korean-style dried anchovies

korean anchovies = sweet and salty ::::

Korean Dried Anchovies

Hey, wait! Come back!

I have been absolutely remiss. I’ve forgotten my favorite vein of cuisines in this blog so far: Asian. Most of you reading this blog at this point are expecting more of my European-inspired repertoire. Before you judge, just hear me out. I’m a corn-fed Midwestern girl. And I love this recipe. Given, my in-laws are Asian, and this has greatly broadened my cooking horizons, I eat just about anything except brain. When I say love, I don’t mean tolerance. I really mean omygosh-I’m-really-craving-some-dim-sum-style-tripe-order-more-for-yourself-because-this-bowl-is-mine kind of love.

The problem is that even though I cook Asian cuisine, I’m really picky about authenticity of what I make. I also feel that eating most Asian food without chopsticks is committing some sort of culinary sin. That makes my repertoire slim, given that the truly authentic recipes are usually not written in English, or written down. Sometimes purposely. Family recipes are heavily guarded in some homes, only to be passed on within the family.

I find this secretiveness unfortunate. Food brings friends and strangers together. It unites people. When discussing this with a friend from the Ukraine, she helped me understand it from another perspective. Many cultures rely on marriagability by the craft of a woman’s cooking. The act of securing a husband, in fact, relies on this skill. Recipes are tucked away, away from roving eyes and the potential competition.

Then I get lucky if I find something on the Internet or in a cryptic used book with English in the margins, something that uses ingredients I didn’t grow up using. I may dream of spicy tofu with pork sauce or a perfectly sweetened red bean soup to share. I love dim sum style chicken feet soaked in salty sauce. Hand over your smelly tofu. Give me your fried pork intestines: I will  eat them.

This recipe makes one of my favorite banchan (side dishes) for Korean barbeque. Dried anchovies can be found in most Asian grocery stores. Find the ones which are just less than 3 centimeters in length. I find the smaller ones a little easier to chew. Secondly, make sure there isn’t added salt on the ingredient list (although the anchovies will be fairly salty already). Otherwise, the dish might taste way too salty with the added soy sauce in the recipe and you’ll be throwing it out, wondering why I’ve gone on and on about its virtues. This is a great way to get your calcium without dairy, have a salty-sweet fix, and to start building up your list of favorite banchan. My other favorites: ojingo (dried squid) with gochujang (hot pepper paste), cucumber with sesame, and gamja jorim (potatoes with soy sauce). More to come….


5.0 from 1 reviews
korean-style dried anchovies
Recipe type: fish
  • 3½ ounces dried anchovies, no added salt (check the ingredient label)
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of rice wine
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • drizzle of neutral oil (for pan)
  • small amount of fresh ginger, optional (I shredded less than ½ teaspoon)
  • red chili flakes
  • roasted sesame seeds
  1. Coat skillet with oil and stir anchovies over low heat until they smell cooked but not burned. Set aside.
  2. Finely chop garlic or put through a press.
  3. In a medium-sized skillet or wok, stir soy sauce, sugar, rice wine and and cook until shimmering (watch carefully). Add cooked anchovies, chopped garlic, chili, and honey. Keep stirring. When all the ingredients are well mixed, turn the heat off, and sprinkle roasted sesame seeds on top. Enjoy with other banchan, Korean barbecue, and rice.


  • Susan (Han) June 6, 2011 Reply

    love it..i didn't even have a recipe for this and i'm korean..thanks

  • Story June 6, 2011 Reply

    Tell me what you think, Susan. Sometimes I wonder if i should add more honey. More banchan to come soon!

  • YSC June 6, 2011 Reply

    Yum! I love these tiny anchovies and think it's great that to eat lower on the food chain! — Yangsze

  • Anna May 19, 2013 Reply

    I must say, I’ve never really tried cooking anything Asian in all my time in the kitchen (not that I can recall at least!) but I think I might have to give things a go as a “something new” kind of thing instead of the my usual – thanks for this!

    • story May 19, 2013 Reply

      An acquired taste, but addictive for me.

  • jlrhyn March 22, 2016 Reply

    enjoyed info on dried Korean anchovies

    • story March 23, 2016 Reply

      Thanks! Such great flavors!

  • Booboo September 8, 2017 Reply

    Thank you for this! I’ve just cooked it (with a couple of slight adjustments using what I had available in the kitchen) but with the larger size anchovies. Ate it with ddeokbokki (again, what I had available, lol). It turned out pretty salty, I think I used a bit too much soy sauce.
    I would second your advice to go for less salt – it really does overpower the lovely savoury sweet flavour of the fish and the honey. The garlic was a beautiful touch too!
    10/10 recipe. This was my first try, but next time I’ll get everything I needed and try it again properly. ^.^

    Thanks again! This was a lifesaver after I bought the too-big anchovies and didn’t know how to use them! For anyone in the same boat as me, you can use the bigger anchovies and it tastes really good too — just be careful about the salt levels and it will be perfect~!

    • story kitchen September 8, 2017 Reply

      Thanks for your feedback! There are varying amounts of sodium in different soy sauces. Any recipe that calls for soy sauce, I tend to add half, taste, then decide if I need more. The dried anchovies are also salted to varying degree. The ingredient listing on some packages don’t note the salt content at all.

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