Ikan Bilis ‘Tazukuri’ | Hiroko’s Recipes

‘Tazukuri’ is a Japanese dish of dried young sardines cooked in Sugar and Soy Sauce. It is a traditional dish prepared for New Year’s celebration. Young sardines called ‘Gomame’ in Japanese are traditionally used. Young sardines called ‘Niboshi’ (OR ‘Iriko’) are also used, but those dried sardines are too hard to find where I live.

Then I saw a product named ‘Ikan Bilis’ in the Asian food section of a supermarket. It’s not Japanese and I have never known Ikan Bilis. They are dried anchovy fillets packed in plastic bags. The fillets are, of course, missing head and tail, and that’s not good for New Year’s celebration. But I tried to cook ‘Tazukuri’ using them.

Ikan Bilis version of ‘Tazukuri’ tastes the same as the Japanese sardine version. I actually like Ikan Bilis version better, because head and tail and guts are missing. YES!!! What a discovery!!!


4 to 8 Servings


100g ‘Ikan Bilis’ (Dried Anchovy Fillets)
1 tablespoon Canola Oil
2 tablespoons Sugar
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce *OR less if ‘Ikan Bilis’ are very salty
1 tablespoon Sake (Rice wine)
1/2 teaspoon Rice Vinegar
1 teaspoon Toasted Sesame Seeds


I recommend to wash ‘Ikan Bilis’ with cold water a couple of times and clean them. Remove unwanted pieces such as scales and heads. Drain well.In a small bowl, combine Sugar, Soy Sauce and Sake (Rice Wine).Heat Oil in a frying pan over low heat, cook ‘Ikan Bilis’ until golden and crunchy, but do not over cook as they become bitter.Add the sauce mixture, stir to combine, and remove from heat. Sprinkle Rice Vinegar over and stir. The sauce will thicken with the remaining heat. Sprinkle with Toasted Sesame Seeds.

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