Myulchi Bokkeum (Stir-fried Anchovies)

Myulchi bokkeum (or myeolchi bokkeum) is a popular side dish (banchan) in Korea. The stir-fried anchovies are sweet, savory, sticky and crunchy! This easy recipe also shows how to make it a bit spicy.

Spicy Stir-fried Dried Anchovies

Myulchi bokkeum (멸치볶음), stir-fried dried anchovies, is a staple side dish in Korea. It’s one of the most common basic side dishes, called mitbanchan (밑반찬). Basic side dishes are made to last long and served with every meal, including home-packed school lunch boxes. Korean stir-fried anchovies are sweet, savory, sticky and crunchy! This recipe shows two ways to prepare myulchi bokkeum – mild and spicy.

Korean dried anchovies

As explained in my Anchovy Stock for Korean Cooking post, dried anchovies (myulchi or myeolchi, 멸치) come in a wide range of qualities and sizes. If you visit traditional markets in Korea, you can easily find big piles of different sizes of dried anchovies on display everywhere. Buy the best quality anchovies you can find. These anchovies are a staple in my freezer. Dried anchovies are best kept in the freezer. 

Medium to large anchovies are primarily used to make broth, gukmul yong (국물용). Smaller ones are used for various stir-fried or braised side dishes and usually labeled bokkeum yong (볶음용). The smallest, tiny anchovies are called jiri myulchi (지리멸치). You can use any small dried anchovies for this recipe.

Anchovies are high in nutrition, so Korean moms encourage their kids to eat more anchovies. They are an excellent source of calcium, protein, Omega 3 fat, etc. My kids didn’t favor them when they were little, but they both eventually acquired the taste. Now, these stir-fried anchovies are among the regular side dishes I prepare to bring with me when I visit them.

How to make myulchi bokkeum

You don’t need to remove the guts and/or the heads from small anchovies before using them. They are all edible. If you are sensitive to a fishy taste, you can pan-fry the anchovies for a couple of minutes in a heated dry pan before using them. This will remove some of the fishy taste.

Stir-fried Dried Anchovies

To make myulchi bokkeum, stir-fry the dried anchovies in a little bit of oil, and then mix them in a thickened sweet and savory sauce. You can give them a spicy kick by using some gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste). Dried anchovies are naturally salty, so don’t over season them.

This myulchi bokkeum recipe was originally posted in September 2011. I’ve updated it here with an improved recipe, more information, and new photos.

More basic banchan dishes

Kongjang (Soy Braised Black Soybeans)
Ojingeochae Muchim (Spicy Dried Squid Strips)
Yeonguen Jorim (Soy Braised Lotus Roots)
Ueong Jorim (Braised Burdock Root)

Have you tried this Korean stir-fried anchovies recipe?  Please rate the recipe below by either clicking the stars or leaving a comment! And make sure to share your creations by tagging me on Instagram! Stay in touch by following me on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Spicy Stir-fried Dried Anchovies

5 from 5 votes
Spicy Stir-fried Dried Anchovies
Myulchi bokkeum (Stir-fried Dried Anchovies)
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 
Myulchi bokkeum, stir-fried dried anchovies, is a popular side dish (banchan) in Korea. The stir-fried anchovies are sweet, savory, sticky and crunchy! This easy recipe also shows how to make it a bit spicy.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: banchan, dried anchovies, Korean anchovies, Korean stir-fried anchovies, myeolchi bokkeum
Servings: 8
Author: Hyosun
Ingredients
  • 1 cup small size mulchi 멸치, (dried anchovies)
  • 2 teaspoons cooking oil
  • 2 - 3 green chili peppers cut into small pieces (optional)
Sweet and Savory:
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine or mirin
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons corn syrup or honey
  • 2 - 3 garlic cloves thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Sweet and Spicy:
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang Korean red chili pepper paste
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine or mirin
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons corn syrup or honey
  • 2 - 3 garlic cloves thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Instructions
  1. Heat a pan with the oil over medium heat. Add the anchovies and stir fry for 2 - 3 minutes. Turn off the heat. Transfer to a plate.
    Korean dried anchovies stir-fry
  2. Add the seasoning ingredients, except sesame oil and seeds, to the pan. If using the spicy version, stir the sauce well to dissolve the gochujang. Turn the heat back on. Boil the sauce over medium heat until it bubbles up and slightly thickens, about 2 - 3 minutes.
    Korean dried anchovies stir-fry
  3. Add the anchovies and the optional chili peppers to the pan. Stir well until the anchovies are coated well with the sauce. Stir in the sesame oil and sesame seeds at the end.
    Korean dried anchovies stir-fry
Recipe Notes

Myulchi bokkeum can keep well up to a week in the fridge. 

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Comments

  1. I like the spicy version. It looks very tasty! We have something similar but with added peanuts.

  2. Hi Hyosun,

    I’ve been a reader of your blog for a few weeks now and it is my new favorite. I am Canadian, and my husband is Korean/Canadian. I love to try out your recipes on him. So far, they are all easy and delicious. My 18 month old son especially loves the braised chicken. I have some dried anchovies in my pantry, can you tell me how long they last? I received them from my Korean mother in law for making doenjang jigae last summer.
    Also, I have my own recipe blog @www.yousaypotato.wordpress.com. I would like to share some of my favorite recipes of yours on my site, will you be ok with this?.
    Once again, thank you for the delicious Korean recipes!!

    Tammy Park

  3. Biren – It is really delicious! I enjoy these little anchovies a lot. Sometimes, we add peanuts or walnuts too. Thanks for stopping by.

