Cape Malay pickled fish

Easter in SA wouldn’t be the same without this sweet and tangy pickled dish. Serve it up with hot cross buns or freshly baked bread.

Less than 45 minute

(plus chilling time)

Serves 6-8 




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  • Vegetable oil, for frying 
  • 1½ cups (375ml) cake flour + extra for dusting 
  • 1 tsp (5ml) baking powder 
  • ½ tsp (3ml) salt 
  • ¾ cup (180ml) water 
  • Salt and milled pepper 
  • 1kg yellowtail or longline kingklip, cut into large chunks 


Pickling liquid: 

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped 
  • 2 tsp (10ml) ground coriander 
  • 1 Tbsp (15ml) medium curry powder 
  • 1 tsp (5ml) ground cumin 
  • 2 tsp (10ml) turmeric 
  • 1 Tbsp (15ml) fish masala 
  • 2 cups (500ml) white vinegar 
  • 1 cup (250ml) water 
  • cloves 
  • bay leaves 
  • ½ tsp (3ml) peppercorns 
  • 1 cup (250ml) sugar 
  • onions, sliced into rings 
  • Salt and milled pepper 
  • Fresh dill, for garnishing 



  1. Heat oil in a large pot. 
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and water to create a thick batter. 
  3. Season yellowtail, dust with extra flour and dip into batter one by one. 
  4. Deep-fry for 5-7 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. 
  5. Drain on kitchen paper. 
  6. Place pickling ingredients, except onions, in a pot and bring to a boil. 
  7. Simmer for about 10 minutes then add onions. 
  8. Simmer for 5-7 minutes, season and remove from heat (take care not to overcook, onions should still be crunchy). 
  9. Place fish in a large baking dish. 
  10. Pour over pickling liquid, making sure that fish is covered. 
  11. Cool completely. 
  12. Marinate in the fridge for at least two days. 
  13. Garnish pickled fish with dill just before serving. 


Browse more Easter recipes here.


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