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pickled fish recipe

Updated June 2021: Pickled fish is such a uniquely South African dish, if any of you are having friends or family out for the world cup, you want to make a batch of this pickled fish recipe. It keeps in the fridge for ages ready for a quick meal, is simple to make and will be a hit with your visitors. Pics and recipe updated provided by a sister from another mother.

What you need

kg firm white fish (skin removed)
Flour for dredging
Salt & Pepper
Vegetable oil


500ml white vinegar
500ml water
250ml sugar
1 tablespoon turmeric
2 teaspoons mild curry powder
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
4 large onions sliced
4 bay leaves
2 tablespoons Maizena (cornflour) mixed with 125ml water

The process

To make the pickling sauce put a pot on the stove on a medium to high heat and add the vinegar, water, sugar, turmeric, curry powder, and peppercorns. Bring it to the boil while you stir. It is important to stir while the sugar dissolves.

Add the bay leaves and the onions, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes to soften the onions, you don’t want them completely soft but softened with a firm center.

Now add the maizena and water mixture and stir until the sauce thickens. This should take no more than 2 or mintues. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and let it stand while you prepare the fish.

Cut the fish into nice size pieces that will make 2 or 3 pieces per portion.

Heat some oil in a pan and fry the fish fillets after dredging in seasoned flour, until cooked through.

In a large glass or ceramic dish, layer the fish with onions from the sauce between each layer and a few on the top. The pour over the sauce, cover with cling wrap and pop in the fridge.

If you can resist it, leave it to pickle for a few days before you try it, but it can be eaten the next day.

It will last for a few weeks in the fridge as long as it is covered with the sauce.