Homemade Cape Malay-style pickled fish

Homemade Cape Malay-style pickled fish

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  • 4 to 6
  • Easy
  • Carb Conscious Dairy free Fat conscious
  • 15 minutes
  • 25 minutes, plus chilling time
  • Buy Ingredients Here

This Cape Malay-style pickled fish is made with aromatic spices and often eaten over Easter in the Western Cape. It will keep well in the fridge for a few days.


  • 2 T olive oil
  • 5 large onions, cut into thin rings
  • 1 x 3 cm piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 5 t mild curry powder
  • 2 t turmeric
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 t whole allspice or allspice powder
  • 1 t coriander seeds
  • 1 t whole cumin or cumin powder
  • 1 litre white vinegar
  • 300 g sugar
  • 2 kg kingklip, butterflied, or deep-sea hake fillets, cut into portions
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Flour, for dusting

Cooking Instructions

1. In a stainless-steel saucepan over a medium heat, add 1 T oil and, when hot, gently sauté the onion until translucent. Add the ginger, garlic and spices and fry gently for a few minutes, or until fragrant.

2. Add the vinegar and sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, dust the fish with the seasoned flour and pat off any excess.

3. Heat 1 T oil in a heavy-based frying pan and, when hot, fry the fish until golden but still succulent.

4. Place a layer of fish in a deep sterile glass or non-metallic container and pour a little of the hot sauce over it, to cover. Continue layering fish and sauce until all the fish is covered. Cool, then chill until ready to serve.

TASTE’s take: An old Cape recipe, with a few additions and subtractions, this meal is best left for two or three days to allow the fish to absorb the flavours.

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TASTE Recipe by: TASTE
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    Louise Kaplan
    September 26, 2023

    Cape Malay pickled fish recipe –
    1 litre of vinegar ?? that sounds like the wrong measurement and no water or apricot jam ?
    is this recipe correct ? please advise . many thanks

  • default
    Louise Kaplan
    September 26, 2023

    are you sure 1 litre of vinegar is required. sounds like its too much.