uLoyiso’s pickled fish

uLoyiso’s pickled fish

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  • 8
  • Medium
  • Dairy free
  • 30 minutes
  • 1½ hours
  • Woolworths Warwick Cape Lady Chardonnay


  • For the batter:
  • 175 g flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 T paprika
  • 1 T Woolworths seafood seasoning
  • 15 g fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 3 cups cold water
  • For the pickled fish:
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 kg fresh hake fillets
  • flour, for dusting
  • 4 large onions, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 thumb-sized piece ginger, grated
  • 1 T cumin seeds
  • 1 T coriander seeds
  • 1 T garam masala
  • 1 T pickled fish masala
  • 100 g brown sugar
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • salt, to taste

Cooking Instructions

1. To make the batter, combine the flour, baking powder, paprika, seafood seasoning and coriander. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and water, then add to the dry mixture. Whisk together to form a batter of medium thickness.

2. Heat the oil to 160°C in a deep-fryer or large saucepan. Pat dry the fish using kitchen paper, dust with flour and dip into the batter. Fry in batches, draining on kitchen paper.

3. Heat 3 T oil in another pan, then gently fry the onions, garlic and ginger. In a dry pan, toast the cumin and coriander seeds. Add to the onion mixture and continue frying over a medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions are sweet and translucent.

4. Add the garam masala and pickled fish masala and stir through well. Fry gently for a further 5 minutes, then stir in the sugar and add the vinegar. Stir. Simmer over a low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with a bit of salt. Pour the sauce over the fish ensuring each piece is well coated. This is best served at room temperature with cold coleslaw.

Cook's note: Pickled fish is a major marker of the Easter period in most black households and each family holds its recipe in high regard. I’ve been raised to believe that my mom’s is the one to beat. Here it is: the best pickled fish in the country. Maybe the world.

Find more pickled fish recipes here. 

Photograph: Toby Murphy

Khanya Mzongwana Recipe by: Khanya Mzongwana
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If you're anything like our deputy food editor Khanya Mzongwana, you're obsessed with uniqueness and food with feeling. Cook her family-tested favourites, midweek winners and her mouth-wateringly fresh takes on plant-based eating.

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