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Stir-fried anchovies is also very popular in Korea. The Koreans prepare them in various ways with different sauces & spices. It is known as Myulchi Bokkeum and eaten as a side dish too.

I ate and learnt to make this sweet version at a Korean friend’s home.  This very easy to make recipe is cooked with roasted cashew nuts and seasoned with corn syrup for a sweet taste. It goes well with steamed rice too and my daughter Shermaine can’t stop munching on it. She wiped out the lot and begged for more. Those with a sweet tooth will like this recipe.

I bought this corn syrup from a Korean supermart

I prefer to bake the cashew nuts myself than to buy ready roasted ones as these are sweeter and unsalted. To do that, buy raw ones from dry food stores, wash, drain and then air-dry or sun them for a day. After that, greased them with some melted butter and bake at 130°C for 60mins or until lightly golden brown and crunchy. Alternatively, it can also be pan-fried without oil on low heat until done.

Sweet or savoury, anchovies make a delicious side dish with steamed rice any time.


200gm dried Japanese anchovies
100gm unsalted roasted cashew nuts
250ml corn syrup
Oil for frying

1) Soak and wash the anchovies several times to remove excess salt. Drain, spread them in two trays and leave to dry in a sunny place for a day or dry them in the microwave on high for 8 mins (stir after every 2 mins to ensure even drying).

2) Divide the anchovies in each tray to 3 equal portions. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan. Lower heat and toss in 1/3 of the anchovies gently until they are lightly brown and crispy. The trick here is to be patient and stir-fry small portion on low heat. Do not use high heat or fry large amount at one time as this will cause uneven browning or burnt anchovies.

3) Remove anchovies onto a tray lined with oil absorbent paper towels.

4) Add more oil to the pan if necessary and continue to fry the rest of the anchovies in batches until all are done.

5) When the last batch is done, do not remove from the pan. Toss in all the fried anchovies together with the roasted cashew nuts. Mix well.

6) Drizzle the corn syrup over the fried anchovies, stir-frying until the anchovies and cashew nuts are evenly coated.

7) Remove from heat and transfer to a plate to cool.  Do not line the plate as the corn syrup is sticky.

8) Store in a air-tight container. Can be refrigerated for up to 4 weeks.

Sweet Sitr-Fried Anchovies with Cashew Nuts