An anchovy is a small, common salt-water forage fish of the family Engraulidae. The 144 species are placed in 17 genera; they are found in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans, and in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.
In Southeast Asian countries, dried anchovies are known as ikan bilis, setipinna taty, or in Indonesia ikan teri, (ikan being the Malay word for fish), dilis in the Philippines. In Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, anchovies are used to make fish stock, Javanese sambal, or are deep fried. Ikan bilis is normally used in a similar way to dried shrimp in Malaysian cuisine. Anchovy is also used to produce budu, by a fermentation process. In Vietnam, anchovy is the main ingredient in the fish sauce – nu?c m?m – the unofficial national sauce of Vietnam. In Thai cuisine, dried anchovies are called pla katak haeng. They are used in a variety of dishes and especially popular deep-fried as a snack. Similarly to Vietnamese fish sauce, Thai fish sauce (nam pla) is also often made from anchovies. In other parts of Asia, such as Korea and Japan, sun-dried anchovies are used to produce a rich soup similar to setipinna taty. In the Philippines, anchovy is very popular in making bagoong, a fermented concoction used for cooking.
These anchovy stocks are usually used as a base for noodle soups or traditional Korean soups. There are many other variations on how anchovy is used, especially in Korea. Fresh and dried anchovies are a popular part of the cuisine in Kerala and other south Indian states, where they are referred to as netholi/chooda (and nethili in Tamil Nadu) and provide a cheap source of protein in the diet. Fresh anchovies are eaten fried or as in a spicy curry. In English-speaking countries, alici are sometimes called “white anchovies”, and are often served in a weak vinegar marinade, a preservation method associated with the coastal town of Collioure in southwest France. The white fillets (a little like marinated herrings) are sold in heavy salt, or the more popular garlic or tomato oil and vinegar marinade packs.
In North America, anchovies are often used as a pizza topping, as an optional ingredient in Caesar salad, and as a component of Worcestershire sauce.
In Turkey, anchovies are known as hamsi and are eaten between November and March (their name being derived from hamsin, an Arabic term for the winter period). They are generally consumed fried, grilled, steamed, as a meatball, and as Döner, baklava and pilav.