Pickled fish with banana and litchi raita

Pickled fish with banana and litchi raita

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  • 4 to 6
  • Medium
  • 30 minutes
  • 40 minutes
  • Paul Cluver Gewürtztraminer 2011


  • 1 kg any sustainable firm white fish, filleted
  • 2 large onions
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 1⁄2 t finely chopped garlic
  • 1 t ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 T masala
  • 2 t ground cumin
  • 2 t ground coriander
  • 1 t turmeric
  • 3 T apricot jam
  • 1 1⁄2 t salt
  • 1⁄2 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup white grape vinegar
  • 1 1⁄2 cup water
  • 100 g brown sugar
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Chutney, for serving
  • Bread, for serving
  • For the banana and litchi raita, mix:
  • 2 small bananas, peeled and diced
  • 4 litchis, peeled
  • 1 cup plain yoghurt
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1⁄2 t salt
  • 1⁄2 t sugar or honey
  • a handful grapes, halved
  • 2 fresh mint sprigs, finely chopped

Cooking Instructions

Skin and debone the fish.

Peel the onions and slice into rings. Fry in a little oil in a medium-sized saucepan until soft. Add the garlic, ginger, masala, cumin, coriander and turmeric and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add the apricot jam, salt, pepper, vinegar, water and brown sugar. Tie the peppercorns, cloves and bay leaves in a muslin cloth and submerge in the mixture. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Fry the fish fillets in a little oil until just cooked through, keeping them whole.

Place the fish in a plastic or ceramic dish. Remove the muslin bag from the pickling mixture and pour the latter over the fish. Refrigerate uncovered until cool, then cover with a tight-fitting lid or foil until ready to serve. Pickle for at least 3 hours.

Remove the fish from the fridge 30 minutes before serving to bring to room temperature.

Cook's note: In the past, fish and a variety of vegetables were pickled as a way of preserving them. In my modern version, the piquant blend of sweet and spicy flavours contrasts well with the coolness of yoghurt and sweetness of the salad. I like to serve this dish at room temperature and pickle the fish for only a few hours before serving: this way it’s still tender. The fish will become firmer the longer it is pickled.

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First published in TASTE issue 71, April 2012.

Markus Farbinger and Liezie Mulder Recipe by: Markus Farbinger and Liezie Mulder
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