Pickled Fish Recipe

Pres Les on 03 Apr, 2023

Reading time: 2 mins


Pickled fish is an Easter staple in South Africa, here's the recipe.

Fish ingredients:

  • 1 liter Vegetable oil for frying (or as needed)
  • 1 to 2kg hake or other white fish
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder (of desired strength)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 cups full cream milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pickling liquid ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive/vegetable oil
  • 3cm piece fresh ginger, chopped finely
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 4 large onions, sliced into rings
  • 1 cup white grape vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon mild curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel
  • 1 tablespoon pink peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 4 whole allspice berries
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 can smooth apricot jam
  • 2 tablespoons corn flour
  • 60ml water
  • 60ml golden sultanas
  • Micro herbs for decoration
  • Serve with garlic steamed bread rolls (link) and butter

Fish instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a large pot/large saucepan with high sides.
  2. Cut fish into +- 100g portions and pat dry with a kitchen towel.
  3. Combine the flour, curry powder, turmeric, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix until evenly dispersed. Add the milk and whisk until there are no lumps.
  4. Dip each piece of fish into the batter, making sure to coat it evenly on all sides, and deep fry in batches for 4-6 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Drain on a kitchen towel and repeat until all the fish is cooked. Make sure not to overcrowd the pot.
  5. Arrange cooked fish in a large deep dish.

Pickling liquid instructions:

  1. In a large stainless-steel pot over a medium heat, add 2 tablespoons olive/vegetable oil, and when hot, gently sauté the onion until translucent. Remove onions from pan and set aside.
  2. Add a tablespoon of olive/vegetable oil and fry the ginger, garlic and spices gently for a few minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add the jam. Stir in the vinegar, water and sugar, and simmer gently.
  4. Combine corn flour and ¼ cup/60ml water in a separate bowl to make a smooth paste.
  5. Whisk corn flour mixture back into pot and simmer for 5mins or until sauce has thickened to your liking.
  6. Add sultanas, then taste sauce and adjust seasoning as desired.
  7. Pour over the fish and cool completely, cover and refrigerate. Pickle for 24-48 hours as desired. Sprinkle micro herbs over the dish for some colour and serve with warmed rolls or hot cross buns and butter.