15 Different Ways to use Anchovies in your Cooking

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What comes to your mind when you think of Anchovies? Do you think of how these preserved fish come in different sizes when they are sold in preserved food shops? Perhaps you may have also thought about your favourite food that incorporates Anchovies into it. It is worth noting that Anchovies are a truly international food ingredient that is used in many different ways in a variety of food that comes from different parts of the world, whether it is in Italy, Spain, different parts of Asia and Southeast Asia and many more countries and regions in the world. It is this versatility that makes Anchovies a really fascinating food ingredient. Would you like to find out more about how you can use Anchovies in various different ways in your cooking? You would? That is fantastic! Without further ado let us begin our exploration.

What are Anchovies?

To begin with, we should address the question of what Anchovies are. Anchovies are a kind of small fish that is often preyed upon by other larger marine life. These fish are classified into the scientific grouping known as Engraulidae. This scientific group includes as many as 140 different kinds of Anchovies. Some of the popular Anchovies that are caught for consumption include the Japanese Anchovy, the Peruvian Anchovy, the Californian Anchovy, The European Anchovy, the Argentine Anchovy and the Southern African Anchovy to name a few.

With regards to how Anchovies are sold, they are sold in a variety of different ways. Sometimes they are sold in vinegar or are dried or salted. Essentially, Anchovies are widely sold as a preserved food item. With that said, let us now take a look at the many different ways in which Anchovies can be used in your cooking.

  1. Using Anchovies in Sambal

One way that you can incorporate Anchovies into your cooking is by adding it to a chilli paste that is popular in the Malay Archipelago known as Sambal. You can do so by adding dried Anchovies into your Sambal paste when you are preparing it. The crunchiness as well as salty taste of Anchovies when melded together with the spiciness of the Sambal makes it a dish that is a must try food item!

Frying Anchovies

The next thing that we will be discussing with regards to how you can use Anchovies in your cooking is connected to frying them. We will specifically be looking at stir-frying and deep frying Anchovies. Let us discuss them now.

  1. Stir Frying Anchovies

When it comes to frying Anchovies you can always stir fry them. You can make stir fried Anchovy dishes that are both dry and slightly wet. With the right combination of herbs and spices you can make a variety of different Stir Fried Anchovy dishes that includes the Korean side dish known as Myeolchi Bokkeum.

  1. Deep Frying Anchovies

Another way of frying Anchovies is to deep fry them. This is a great way to make dishes out of them that you can munch on either on its own or as a side dish that you can pair with dishes such as Nasi Lemak.

  1. Using Anchovies in Pasta

Another food item that you can add Anchovies as an ingredient to is pasta. By mixing pasta with the Anchovies as well as a host of other ingredients such as herbs, olives, tomatoes or and olive oil to name a few popular ingredients you get to have a dish that has a mixture of great tastes as the saltiness of your Anchovies melds together with your other ingredients such as the herbs and vegetables that you may choose to use. Furthermore when you add the fact that you can use a variety of different kinds of Pasta such as Spaghetti, Linguine, Fettuccine, Tagliatelle and many more, you have gastronomic combination that is both special and diverse because of kinds of culinary options that come with Pasta.

  1. Using Anchovies with other Noodle Dishes

Besides using Anchovies in Pasta, you can also pair Anchovies with other noodle ingredients such as Hokkien Yellow Noodles, Hor Fun, Mee Tai Mak, Mee Hoon, Laksa Noodles and many more. By doing so you get to pair the salty taste of Anchovies with a variety of different noodles that all have their own unique tastes and textures. This provides you with a variety of choices when it comes to the kind of dish that you want to make, which is simply great.

  1. Using Anchovies with Rice

Yet another ingredient that you can pair Anchovies with is rice. Like noodles and pasta, rice is another food ingredient that is also very multifaceted. This reason for this is connected to the fact that there are many different kinds of rice that are available for you to use. They include different coloured rice such as red, black, brown and white rice. On top of that, rice grains from different countries also come in different sizes. To illustrate, rice from Thailand, China, Korea and Japan are renowned to be short grains whereas rice from India are slightly longer like Basmati rice for example. On top of that rice from Thailand, China, Korea and Japan also are stickier than Indian varieties of rice. This diversity when it comes to the stickiness and grain size of different kinds of rice provides you with the opportunity to make different kinds of dishes such as fried rice, porridges and even rice dishes that have Anchovies as a side dish. Such variety makes combining rice with Anchovies a very interesting opportunity for culinary experimentation.

  1. Using Anchovies as a Pizza Topping

Another fascinating way that you can use Anchovies as a food ingredient is as a pizza topping. This is an interesting combination because the saltiness as well as the crunchiness of Anchovies provide an interesting taste alongside that of cheese and other ingredients that you may use such as olives or tomatoes in your pizza. Furthermore, if you wish to add more flavour to your Anchovies, you can always mix them with different pastes such as chilli paste or even spice powders to give a unique taste to your Anchovy toppings.

  1. Using Anchovies in Salads

Salads are another great food item that you can add Anchovies to. A major reason why is because you can add many different ingredients to your salads. The fact that salads can be made from different ingredients provides you with the opportunity to create a unique variety of salad dishes. Moreover, the unique taste and texture that Anchovies provide, make it an ingredient that you should consider adding to your salad dishes.

