Myulchi Bokkeum (Stir-Fried Dried Anchovies)

Korean-Style Crispy Anchovies (Myulchi Bokkeum) |

Myulchi Bokkeum is one of the most popular banchan (side dishes) in Korea. It might seem a bit too exotic to some. But everyone that I know who has tried this dish has fallen in love with it. And I really mean everyone. Even my little niece at the age of two couldn’t get enough of this delectable side dish. One bite and she was hooked. Luckily, this was one of my aunt’s specialties. And when my brother’s family moved away to a different state, my aunt used to mail huge batches of myulchi bokkeum to my brother for my little niece.

For those of you who haven’t tried this, I’m dying for you to try. So let me make a case for myulchi bokkeum to those who are on the fence: 1) as with the vast majority of the recipes on this site, it’s quick and easy to make; 2) if you love those roasted seaweed snacks, you will probably love this even more; 3) it has a great crispy texture; 4) generally, the smaller the fish, the lower the bio-accumulation, which means lower mercury; 5) anchovies provide a chock-full of nutrients including calcium, potassium, selenium, and heart-healthy omega-3; 6) since you are eating the whole fish without wasting any part of the fish, you are being environmentally-responsible; and most importantly 7) the sweet and salty taste of this dish is truly amazing. What do you think? Did I succeed? 😀

Try eating it with some steamed rice. It’s unbelievably tasty. You won’t be able to stop.

Myulchi Bokkeum (Crispy Stir-Fried Anchovies) |

Myulchi Bokkeum (Crispy Stir-Fried Anchovies) |

Myulchi Bokkeum (Stir-Fried Dried Anchovies) Recipe
Makes enough for 4-6 as a side dish
1 cup myulchi (dried anchovies)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 TB honey, maple syrup, or sugar
1 tsp tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
1 TB mirin
1 tsp water
1/2 tsp toasted sesame seed oil
toasted sesame seeds
about 2 tsp canola oil for cooking
1 scallion/green onion, chopped finely

  1. For the sauce, stir together garlic, honey/maple/sugar, tamari, mirin, water, and sesame oil.
  2. Heat a pan over medium heat. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan, about 2 tsp. Once the pan is heated, add the anchovies and stir for about a minute until the anchovies starts to turn golden.
  3. Push the anchovies to one side of the pan away from the heat. Tilt the pan and pour the sauce from step one into the pan so that the sauce is on the side of the pan that is directly over the heat source. Once the sauce starts bubbling and the garlic becomes fragrant, level the pan (flat on the range) and stir the anchovies with the sauce. Mix well until the pan becomes almost dry; this should happen VERY quickly. Remove from heat immediately.
  4. Korean Stir-Fried Anchovies Prep |

  5. Add chopped scallion and toasted sesame seeds. Stir. Serve with steamed rice.

*Cook’s Note

I always taste an anchovy before I cook a batch to make sure that it is fresh and also to check for saltiness. The anchovy should taste like the ocean, slightly salty but not fishy. If you find the anchovy salty enough, you do NOT have to add tamari (soy sauce). 1 tsp of tamari was more than sufficient for my palate.

Most Korean grocers carry these anchovies. These are the smallest dried anchovies available. I’ve placed them in a tablespoon measuring spoon in the image below to illustrate how tiny these anchovies really are. The bigger ones (about the size of your pinky, not pictured) are used to make broth/stock; they are NOT suitable for this dish.

Korean Dried Anchovies |


30. August 2013 by gomo
Categories: Banchan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Korean Food, Seafood, Side Dish | Tags: , | 17 comments

Comments (17)

  1. What a beautiful post! It’s one of the most appetising snack bowls I have ever seen! I wish I could have it now with my glass of wine… I would love it without any doubts.
    They sell a mixture of nuts and salted mini fish in my Japanese grocery shop and guess what I do first! I “fish” all the fish 😉 They are by far my favourite part. I also love tiny shrimp used in Japanese dishes. In general, I am a big fan of fish bones, cartilage, fins… and when I can eat a whole tiny fish I’m in heaven. When I go next time to France (here we don’t have any Korean shops alas) I’ll see if they sell this tiny fish.

    • You’d love this! I can’t wait for you to try. It makes a great side to steamed rice or a yummy snack (as you suggest). The hurdle for most people is trying this for the first time. But when they do – and I’m serious about this – everyone loves it! Let me know how you like them. Thanks Sissi!

  2. wow I love those dried anchovies!! Seriously, I can finish the whole bowl and still want MORE!

  3. I love eating these dried anchovies, it’s my favourite side dish whenever I visit a Korean restaurant! Definitely making them to go with my rice soon, thank you for sharing!

    • Thanks Jasline! I love these, in part, because you can make a meal out of them with some steamed rice when you are in a pinch or in a hurry. So yummy.:) Have a lovely weekend!

  4. I’ve seen dried anchovies before but never knew what to do with them! Although most of the one’s I’ve seen have been in Chinese grocery stores, and I suspect might be the larger ones (thanks for alerting us to the fact we need to use small ones). This look really good – I’ll have to go looking for small dried anchovies!

    • If you can get your hands on these dried mini anchovies, you should definitely try this! I can’t say enough about it. It’s a perfect balance of sweet & savory. Thanks John! Hope you’re having a great labor day weekend!!

  5. OK – you succeeded! I know that Bobby would love this, but I’ve never been much of an anchovies fan; however, you made a good sell. Now the trick would be to find dried anchovies.

    • Yay! Let me add something else.:) These don’t really taste anything like traditional anchovies. Because they are dried and then pan-fried, they taste more like a snack with a slightly nutty and ocean-y flavor. I guess kind of like seaweed snacks, but sweet and salty. Thanks MJ! Hope you have a great week!!

  6. Mmm, I had these in Korea when I was there and at first I was wary of them because I had no idea what they were, but they were so yummy! I’ll have to try making a batch myself sometime. (Or see if the ahujummas at the Banchan shop sell myulchi bokkeum!)

    • Hi Becca! I’m (almost) sure the ahjummas at the banchan shop should have it. It’s a popular banchan. If not, it’s so easy to make. Once you get the hang of it, it would be easier to make it at home – AND cheaper! Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

  7. Hi, do you have a substitute for the mirin? Thank you!

  8. I love dried anchovies and will definitely try this side dish. Thank you so much for this post! ?

  9. Pingback: twelve High Potassium Recipes - Best Detox Food

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