    Tammy – I am thrilled to hear you are trying out my recipes and your family enjoys them. How nice for your mother-in-law to send you dried anchovies! Dried anchovies in a package should last for a few months. But keep them in a freezer. They will last much longer. Also, you can share my recipes on your blog with a credit or a link provided. Thank you so much for visiting and leaving me the nice comments. You made my day!

  4. You make everything sound so good! Keep ’em coming!

  5. Thanks, Amy!

  6. This looks so tasty! I’ve never tried this dish before

  7. Looks great! This is one of my favourite banchan 😀

  8. Stephanie – Try it. You will like it. Thanks.

    Jen – Thank you!

  9. ohhh….this is my all time favorite..love your perfect version..
    first time here…awesome space you have..
    very interesting presentation with gorgeous cliks..
    Am your happy follower now..:)
    do stop by mine sometime..
    Tasty Appetite

  10. Hi Hyosun! I think I told you before that my mom goes to Korea a lot and she loves Korean food. She was here past July and she made this!!! I wasn’t paying too much attention when she was cooking but looks pretty similar. It’s delicious. We also have the same saying moms telling kids to eat “niboshi (dried anchovies)” because it has lots of calcium. Neighboring countries have same thoughts and teaching to the kids. 🙂 Japanese have similar dish, but it’s not spicy at all. It’s mainly soy sauce and sugar taste -typical Japanese ingredients with soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar, sesame seeds, etc. It was nice to see this recipe on your blog. Sending this recipe to my mom. =)

  11. Thank you, Nami! It’s always fun to learn new things and/or similar things about each other, isn’t it?

  12. Came back to say that I have some awards waiting for you on my blog. Do check it out. Have a lovely weekend!

  13. Thank you, Biren. I will be over soon.

  14. I have had a bag of dried anchovies in my fridge forever and at the time I bought them I thought I knew what I was going to do with them, thanks for giving me an actual recipe. Can’t wait to actually try this.

  15. Koosh – Thanks for stoppy by! Hope you get to make and enjoy it soon.

  16. Anonymous says

    I too had a large quantity of teeny tiny “dried anchovy” sitting in freezer forever from when a Korean friend was promoting them to me as a snack. Tried feeding them to dog who ate around them. So felt guilty for splurging on useless anchovies which were taking up valuable freezer real estate space.

    But seeing your recipes today and some comments on a gourmet type cooking site gave me courage to fry them in butter until crisp and golden, add sesame seeds, and a bit of xylitol as sweetener. Pretty good.
    Next time I’ll try garlic and study out hot sauce offerings.

    Thanks for your nice blog!

  17. Anonymous says

    I made this for a family gathering recently as part of the kids menu and everyone just ate it all up.
    I have used other recipes but this was absolutely delicious. Thank you for sharing. I am going to slowly try all your recipes.

  18. My family went to visit my in-laws in Maryland and when we left, I received a pressure rice cooker for my birthday, tomatoes and chile peppers from their garden and a bag of anchovies! I had to try your recipe and it was perfection!! Thanks you for sharing!! I was wondering if you would have a Nabak kimchi recipe? The one with radish, napa cabbage and carrots in water. Thanks again!

  19. 우리 엄마가 만드시는 멸치볶음 이랑 많이 비슷해서 행복하네요! 너무 먹고싶네요 🙂 감사합니다!
    -여진

  20. Hi, Mrs. Hyosun.
    I just found your website this morning and I can get enough scouring to the recipes. I first looked at the Mak Kimchi recipe and got so impressed with your patience answering visitors’ questions. In fact, those questions help me understand the steps also the alternative of your recipe. You are so cool.
    I live in Indonesia and in our country we have an almost similar dish to this recipe. We use grounded fresh chilies instead of chili flakes, so it is more spicy. For me this is interesting that Indonesia and Korea have almost the same dish.
    Great website. Great host.
    Thanks.

  21. 이상해 or Ron says

    노효선, I lived in Korea for 6 years (80s – 90s) and this was my favorite side dish. I could eat this, gim 김 and rice for dinner every night! I have a Korean lady that lives close and will occasionally make this for me but now that I have your recipe, I will be making my own 🙂

    I have a few questions. After cooking this, does in need to be refrigerated? How long will it stay good if I leave in out and how long if refrigerated?

    Thanks for the recipe and thanks in advance for any answers to the questions 🙂

    • So sorry for the late reply. Somehow I missed this in the midst of many other comments. It should be fine for 2 weeks in the fridge. It should be fine for a few days at room temperature but I’d recommend you keep it refrigerated.

  22. Hi Hyosun, thank you for this lovely recipe. I love Korean side dishes.

  23. Thanks for the recipes! I’d been buying this prepared at H Mart for years and wondered if I could make it myself. So easy, and so much better than the store-bought version.

    I added a few chopped nuts to mine, too, like some of the other commenters – throw them in with the anchovies in the first step so that they dry fry/toast with the fish.

  24. Thanks for the recipe! I tried the sweet and savory and it was perfect for my pregnancy craving!

  25. Raymond caron says

    I want to thank you for all the work you have put into this site. I was married to a Pusan woman for 37 years. She passed away three years ago. You are helping me to again enjoy my favorite Korean food. I spent almost 25 years living in Korea and love the food. Thank you.

    • Hi Raymond! I’m so sorry to hear you lost your wife three years ago. Wow 25 years is a long time. You must really miss the food. It’s great you’re making your favorite food. Thanks for using my recipes!

  26. Cynthia Kazadi says

    I lived in South Korea for one and for that time I traveled all over even Jeju islan. I tried cooking many dishes and love the anchovies. I tried your recipe thank you. My son and my grandchildren we even eat them over our salads.


  27. This is very delicious. I made the spicy version. Thank you for sharing.

  28. Elvia Hernandez says


    Excelentes recetas… simplemente DELICIOSAS

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