Recipe: Pickled Fish - Business Media MAGS

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Recipe: Pickled Fish

An easy recipe for bulk pickling your catch.

Let’s get pickled!

Yields: 3kg drained weight

Preparation: 3 hours

Cooking: 60 minutes

It is normally traditional to pickle fish around Easter and when the time comes this recipe will come in handy. Some prefer to grill fish and then pour the pickling sauce over the fish, while others prefer to fry the fish in batter first. This recipe can be used for either. If using the grilled version, just omit the deep-frying part of the recipe.


Fish marinade

3kg of firm filleted fish – garrick, white cracker, steenbras, grunter or kob.

3 Tbls masala

3Tbls Robertson’s fish spice or the lemon spice

250g white vinegar

200g brown sugar


100ml vegetable oil to fry the onions and carrots

5 Tbls maizena

3 packets Knorr white onion soup

100g fish masala or Pakco curry powder or a wet masala from any good spice shop. Use more if you prefer it hotter or add some freshly chopped chilli.

2 Tbls fennel seeds

1 Tbls cumin seeds

1 Tbls ground cinnamon or a few blades of cassia bark

1 Tbls ground coriander

5 Tbls ground turmeric

5 star anise

4 fresh lemon leaves or curry leaves

2 cups of white vinegar

2 cups of brown sugar

3.5 litres of water

5 large onions, sliced

100g seedless sultanas (optional)

1 carrot, grated

2 Tbls ginger, diced

2 Tbls garlic, freshly chopped


1Tbls Himalayan pink salt/regular salt

400g flour to dust the fish

800g flour

2 Tbls fish spice and 3 Tbls masala

900ml ice water

2 litres canola or sunflower oil for frying



Mix the sugar, salt and vinegar together till the sugar dissolves. Add the masala and pour over the fish that has been cut into 40g bite-size pieces. Place the fish in the fridge to marinate for 30 minutes while making the sauce.


Drain off the vinegar marinade. Mix the masala and fish spice with the dry flour and dust the fish. Place in a tray or plate ready to dip into the batter. Mix the water, flour and fish spice with the masala and whisk gently to form the batter. Once the batter is ready, dip the dusted fish into the flour. Place in pre-heated oil at 180C till nicely browned. Remove the cooked fish from the oil and drain off the excess oil. Once the fish is cooked, place it in a tray and cover it with the sauce. Let it cool before storing it in the fridge for at least a day to absorb the flavours.

Pickling sauce

Slice the onions and grate the carrot and fry them in heated oil in a heavy-base pot. Add the masala, ground spices, garlic, ginger and lemon leaves to the onions, and lightly fry for 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar, water, vinegar and salt and bring to the boil. Mix the white onion soup and maizena in a cup of cold water till it makes a smooth paste, then stir into the pot of boiling water. Keep stirring to prevent lumps. Simmer till the sauce thickens. Once it has thickened, it is ready to pour over the fish.

Chef’s tip:

In a deep fryer, as soon as the fish floats it is cooked. Make sure it is not stuck to the bottom of the pan or frying basket.

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