Anchovy Vs Whitebait: What’s the Difference?

If you’ve ever been to a sushi restaurant, you’ve probably seen both anchovies and whitebait on the menu.

But what’s the difference between them?

And which one is better?

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the differences between anchovies and whitebait, as well as give our opinion on which one is better.

So read on to find out more.

What are anchovies?

Anchovies are small, oily fish that are commonly used as a flavoring ingredient in a variety of dishes.

Despite their strong flavor, anchovies are relatively low in calories and fat.

They are also a good source of protein, calcium, and phosphorus.

Anchovies are typically sold in jars or cans, and they can be found in the condiment aisle of most grocery stores.

When cooked, anchovies tend to release a fair amount of oil, which can make them quite greasy.

For this reason, it is often advisable to drain them before using them in a recipe.

Anchovies can be added to pasta sauces, pizzas, salads, and more.

Some people also enjoy eating them straight out of the jar as a snack.

What are whitebaits?

anchovy vs whitebait

Whitebaits are small, silvery fishes that are found in coastal waters around the world.

In many parts of Asia, whitebaits are a popular delicacy.

They are often fried and served with rice or noodles.

Whitebaits are typically about 1-2 inches long, and they have a very delicate flavor.

Many people believe that whitebaits are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health.

In addition, whitebaits are low in calories and fat, making them a healthy choice for those watching their weight.

If you’re ever in Asia, be sure to try this delicious dish.

Anchovy vs whitebait – Main differences

Habitats

The first major difference between anchovies and whitebaits is their habitats.

Anchovies are found in the Mediterranean Sea, as well as in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Europe and Africa.

Whitebaits, on the other hand, are found in coastal waters around the world.

This means that whitebaits are more widely available than anchovies.

Size

Another major difference between these two types of fish is their size.

Anchovies are bigger than whitebaits.

Anchovies are often 3-5 inches long, while whitebaits are typically 1-2 inches long.

This difference in size can affect the flavor of the fish as we will discuss right next.

Flavor

Due to their smaller size, whitebaits have a more delicate flavor than anchovies.

Whitebaits are also less oily than anchovies.

Thus, if you’re looking for a fish with a milder flavor, whitebait would be the better choice.

Anchovies, on the other hand, have a stronger, more distinct flavor.

If you’re looking for a fish that will add a lot of flavor to your dish, anchovy would be the better option.

Health benefits

Both anchovies and whitebaits are low in calories and fat.

They are also a good source of protein, calcium, and phosphorus.

However, due to their small size, whitebaits are generally considered to be a better source of omega-3 fatty acids than anchovies.

Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for heart health.

Fishing methods

Both are often caught using big nets, but whitebaits are sometimes caught using a smaller net called a purse seine.

Calories per serving

Each serving of anchovies (3 oz or 85 g) has about 70 calories, while each serving of whitebaits (3 oz or 85 g) has about 100 calories.

Price

Another difference between these two types of fish is their price.

Anchovies are typically more expensive than whitebaits.

This is because anchovies are not as widely available as whitebaits.

Whitebaits, on the other hand, are found in coastal waters around the world, which makes them more readily available and thus, less expensive.

How to use them in recipes

Anchovies can be added to pasta sauces, pizzas, salads, and more.

Some people also enjoy eating them straight out of the jar as a snack.

Whitebaits are typically fried and served with rice or noodles.

A simple anchovy recipe to try

Now, if you haven’t had anchovies before, you might be wondering how to use them in a recipe.

Here’s a simple recipe for spaghetti with anchovy sauce that you can try at home.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (2 oz or 56 g) of anchovies
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) of white wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) of black pepper
  • 1/2 pound (225 g) of spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup (10 g) of parsley
  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) of lemon juice

Instructions:

  • Mince the garlic and add it to a pan with anchovies and olive oil. Cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the white wine and black pepper to the pan and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti according to the package directions.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the pan with the anchovy sauce.
  • Stir in the parsley and lemon juice and serve immediately.

What not to do when cooking anchovies?

  • Do not overcook them. Anchovies are delicate and can easily become rubbery if cooked for too long.
  • Do not undercook them either. Anchovies should be cooked just until they are tender, otherwise, they can be quite tough.
  • Do not use too much oil when cooking anchovies. A little bit goes a long way with these little fish.
  • Do not add too much salt to the dish. The anchovies themselves are quite salty, so there is no need to overdo it.
  • Do not forget to remove the heads and guts of the anchovies before cooking them. This step is important for both flavor and texture.

A simple whitebait recipe to try

Here is a simple whitebait recipe that you can try at home:

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg whitebait
  • 1 egg
  • Flour
  • Oil for frying
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon wedges (optional)

Instructions:

  • Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C.
  • Spread the whitebait on a baking tray and lightly dust with flour.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk an egg and pour it over the whitebait.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Heat up some oil in a frying pan over medium heat and fry the whitebait until golden brown on both sides.
  • Serve with lemon wedges and enjoy.

What not to do when cooking whitebaits?

There are a few things you should avoid doing when cooking whitebaits, as this can ruin the dish.

Let’s take a look:

  • Do not overcook the whitebaits. They should only be cooked for a few minutes until they are crispy on the outside but still soft in the middle.
  • Also, do not add too much oil to the pan. Whitebaits are quite oily themselves and you don’t want to end up with a greasy dish.
  • Next, do not salt the whitebaits before cooking them. This will make them tough and dry. Season them after they are cooked.
  • Finally, do not overcrowd the pan. Cook the whitebaits in batches if necessary so that they have enough space to cook properly.

Follow these tips and you’ll be sure to enjoy a delicious dish of whitebait.

Anchovy vs whitebait – Conclusion

In summary, anchovy and whitebait have some similarities but are also quite different.

Anchovies are a type of small fish that is often used as a flavoring ingredient, while whitebait is a small, young fish that is typically fried and served whole.

So, which one should you use in your recipe? It really depends on your personal preference.

If you want a dish with a strong fish flavor, then anchovies are a good choice.

If you prefer a more subtle flavor, then whitebait might be a better option.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which one you like best.