- Dish type
- Seafood starters
- Fish starters
This South African pickled fish recipe is a traditional Easter classic in Cape Town. Serve with freshly baked bread.
19 people made this
- 120ml vegetable oil for frying
- 1.25kg cod fillets, cut into 75g portions
- salt to taste
- 2 large onions, peeled and sliced into rings
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 8 whole black peppercorns
- 4 whole allspice berries
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 red chilli, seeded and sliced lengthways
- 450ml red wine vinegar
- 120ml water
- 110g dark brown soft sugar, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
MethodPrep:30min ›Cook:1hr ›Extra time:1day pickling › Ready in:1day1hr30min
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Season the fish with salt and place in the frying pan. Fry on both sides until fish is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from the frying pan and set aside.
- Fry the onions and garlic in the same frying pan over medium heat until translucent. Add the peppercorns, allspice berries, bay leaves and red chilli. Pour in the vinegar and water and bring to the boil. Stir in the dark brown soft sugar until dissolved. Season with curry powder, turmeric, cumin and coriander. Taste and adjust the sweetness if desired.
- Layer pieces of fish and the pickling mixture in a serving dish. Pour the liquid over until the top layer is covered. Allow to cool then cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving.
Alternatives to cod:
Try this recipe with inexpensive fresh coley or pouting. They both belong to the cod family but are much cheaper and available in larger supermarkets or fishmongers.
Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(5)
Reviews in English (4)
by Brooke Laurel
I really loved this recipe! I only made a couple of changes; added few extra bay leaves (dried), extra peppercorns and added a teaspoon of fennel seeds in place of the coriander. I changed the proportion of vinegar:sugar a little, cutting back on the vinegar - and thought it was a little too sweet at first, but found that the vinegar seemed more pronounced the next day. A friend made the same recipe & put in the whole amount of vinegar, finding it a little too acidic, so it might be an idea to just add 1 & 1/2 cups. On a whole, there was so much flavour in this! All you need is soft bread to soak up the marinade - it's so good.-04 Feb 2009
My husband is from Cape Town and loves pickled fish! Perfect lunch with bread and green salad. I've made this 2x -- first time exactly as written and 2nd time with a few changes. It seems to me that in the Cape, pickled fish is lightly battered and fried. I wanted to cut down on the oil and fat so rather than frying the fish, I grilled it under the broiler until just cooked. I like the sauce as written, except I agree that the vinegar was a bit much. I used 1 1/2 cups and thought that was still a bit strong. I think I should have upped the brown sugar a bit to balance the flavor.-09 Dec 2009
by Peter Pentz
Excellent recipe. Tip: if you need it same day, fry the fish 2 minutes each side, set aside and pour the curry/pickle sauce* in the pan and bring to a light simmer and place the fish back in, spooning sauce over the fish. Let it all low poach for 5 minutes. * a dash or two of Peri Peri or Tabasco sauce works well if you don't have a red chile pepper.-08 Jul 2015