his age. 😉

  30. this is delicious lovely flavourful anchovies

  31. Rinku Naveen says:

    Thanks so much for sharing such yummy recipes. You have a lovely space and the snaps are just superb. I tried your basic butter cake and it turned out awesome. It just melts in the mouth. My kids just loved it. Thanks a ton.

  32. nezzy says:

    I tried this yesterday and it was a hit with my 3 years old! I find it a tad too sweet tho, will cut the sugar for my next batch. Cheers!

  33. CATHERINE says:

    Wow, i love the dried ikan billies in nasi lemak too! I never tot of roasting, which is a healthier choice! Thanks for sharing… too bad, i do not have an oven. How i wish Fairy Hobmother will grant me my wish too! haha…

  34. reddy says:

    thanks for the receipe, i would like to make this for my husband… thanks for sharing… hope everything goes well………

  35. Your photos are very impressive. I love your presentation of the food. You made the dishes look so yummy all the time! 🙂

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