To be honest, I am not certain these are dilis or anchovy fillets. They seemed a little wider and lighter in color to other small dilis I have purchased in the past, see this much earlier recipe for kinilaw na dilis for comparison. But when I spotted the already filleted small fish at the market, it seemed so tempting since all the hard work had already been done…
Back at home, the cook just added some salt and pepper to the tiny fish fillets, some egg yolks (leftover from the pavlova experiments) and some cornstarch (you can use flour instead) and fried these up in some vegetable oil in little patties roughly 3 inches in diameter. The eggs and flour acted as a binder for the fish fillets and it fried up crisp on the edges and a bit chewy in the middle.
I served these with a hastily made Indonesian style acar or mixed pickle by cubing some cucumbers and carrots, adding sliced chillies and dressing it with a vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pepper mixture. The acidity and sweetness of the instant pickle was a nice foil for the fried fish cake of sorts.
With a nice bowl of rice, a perfect lunch meal. It couldn’t have taken more than 20-25 minutes in total to prepare. If you’re going to try the same dish, here’s one hint that might help… Make sure you buy the fillets from a suki or known fish vendor. Some unscrupulous (or is it smart?) vendors tend to sell the less fresh fish in this manner and you don’t want that. Make sure the fillets are from the freshest possible fish to begin with for the tastiest final product. Enjoy! :)
P.S. If you have a better idea what these particular fish are called, kindly leave me a comment. Thanks!