Whitebait Powder (銀魚粉)

I’ve been wanting to add ikan bilis powder to Alicia’s porridge because it’s supposed to be high in calcium. But I’ve always been wary of the saltiness of ikan bilis so I’ve been holding it off, even after she turned 1 year old. A couple of weeks back, my mother-in-law made a batch of coarsely ground ikan bilis powder for me to let Alicia try. I fed some to Alicia and she gave me the grossed out look. Hahaha… To be sure, I tried a second time and she gave me the same expression. Subsequent attempts to feed it to her failed. I didn’t want to add it into the porridge immediately as I was afraid that she would dislike the new taste in the porridge and so I introduced it on its own first – I do this for all new foods since she was younger. This is to prevent unnecessary wastage, as if she disliked the new food, adding it to the porridge would mean that she would reject the whole bowl of porridge – that of course happened before so I’m just learning from experience and I just don’t want history to repeat itself. 🙂 Well, so I ate the ikan bilis powder myself since it was so coarsely ground – I thought it was quite tasty but nevertheless salty, even for an adult’s tastebuds. Perhaps she wasn’t used to the saltiness as she hardly eats anything salty! Haha…

Then one day, after reading and posting questions about ikan bilis powder on mummysg, a nutritionist who often posts replies there suggested making fresh whitebait powder instead of ikan bilis powder. Whitebait is known to be nutritious as it is high in calcium and iron. After asking around a bit more, I was quite certain that the fresh whitebait wasn’t gonna turn out to be as salty as ikan bilis so I decided that I would buy it the next time I go pick up Alicia’s cod from the fishmonger.

I finally bought the whitebait from the fishmonger yesterday when I went to pick up Alicia’s cod. Actually, to be honest, it had already slipped my mind. Fortunately, the fishmonger had three packets of fresh whitebait on display and they caught my eye while I was checking out the prawns. These fresh whitebait are different from those dried whitebait purchased from dried goods stalls at the market. The dried ones are much saltier. Anyway, just to be sure, I double-checked with the fishmonger if the whitebait’s salty and he reassured me that it was gonna be ok for Alicia’s consumption.

After rinsing the whitebait, I fried them till they were dry. To be very sure that it was really dry, I toasted them in the oven till they were just crisp and not burnt. I offered Alicia one whitebait from the oven as she insisted on having one (she was hanging around me while I was busy in the kitchen) and she kinda liked it so I was quite encouraged by her response. I ate one and offered one to hubby too to check out the saltiness. We both agreed that it was mild and nothing like ikan bilis in terms of the saltiness. Haha. After toasting the whitebait, I proceeded to blend them into fine powder as I intend to add 1/2-1Tablespoon of it to her porridge in future.

Did she like the porridge with whitebait powder? YES! She finished her porridge in less than 5minutes yesterday! Hahaha.. maybe she was very hungry but well, at least she didn’t reject the porridge with the new ingredient! She’s quite a ‘purist’ with her food: she doesn’t like me to mix her food together so I always have to feed her dish by dish and she eats her brown rice porridge (cooked with stock) on its own. So adding an extra ingredient into her porridge (which is soooo nutritious) and her acceptance of it just made my day!

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9 Responses to Whitebait Powder (銀魚粉)

  1. Jumpy says:

    good for u! so happy for u! im so envy… my jumpy is allergy to all these so called 'green back fish' by the japanese… so i cannot give her… but they are so packed with nutrients(calcium, iron, DHA).. hopefully she grow out of this allergy one fine day… planning to try again when she is 18mths old or so..

  2. I'm thinking of introducing whitebait to my girl too. Does it go by the name of “Silver Fish” too (tiny white fishes which some people fry with egg)?

  3. Angie says:

    Hi Trailing spouse, yup, that's the one. But be sure to buy the fresh ones from the fishmonger and not those from the dried goods section coz the ones from the dried goods section are much saltier!

  4. Mummy says:

    Hi is this whitebait much bigger than the ikan bilis? My dad bought some and its a good 6-7cm long. (maybe longer) I was under the impression its as small as the ikan bilis. Not sure if its the right one. Thanks!

    • simplymommie says:

      The fresh whitebait is about that size, so he may have bought the fresh ones. Dried whitebait is much smaller, maybe half the size of Ikan bilis. Either one is fine though.

  5. Yen says:

    hi,
    do you happen to have a picture of what the finished powder looks like? It is not as “powdery” but a little “wet” and lumpy? Please advise.

    • simplymommie says:

      Hi,
      It shouldn’t be wet and lumpy. You need to fry it till it’s fully dry before you can blend it. I don’t have any picture of it anymore as this was posted many years ago. Sorry about that.

  6. Heidi Attwood says:

    Hi. I’m not sure where you are located : States? Singapore? Somewhere in SE Asia? Anyway I wanted your feedback on a recipe I found for assam laksa. The stock is made with ikan bills. We can get that easily here in Australia as well as the ikan bilis powder (Korean stores also sell it). My question is – can I use the powder to make up the broth, or do you think I should simply boil up the ikan as per the recipe?

    Many thanks!

    • Angeline says:

      I would suggest that you boil the soup with the ikan bilis as per recipe as it is actually quite easy to do so. Ready made stock tends to be quite salty and might alter the taste of the eventual product you are cooking.

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