Hot cross buns with pickled fish 

Hot cross buns with pickled fish 

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  • 6
  • Easy
  • 10 minutes  
  • 5 minutes 

This combo of pickled fish and hot cross buns is traditionally eaten over Easter in South Africa. The tradition originated in Cape Town, where spiced, vinegar-laced Cape Malay pickled fish is eaten at Easter to symbolise the vinegar given to Christ at the crucifixion. Another version of the history suggests that pickled fish was eaten because fishermen did not go out over the Easter weekend. However it started, it’s become a famous South African delicacy that brings together the best of sweet, tangy, spicy flavours. This cheat’s version is made with readymade pickled fish and hot cross buns – a great way to start if you’ve never tried the combo before!


  • 6 hot cross buns  
  • 30 g softened butter  
  • 2 t olive oil 
  • 500 g pickled fish  
  • microherbs, for serving  

Cooking Instructions


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1. Cut the hot cross buns in half and butter each half.

2. Place a pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, place the buns in the pan, cut side down and toast. Remove from the pan once golden and crispy.

3. Place 2 T pickled fish onto the base of each bun. Place a small handful of microherbs on the top of the pickled fish. Close the bun and enjoy.

Cook’s note: Want to make one or both of the elements from scratch? Try our recipe for Cape Malay-style pickled fish and traditional hot cross buns.

Find the recipe for Cape Malay-style pickled fish here. 

Find the recipe for traditional hot cross buns here.

Find more hot cross bun recipes here. 

Photograph: Jan Ras 
Videography: Romy Wilson 
Production: Hannah Lewry 

Hannah Lewry Recipe by: Hannah Lewry
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Woolworths TASTE’s Food Editor is passionate about conjuring up fresh ideas for fast and easy dishes that taste as great as they look. Turn to her expertise for everything from time-saving mid-week food to lazy weekend meals. You’ll have a lot of fun in the kitchen while you’re about it.

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