This snack / condiment takes less than 5 minutes to put together if all its separate parts have been prepared. There are only 4 parts to it, and every part can be eaten separately, but when brought together, it's just mmmmmm mind-bogglingly addictive. In fact, I usually make a batch of these with a single dollop of chili buah keras, and although it fills a large air-tight container, it's finished in less than a week. This is a fantastic accompaniment to meals, and we often find ourselves snacking on it.
For such a little fish, it sure packs a punch in nutrients and proteins. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, calcium, it can lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels, and is anti-inflammatory.
The best way to clean ikan bilis is to remove the head and organs, as they contain high cholesterol levels, but leave the bones intact, as these contain much of the calcium. It is also best to soak and rinse the dried ikan bilis several times to not only clean them, but to reduce the natural saltiness of ikan bilis.
The other main component of this condiment / snack is the peanuts. Did you know that peanuts are not really nuts but belong to the legume family, together with peas and beans? I only just found out myself, while researching the benefits of peanuts. They contain an antioxident beneficial to heart health and the reduction of cardiovascular disease. Peanuts offer good fats, in particular, a type of monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, also found in olive oil, that is beneficial to heart health.
The final component is gula melaka. OK, this is my indulgence! Gula melaka (or coconut palm sugar) is healthier than white sugar, but it is still sugar and intake should be moderated. Its sweetness balances the saltiness and spiciness of the dish.
I did not add any salt as the roasted peanuts I use is already salted. Feel free to add salt if you wish. Alternatively, you can completely omit salt altogether by using unsalted roasted peanuts.
It's simple, really. Heat the oil, add in the chili buah keras, then the gula melaka. Once these are well combined, add the ready fried ikan bilis and peanuts, fry to combine, cool and munch, munch, munch! My kind of snack!
Chili Ikan Bilis and Peanuts
Ready fried or baked ikan bilis
Ready roasted peanuts
Chili buah keras
grated gula melaka
Heat oil on medium heat.
Add chili buah keras and swirl it around for a few minutes.
Add gula melaka and fry together until combined.
Reduce heat to low, then add in ready fried ikan bilis and peanuts and fry together to combine.
Lay kitchen towels in a large bowl, then pour the chili ikan bilis and peanuts into the bowl. The kitchen towel will absorb the excess oil.
Once cooled, put the chili ikan bilis and peanuts into an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator.