The Best Recipe for Korean Anchovies (Myulchi Bokum)

Fried anchovies on a long serving platter with chopsticks
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Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 13 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
45 Calories
3g Fat
4g Carbs
1g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 45
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 3%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 2mg 1%
Sodium 263mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 1g
Calcium 13mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

In Korean, this popular anchovy dish is known as myulchi bokum, or alternatively myeolchi bokkeum. Side dishes, also known as banchan, play an important role in Korean cuisine—think scallion pancakes or steamed eggs—and this recipe for Korean anchovies is no exception. As with other sides, you can serve this dish as an appetizer, a side dish, or as part of the main dish. It's crunchy, salty, and spicy, and goes well alongside steamed rice.

If you haven't worked with them before, anchovies are typically available boned, cured in salt, and packed in oil in cans. They're most often sold this way because the demand for fresh anchovies is low, and anchovies are highly perishable. Anchovies appear in other cuisines, too; in Spain they're often fried. But for this recipe, you'll want to find dried anchovies, which are available at Asian markets or well-stocked supermarkets. Alternatively, you can buy dried anchovies online.

That being said, anchovies aren't everyone's cup of tea. These salty, crunchy, and assertively flavorful fish can be a bit of an acquired taste. Maybe your first encounter with them was on top of a pizza, or mixed into a pasta dish. More often, anchovies work as a background flavor that lends something crucial to a dish—they're the defining umami undertone in the dressing for Caesar salads—but these little saltwater fish are great on their own, too. This stir-fried version celebrates that fact.

But the beauty of side dishes, in Korean and other traditions, is that they are usually served alongside many other foods to comprise a complete meal. It makes it easy for people to pick and choose what they might like—and experiment, tasting just one or two if they're not sure about anchovies.

If for some reason you have leftovers, these will keep well in the fridge.

Ingredients

  • For the Anchovies:
  • 2 cups dried small anchovies
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 green chili pepper, sliced into rounds or strips (optional)
  • For the Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons mirin
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Steps to Make It

  1. Sauté the anchovies and pepper (if using) in a lightly oiled pan for a few minutes and then turn off the heat. You can use cooking spray to coat the pan or butter.

  2. Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring the contents to a low boil.

  3. Immediately pour the sauce over the anchovies and saute for a few minutes. You'll know the dish is finished when the sauce is well distributed.

 

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