This side dish is popular in Singapore/ Malaysia and it is usually found in nasi lemak dish. It’s extremely easy to make and it can be kept in an airtight container(s) for a couple of weeks. Best enjoyed with hot steaming rice; but as the recipe owner mentioned, it is also good on its own as a snack. It’s a bit similar to popcorn… once you pop, you can’t stop 😛

The original recipe does not use sugar for the chilli paste, so basically it is a salty and spicy dish. I added sugar because I thought the caramelised sugar would add a nice flavour and balance the saltiness. So sugar is optional here; when you make the dish, taste it before you add sugar and see if you prefer it salty or if it needs some sweetness.

Spicy anchovies and peanuts

(adapted from recipe by Helina Lee, Food Safari)

  • 300 gr dried and salted anchovies (ikan bilis)
  • 200 gr raw peanuts, skin on

Dried anchovies and peanuts

Chilli paste

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • red chillies. I used 8 small red chillies.
  • 8 candlenuts
  • 1 tablespoon dry chilli powder
  • 2 tablespoons anchovies (ikan bilis)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons caster sugar


Step 1. Dry fry anchovies and raw peanuts over low heat for 30 minutes, toss regularly. Let it cool.

Dry fry anchovies and peanuts

Step 2. To make the chilli paste, blend onion, garlic, chillies, candlenuts, chilli powder and anchovies in a food processor or hand blender.

Ingredients for the chilli paste

Blend to make chilli paste

Step 3. In a wide pan or wok, fry chilli paste with oil until fragrant and then mix in anchovies and peanuts and stir well to coat. Add sugar and mix well.

Fry the chilli paste

Stir in the anchovies and peanuts and mix well

Step 4. Cool and store in airtight containers.

Spicy anchovies and peanuts