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  • Writer's pictureAlissa Love

Singaporean Nasi Goreng Ikan Bilis

Updated: Feb 6, 2020

Anchovies is better known as ikan bilis in Asia and is consumed completely differently in this part of the world. Anchovies are dried instead of cured in oil, making them high in salt content. However, it's potent flavor allows for it to be used sparingly in Asian cooking. This tiny fish is also small in size, but huge in flavor and full of nutrients - like iron, Omega-3 fatty acids(healthy polyunsaturated fats), calcium and heaps of protein.

This recipe for Anchovies Fried Rice is a local favorite and is the perfect recipe for making use of leftover scraps of vegetables and cooked rice - ready in just 30 minutes or less!

Nasi Goreng Ikan Bilis

This recipe serves 4 people. Prep time 5 minutes, cook time 20 minutes.


5-6 cups cooked and refrigerated day-old rice (or enough rice for 4 persons)

5 cloves garlic, chopped

1 medium red onion, diced

3 chili padi, chopped

1 cup dried anchovies

1 cup long beans/ french beans, finely diced

1 carrot, diced

3 eggs

2 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

1/2 tablespoon dark sweet soy sauce

1/2 cup cooking oil

1/2 cup spring onion, chopped to garnish

1/2 cup fried shallots to garnish

Salt & pepper to taste



1. In a large pan, fry the eggs as you would an omelet, making sure to cook it through. Set aside for later.

2. In the same pan, add 1/2 cup cooking oil and fry the anchovies until crispy and golden brown. Set aside for later.

3. Remove some of the oil. Add in the garlic and onion and fry until golden brown.

4. Add the chili, diced beans and carrots, season with salt & pepper and stir fry for 2-3 minutes or until it is half cooked.

5. Add all of the cooked rice and stir fry until completely combined.

6. Add 2 tablespoon fish sauce, 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, 1/2 tablespoon dark sweet soy sauce and loads of pepper. I like it very peppery!

7. Stir the ingredients until completely combined, the rice should be a nice light brown color at this point. I like to fry the rice thoroughly for that smoky fried finish.

8. Stir in the fried anchovies and cooked eggs. I like to add the fried anchovies last so that it will remain crispy when served.

9. Right before serving, stir in the fried shallots and garnish with spring onion. Top off with a sunny side up if you like!



1. This is a great one-pan recipe. Using only one pan for all stages of the cooking ensures that each step builds on the flavor of the previous. For example, using the same oil that the anchovies has been fried in ensures a more tasty rice!

2. Do not add too much dark sweet soy sauce or the finished product will be too sweet and dark in color. I find the golden brown finished product to be very inviting!

3. Deep fried anchovies is typically used here but I find shallow frying to have an equal effect, and it is the healthier option. If you like your anchovies crunchy, simply shallow fry for longer.

4. For spice fans (like me), you can do a variety of things - (1) Add in more chili padi. (2) Add in more pepper for a gradual spice. (3) Add chili paste in Step 4 - All options are tasty as hell!

5. Mix up this recipe by adding seafood or fish in Step 4. I find that prawns marry well with the flavors of the anchovies.

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