Pickled Fish (also known as ingelegde vis or Kaapse kerrievis) is a quintessential Easter dish in the Cape.
With a murky history, this aromatic, spicy dish certainly transcends faiths – it is rooted in Cape Malay food culture but is normally served during Easter, typically a Christian holiday. Most South Africans associate pickled fish with cherished childhood memories of food-filled family get-togethers during the Easter weekend, and continue the annual tradition at home. Many add secret spice mixes, but our recipe by Tronette Dippenaar, Head Chef at The Marine hotel in Hermanus, uses everyday spices you will find in your pantry.
RECIPE: Cape Malay Pickled Fish
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 large onions thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- 5 teaspoons curry powder
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 6 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon sticks
- 500ml white vinegar
- 1lt water
- 300g sugar
- 2kg Kingklip or Hake
- In a medium saucepan over a medium heat, add the oil and, when hot, gently sauté the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and spices and fry gently for a few minutes, or until fragrant.
- Add the vinegar, water and sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 20 minutes. In the meantime, dust the fish with the seasoned flour and pat off any excess.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy-based frying pan and, when hot, fry the fish till golden but still succulent.
- Place a layer of fish in a deep container and pour a little of the hot sauce over it, to cover. Continue layering fish and sauce until all the fish is covered. Cool, and then chill until ready to serve.
- Serve the Pickled Fish on a bed of garden salad with crispy bread.
Enjoy with family and friends.