Stir Fried Anchovies 멸치볶음 (Myeolchi Bokkeum)

Myeolchi bokkeum is a stir fried anchovy side dish that is extremely common and popular in Korea. It is considered to be a staple among banchan and I always have some in my fridge!

This is another one of those dishes that I consider to be a huge life saver in terms of quick meals for when I’m super short on time or just don’t want to cook. These anchovies with just a bowl of rice is so good and filling! It is also the first banchan plate to need a refill when we are having dinner. 

Anchovies are extremely nutritious. They are packed with protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, and may improve heart health. My grandmother has a diet that is super rich in anchovies and still hikes up a mountain to her house every single day at 84 years old! 


  • Dried anchovies- you should be able to find these at any Korean supermarket. Any size will work for this recipe, but I always find that the tiny ones taste the best. Try to avoid dried anchovies that are larger than your pinky finger- those are usually meant for stocks although it is not uncommon to see them as banchan. 

  • Aromatics- garlic & pepper slices are needed for this dish. I like to use two types of peppers- Korean peppers for flavor, and Serrano peppers for heat. Leave out the Serrano peppers if you don’t like spicy.

  •  Peanuts- This isn’t mandatory but I really love when myeolchi bokkeum has peanuts in it! It just goes so well together and adds a bit of texture too.

  • Seasoning sauce- I prefer the sweet & spicy version of myeolchi bokkeum. The sauce has gochujang, gochugaru, mirin, sugar, syrup, & soy sauce. To make the mild version: leave out the gochugaru and gochujang, and double the soy sauce. 

  • Finishing touches- finish with sesame oil and sesame seeds. If it can be helped, I ALWAYS try to add sesame oil last to any dish. I find that the flavor is much more pronounced this way and there is less chance of burning since sesame oil has such a low smoke point. 

Quick meal ideas

One of my favorite things about myeolchi bokkeum is that it is a GREAT meal replacement for days that I just don’t have the time or energy to cook a hearty meal. My favorite way to eat it is with rice, seaweed, and kimchi. There are a few variations of this combo, but the picture below is how I normally have it. 

When I’m extra lazy and don’t feel like making individual wraps like the one below, I just mix everything into one bowl and use kim jaban (Korean seasoned seaweed flakes) or Furikake (Japanese rice seasoning) instead of the seaweed sheets. 

The anchovies really have a ton of flavor and are SO nutrient dense. Besides kimchi, this is definitely my favorite banchan of them all! 

What do anchovies taste like?

These little fishies are pretty salty and can taste a bit fishy, but they also have a ton of umami. The trick is to learn how to balance the flavors- sugar is a great ingredient for this, as well as gochujang and gochugaru. The end result is a sweet, spicy, & savory side dish.

Stir Fried Anchovies

5 from 1 vote


  • 2 cups small dried anchovies
  • 5 garlic cloves sliced
  • 1/2 cup peanuts roasted & lightly salted
  • 2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 Korean peppers sliced
  • 1 serrano pepper sliced
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds

Seasoning Sauce (Sweet & Spicy)

  • 2 tbsp mirin (rice wine)
  • 2 tbsp gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
  • 1 tbsp gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp oligodang substitute corn syrup, rice syrup, or honey
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

To make the mild version:

  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp oligodang substitute corn syrup, rice syrup, or honey
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper


  • Heat a pan with oil over medium heat. Stir fry the anchovies for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Push the anchovies to one side, then add the garlic and peanuts. Add a little more oil if there isn't much left. Let the garlic and peanuts fry in the oil for about a minute.
  • After a minute, mix everything together.
  • Push the anchovies to the other side again, then add the seasoning sauce. Let the sauce bubble up over the heat for 5 seconds.
  • Mix everything together until well combined.
  • Reduce the heat to low, drizzle over the sesame oil, then add the peppers.
  • Mix together and continue cooking on low heat until the peppers are slightly wilted- about 2 to 3 minutes. Top with sesame seeds.
  • Allow it to cool completely before storing in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    5 stars

  2. Emily

    I love this side dish too!! Can’t wait to try your recipe 🙂

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