Less than 45 minutes
(+ pickling time)
Battered deep-fried fish:
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 2kg firm white fish (we used hake)
- 2 cups (500ml) cake flour
- 2 Tbsp (30ml) fish masala spice mix
- 2 cups (500ml) milk
- Salt and milled pepper
- 5 cups (1.25L) water
- 4 cups (1L) white spirit vinegar
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 3 Tbsp (45ml) curry powder
- 1 Tbsp (15ml) fish masala spice mix
- 2 Tbsp (30ml) ground turmeric
- 1 Tbsp (15ml) black peppercorns
- 1 Tbsp (15ml) coriander seeds
- 2 cups (500ml) brown sugar
- 1 jar (290g) apricot jam
- 2 Tbsp (30ml) cornflour
- 6-8 onions, sliced into rings
- Heat oil in a large pot.
- Cut fish into portions and pat dry with kitchen paper.
- Combine flour, spice mix, milk and seasoning.
- Dip each fish portion into batter, making sure to coat evenly, and deep-fry in batches for 4-6 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
- Drain on kitchen paper and repeat with remaining fish and batter.
- Arrange cooked fish in a deep baking tray or large bowl with a lid.
- For pickling liquid, combine water, vinegar, bay leaves and all spices in a large pot and bring to the boil.
- Boil mixture for about 8 minutes.
- Add brown sugar and apricot jam and simmer on high for 10-12 minutes.
- Combine cornflour and ¼ cup (60ml) pickling liquid in a separate bowl to create a smooth paste.
- Whisk mixture back into pot and simmer for 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened slightly. Taste sauce and adjust seasoning as desired.
- Add onion and simmer for 5 minutes. (Adding them at this stage will ensure onions have some bite and aren’t limp.)
- Pour over fish and cool completely, cover and refrigerate.
- Pickle for at least 48 hours before serving, or store for up to 3 weeks.
Cook’s note: Can’t find fish masala on shelf? Make your own!
Toast ¼ cup (60ml) coriander seeds, 2 Tbsp (30ml) each cumin seeds, fennel seeds and black peppercorns, 8 cloves and a handful fresh or dried curry leaves in a dry, hot pan for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Cool completely and grind using a pestle and mortar until fine. Combine with 1 Tbsp (15ml) each garlic powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, medium curry powder and ground turmeric and a pinch of salt. Store in an airtight container. MAKES ¾ CUP.