Anchovy Side Dish (2) | Myulchi Bokkeum (멸치볶음)

Korean people eat a lot of weird things and today's post is about one of them: dried anchovies. I know that anchovies don't have the best reputation. But I don't really understand it. Anchovies are delicious! They're what make pasta puttanesca so friggin' amazing and they flavor the stock for sujebi. They're fantastic and today, I'm talking about a dish that highlights them as a main ingredient.

Myuhl-chee is a popular Korean side dish. It's sweet and salty and sometimes it's spicy and it's such a quick and easy side dish (banchan) to whip up. My mom would make it all the time when I was a kid and I'd get excited when I'd smell it cooking. It's still one of my favorite banchans ever. And it's good for you! Anchovies, despite their small size, are packed with omega-3s and magnesium and calcium and phosphorus and vitamin B and iron. "They're good for your brain and bones," my grandma would say.

My original anchovy side dish post is two years old so I think it's time for an update. Like I've mentioned countless times before, I like to revamp my pre-fancy camera posts because the older ones are just less aesthetically pleasing.
1 cup dried anchovies (they come in different sizes from tiny baby ones to humongous ones; the humongous ones are usually reserved for making stocks. I personally prefer the tiny baby ones or the smaller medium sized ones)
3 long hot peppers, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons canola oil (or vegetable oil, corn oil, safflower oil, any neutral oil will do)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon hot pepper paste (gochujang)
2 teaspoon sesame seeds

Get a pan heating over a medium flame with the neutral-flavored oil.
Slice up the peppers and mash up the garlic while the pan is heating up.
Once the pan is hot, add in a little sesame oil and drop in the peppers and garlic and let them sizzle away until they soften. Next, add in the anchovies and stir them around to get them coated in the oil. Sprinkle in the sugar, drizzle in the soy, and then stir around to coat. The last step, which is technically optional, is highly recommended. Add a scoop of hot pepper paste and stir it in. The heat will help to "melt" the paste and it will slowly turn the whole mixture red; it should take 3 to 5 minutes for this to happen. You don't want to cook the anchovies for too long because the sugars in the hot pepper paste and the brown sugar will start to caramelize past the hard ball stage and you'll end up with a crunchy, hard mass.
Sprinkle and mix in the sesame seeds and it's ready to be served.
Dump the anchovies into a serving dish and garnish with a few extra sesame seeds if you like.
Serve alongside a bowl of sticky rice. Oh, and pro tip: there will be a little oil leftover in the serving dish (and the pan you fried the anchovies in). It is super delicious to "bee-byuh" a.k.a. mix sticky rice in that oil. It might not seem like the most heart healthy decision but it is delicious.
Here's the recipe page: