Pickled Fish

Amarachi Irobi
Amarachi Irobihttp://@Amara_ii
My name is Amarachi Irobi, a content writer and food lover who loves to explore traditional African cuisine.
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Pickled fish is a Cape Malay traditional dish, and it’s especially popular during the Easter season. Easter in Cape Town would be incomplete without the city’s favorite delicacy: pickled fish. Travelers have also found pleasure in consuming pickled fish, while on tours in South Africa.

Some say this dish was created to feed the crowds on Good Friday following the morning’s three-hour church service, but others argue that this is not the case because the meal is also amongst the Muslims.

Pickled fish is not expressly tied to Easter, despite its relationship with the Christian event. It is believed to have come from Cape Malay cookery, which was used to preserve fresh fish during the early days of the Cape colony.

What Does It Mean To Pickle?

Pickling is the preservation or extension of a food’s shelf life through anaerobic fermentation in brine or immersion in vinegar. Vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, dairy, and eggs are all other examples of foods that can be pickled.

The texture and flavor of the food are usually affected by the pickling process. The resulting food is known as a pickle, often prefaced with pickled to avoid ambiguity.

Your pickle, whether a fish, meat or vegetable is usually lightly curried, sweet and tangy meal that is traditionally served with freshly baked bread or hot-cross buns.

It can be kept for up to six weeks, but it’s usually so popular and delicious that there may not be need for preservation. Watery mouths matter! haha!

Pickled Fish Combos

Pickled fish is consumed in a variety of ways. Some prefer to eat it plain, while others prefer to serve it with warm bread, buns, lemon, salad, or rice.

It should be kept in the refrigerator at no more than 40⁰F (refrigerator temperature) and consumed within 4 to 6 weeks for optimal flavor.

The combination ideas surrounding this dish, is totally up to you.

Is Pickled Fish Healthy?

Just like fresh fish, it is a great natural source of vitamin D3 and omega-3 fatty acids. It also contains a lot of selenium and vitamin B12.

Note: Pickling is used to preserve only a few species of fish commercially, but almost any type of fish can be pickled at home. Killing the larvae of the broad fish tapeworm, a parasite that can infect humans, is the first step in making safe home-pickled fish.


Pickled Fish

Here is a quick and easy recipe
Cuisine South African


  • 2 kg firm white fish fillets, I am using Hake
  • 6 large onions, peeled and sliced
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3-4 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp apricot jam
  • 1 tbsp black pepper corns
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 5 bay leaves

  • 2 tbsp roasted masala
  • 1 tbsp corn flour mixed with 3 tbsp. of water
  • Vegetable oil


  • Take the fish pieces and dust with the flour and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil, shallow fry the fish in a large frying pan, about 2 minutes on each side. Put aside on draining paper.
  • Next, in a large pot, heat the vinegar and water on a medium heat. Add the onions, sugar, salt, spices, jam, bay leaves and cook for 8-10 minutes.
  • Add the corn flour mixture and stir well. Transfer the fish, onion and curry sauce mixture to large heat proof dish, making sure the sauce covers all the fish.
  • Allow to cool and cover the bowl or container and store in the fridge overnight or for a few days.
Keyword Pickled, pickled fish
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!



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Amarachi Irobi
Amarachi Irobihttp://@Amara_ii
My name is Amarachi Irobi, a content writer and food lover who loves to explore traditional African cuisine.

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