Sweet and Spicy Dilis

Sweet and Spicy Dilis

Sweet and Spicy Dilis is a popular street food in the Philippines, a dish that is made out of dried anchovies in a sweet and spicy coating, it usually sold in deep fried peanut stalls in bus and jeepney terminals. Though this food item dominates the street food scene in the Philippines, it is not totally unique to the Filipinos as I have seen this served in Malaysian and Chinese cuisine as an appetizer the only difference is they add roasted sesame seeds.


2 cups dried anchovies (dilis)
4 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
cooking oil


  1. In a wok add oil then cook dried anchovies in medium heat for 1-2 minutes, do not overcook otherwise it will taste bitter.
  2. Remove from wok, drain then set aside.
  3. Place cooked anchovies in a bowl then add ketchup, sugar and cayenne pepper. Mix well and make sure anchovies are well coated.
  4. In a wok add oil then sauté garlic, add the anchovies and cook in low heat while continuously mixing until sugar melts.
  5. Remove from wok, keep it cool then serve.

27 Responses

  1. What a magnificent snack!
    Have a great day.
    🙂 Mandy

  2. I would like to eat this with a bowl of porridge. 😉

  3. yummy yummy, so perfect for boozing friends as finger food.

  4. I’m really enjoying the culinary journeys through your recipes! Would these be very salty, or have they been soaked before drying?

    • rsmacaalay says:

      They are not soaked so they will be salty to non South East Asian taste buds, anyways is not as strong as the oil preserved anchovies. But you still find it salty I guess you can soak ittt but will not be crunchy anymore.

  5. May I add that we Japanese eat this too? And I learned from a Korean blog that they also eat similarly (more spicy). I think only Japanese ones are not spicy (which is sort of expected). We use soy sauce and mirin, as main taste. We serve it as a side dish for rice. I would love to try Filipino version!

  6. Jay says:

    looks incredible n stunning..;P
    Tasty Appetite

  7. I have tried something similar, not sure where. Its delicious for sure

  8. Kristy says:

    I never would have guessed this was anchovies. The picture is fantastic!

  9. It’s like BBQ anchovies. I love it!

  10. Caroline says:

    Ooo those look so crispy and delicious. Like Kristy, I would have never guessed these were anchovies!

  11. kiwidutch says:

    Add me to the Kristy and Carloline club, I too would have had no idea that these were anchovies.
    Sounds interesting!

  12. kiwidutch says:

    Opps apologies Caroline, I spelled your name wrong 🙁

  13. Might have to make this for the wife as she enjoys anchovies. thanks for the recipe!

  14. Perfect with a tall glass(ES) 🙂 of super chilled St. Migs. Cheers, Raymund!!

  15. Meri says:

    anchovies scare me, but they sure are pretty in this way.

  16. I have heard of Dillas but never saw them in a dish before. Thanks for posting this.. now I know 🙂

  17. nors says:

    sarap nito bro sa isang malamig na SML

  18. Sissi says:

    I have some dried fish I never knew what to do with…Sweet and spicy is my favourite flavours’ combination, so I’m sure I would love this dish! It looks beautiful too.

  19. foodjaunts says:

    These are one of my favorite snacks anytime we go back to the Philippines. You’re bringing back such good memories – I don’t know why I never thought to make them here.

  20. foodjaunts says:

    Oh and I’m sorry I forgot to ask – regular ketchup or banana ketchup?

  21. Guia Obsum says:

    Some Japanese restaurants we’ve eaten at before usually serves sweetened dilis as appetizers. They’re really yummy! Too bad I can’t find any of them in grocery stores that are ready-made.

  22. That would taste great with coconut rice!!

  23. i love dilis.. i was just talking to friends about how i love to eat mongo with dilis…

  24. Ashley says:

    What a fantastic photo!! We love the ones we buy from the Korean market. Thanks for sharing!

  25. Definitely like the fried/dried combination. They might even be sold in konbini (Japanese convenience stores) with almond slivers. Actually, those are quite a bit crunchier…unless their saltiness levels are palpably kidney-destroying, I dig ’em with sesame seeds.

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