Crispy Anchovies with Chiles and Ginger

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    4 to 6

Appears in

I love having a supply of fried anchovies on hand. I put them out as a snack or at mealtime as a little side condiment. They keep well for several weeks if stored, once completely cooled, in a well-sealed glass jar.

Dried anchovies, 1½ to 2 inches long and silvery, are widely available in Asian markets, usually in plastic bags. There’s a little chile heat here as well as warmth from fried ginger and garlic.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (about 2 ounces) loosely packed dried anchovies
  • 5 or 6 dried red chiles
  • 2 to 3 cups peanut oil for deep-frying
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons fine matchsticks ginger

Method

Rinse the anchovies, pat dry, and set aside to air-dry.

Break the chiles in half, discard the seeds and stems, and place in a bowl with hot water to cover. Let soak for 10 minutes to soften, then drain, mince, and set aside.

Pour the oil into a stable wok or a deep fryer or deep pot; you want the oil to be about 2 inches deep, to cover the anchovies. (If you want to use less oil, fry the anchovies in 2 batches.) Heat the oil to 350°F—use a thermometer or else the following test: hold a wooden chopstick or the handle of a wooden spoon vertically in the pan, touching the bottom; if oil bubbles up along the wood, then it is at temperature. Add the anchovies and fry for about a minute, until crisped up and just starting to turn color, then transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.

If you used a wok, pour off all but a scant tablespoon of the oil and heat over medium-high heat. If you used another arrangement, place a wok or heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add a scant tablespoon (a little more if using a skillet) of the anchovy-frying oil. Toss in the garlic and ginger and stir-fry briefly, until the garlic starts to turn golden; then add the chiles and stir-fry for another 10 seconds or so. Add the anchovies and stir for about 30 seconds.

Transfer to a bowl. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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