Pickled Fish

  • 2 – 2,5 kg fresh hake fillets (I prefer skin on as it is very thin and retains the shape)
  • 250 ml cake flour
  • 7ml salt
  • 7ml freshly ground pepper
  • 2-3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Oil for shallow frying (Canola or Sunflower)

The pickling mixture

  • 5cm ginger root, grated
  • 100ml oil (I use Canola)
  • 20ml ground cumin
  • 20ml pickling spice (a mixture of coriander seeds, all spice, cloves, whole or crushed peppercorns)
  • 10ml ground turmeric
  • 15ml chilli flakes
  • 2-3 fresh red chillies
  • 6-8 small bay leaves
  • 500ml good quality white wine vinegar
  • 500ml water
  • 500ml sugar
  • 200ml apricot jam
  • 200ml medium or hot chutney
  • 30ml potato or cornflour (I always use potato flour)
  • 30ml water
  • For interest, try these variations by adding any of the following to the mixture when you add the chutney etc:200 ml dried sultana grapes or small seedless raisins200ml diced dried apricots, sliced into slivers200ml sliced red pepper (capsicum)

Perfect accompaniments

Rice or grain based salad

Sliced tomato salad

Green leafy salad

Flat bread – especially with a starter

Garnish with fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves

As a serving suggestion, try this mixture in a tortilla wrap.


  1. Cut the fish into neat portions, about 5X7cm
  2. Place the flour, salt and pepper in a clean plastic bag, mix well, add about 7 fish portions at a time, and shake the bag to coat the fish with flour
  3. Remove the fish and add it to the beaten egg to coat it lightly
  4. Heat approximately 15mm deep oil in a frying pan
  5. Place the fish into the oil and fry over medium heat until it is place golden
  6. Remove the fish and place it on paper towel to absorb excess oil


Using a deep stainless steel pot, heat the oil.

Add the onions, ginger and the spices and sauté to heat the spices and start to soften the onions. Do not brown the onions.

Add the bay leaves, sugar, 500ml water, vinegar, jam and chutney. Allow the mixture to boil for 2-3 minutes. The onions must remain crisp.

Taste and adjust flavour with chutney, vinegar or chilli if required.

Mix the starch with the small quantity water to form a paste, add to the mixture and let it boil for 2 minutes, while stirring gently.

To assemble:

Using a porcelain, glass or pottery dish, layer the sauce and fish, ensuring that the final layer of fish is covered with the sauce.

Cover the dish with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate until required. Ideally for 7 days or longer.