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Sweet and Spicy Anchovies (Dilis)

Totally addictive and unbelievably good, these sweet and spicy anchovies (dilis) make a delicious appetizer. We eat it with rice and but it pairs well with some ice-cold beer, too! Quick and easy to make, you have something tasty in a matter of minutes!

Course Appetizer, Dinner
Cuisine Asian Cuisine, Filipino, Southeast Asia
Keyword how to cook sweet and spicy dilis, how to make sweet and spicy anchovies, sweet and spicy anchovies, sweet and spicy dilis
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Author Manila Spoon


  • 2 cups dried dilis or anchovies, sprinkled with water
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne, or to taste
  • 1 tsp ground paprika
  • 3 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup oil for frying, or as needed


  1. Combine sugar and spices. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil to medium. Add the dilis or anchovies and quickly stir-fry cooking for a minute (or less) just until the fishes have changed to a darker color or about half-cooked. Sprinkle the sugar and spice mix all over and quickly stir-fry. Cook just until everything is mixed through - 30 seconds to about a minute.

  3. Place the cooked dilis in a strainer (lined with paper towel if desired) to drain any excess oil Serve with rice vinegar on the side, if desired. So deliciously addictive!