  1. Using Anchovies in Pastries

Pastries are another food item that you should consider adding Anchovies to. Some examples of pastries that you can add Anchovies to include pies and puff pastries. Besides adding to the flavour of your puffs and pies thanks to its salty taste, the texture of your pastry dish and how the Anchovies that you use combine well with the other ingredients that you are using such as vegetables like potatoes, carrots or peas can help provide a unique gastronomic experience to those who are eating your pastries.

  1. Using Anchovies as Stock

Another way that you can use Anchovies in your cooking is by using it as a stock. This can be done by either grinding your Anchovies into powder or by boiling the anchovies in water and then using that water as a stock. With regards to using powdered Anchovies as a stock you can always fry them in oil first before grinding them.

  1. Using Anchovies in Soups

Yet another dish that you use Anchovies as an ingredient in is Soups, you can do so in a variety of ways. One way is to use it as a stock either using powdered Anchovies or by using liquid stock derived from boiled Anchovies. The other way that you can add Anchovies to your cooking is by adding whole Anchovies into your soup. You can either fry the Anchovies before adding them to your soup or you can add the Anchovies to your soup and let it be cooked while your are boling your soup.

  1. Using Anchovies in Curries

When it comes to curries, Anchovies are a great ingredient to add to them. A key reason for this is the salty flavour that comes with Anchovies. Moreover, when you add the delicious blend of spices that you can add to curry together with Anchovies, you will have a curry dish that will be raved about by all who try it.

  1. Anchovies and Butter

An interesting food item that you can pair Anchovies with is Butter. This can be done by adding  minced Anchovies to unsalted butter as well as other ingredients such as garlic. This combination allows you to use butter and Anchovies in a different way that adds flavour to any dish that you feel can have this Anchovy butter added to it.

  1. Anchovies and Crackers

Using Anchovies as an ingredient when frying crackers is another great way to add Anchovies to your cooking. By making cracker dishes such as Rempeyek, which is a kind of cracker from Indonesia that uses Anchovies as an ingredient alongside nuts, you will be in for a delicious treat because of the taste and texture that Anchovies give to crackers such as Rempeyek.

  1. Anchovies and Nuts

As seen in our discussion of how Anchovies can be used alongside nuts in the creation of crackers such as Rempeyek, you can also mix Anchovies together with nuts and fry them both to make crispy side dishes to go with a main dish of your choice or you can even fry both nuts and Anchovies to make a delicious snack that you can munch on.

Can Anchovies be Deboned?

We now move on to the question of whether or not Anchovies can be deboned. In fact it can. Let us take a look at how you can do so in the following section. Do also note that you do not necessarily have to debone Anchovies as their bones are edible.

How can Anchovies be Deboned?

Let us now look at how you can debone Anchovies:

  • You can use a small paring knife to cut Anchovy fillets into half.
  • After doing so you can lift out the bones from the halved Anchovy fillets with your knife.
  • If there are any remaining small bones you can scrape them away using a small scraping tool or by using the paring knife or a smaller knife that you are comfortable with.

A Recap

Let us now recap what we have discussed thus far.

What we have learnt
1. We were introduced to what Anchovies were alongside some of the different kinds of Anchovies that are eaten.

2. We found out how Anchovies can be used in Sambal based dishes.

3.We discussed how Anchovies can be used to make fried dishes and talked about how it can be used to make stir fried and deep fried dishes.

4. We explored how Anchovies can be used in the making of pasta dishes.

5. We discussed how Anchovies can be paired with other kinds of noodles such as Hor Fun Noodles, Hokkien Yellow Noodles, Mee Tai Mak and Laksa Noodles to name a few examples.

6. We talked about how Anchovies could be used with rice as well as how different kinds of rice had different attributes in terms of their stickiness and grain size.

7. We discussed how Anchovies can be used as a pizza topping.

8. We discussed how Salads can be paired with Anchovies alongside how the diversity in terms of ingredient choices that you can add to your salad makes this combination a very interesting one.

9. We discussed how you can incorporate Anchovies into pastries such as puff pastries and pies.

10. We talked about how you can make stock out of Anchovies by either making a powdered stock out of them or by boiling them to make a liquid stock.

11. We discussed how Anchovies can be used in soups.

12. We talked about how Anchovies can be used as an ingredient when making curries.

13. We discussed how Anchovies can be combined with butter to make Anchovy Butter.

14. We talked about how Anchovies can be used to make crackers such as Rempeyek.

15. Another thing that we discussed was how Anchovies can be combined with nuts to make different kinds of food items such as fried snacks.

16. We discussed whether or not Anchovies can be deboned as well as how they can be deboned.

Anchovies: A really Versatile Food Ingredient

What we have come across in our exploration of Anchovies and the different ways of cooking them, it is clear that this food item is a very versatile food product that can be used to make many different kinds of food. With what you know from what we have discussed, it is safe to say that a deeper appreciation for Anchovies has been arrived at. Furthermore with your creativity perhaps more different kinds of dishes can be made using Anchovies. Till our next exploration together, take care and try experimenting with Anchovies to make various kinds of dishes that you will enjoy.

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