Some non-Koreans may be puzzled to see Koreans eating anchovies with their eyes and head all attached to them. After watching a few cooking shows on the food channel, I found out Americans usually use anchovies in sauce, mostly melted (so the perplexity understood). Koreans use anchovies mainly in two different ways: using bigger anchovies to make broth and using smaller anchovies to make a tasty side dish - myulchi bokkeum.
Myulchi bokkeum is an excellent source for calcium. Myulchi also has taurin that may be beneficial for high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
What would be the best match with myulchi? Myulchi increases absorption of beta-carotene, so it’s best to have it or cook it with vegetables containing lots of beta-carotene such as green peppers (kkwari gochu).
- Kkwari gochu
Now, let’s make myulchi bokkeum. It’s surprisingly simple!
3/4 or 1 cup dried myulchi (anchovies) (small, 1 or 1 1/2 inch long)
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste) - optional
1/2 tablespoon ginger (grated or minced) - optional
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (garnishing) - optional
1/2 cup of green peppers (kkwari gochu)
1/2 or 1 tablespoon of corn syrup or honey - optional
* The amount of each ingredient is subject to personal taste.
1. Make the sauce first: mix soy sauce, olive oil, sugar, garlic, and ginger. If you want to make it spicy, add gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste).
2. stir myulchi over medium or medium-high heat in a heated pan for about a couple of minutes. Stirring anchovies over the heat without oil will get rid of any fish smell and make them crispier.
3. Turn down the heat a little bit, add the sauce and stir-fry it. Add green peppers (kkwari gochu) if you have them.
4. When it’s well mixed and cooked, turn off the heat. Add sesame oil and garnish it with sesame seeds. If you want to make it sweeter, add corn syrup or honey at the end.