www.marissa.co Pickled Fish

Cape Malay Pickled Fish Recipe – Baked and Gluten Free

South African pickled fish known as Kaapse Kerrievis (Cape curried fish) is a traditional Cape Malay dish. The most distinguishing feature of the dish is the vibrant yellow colour of the turmeric. There is a sweet and sour balance of flavours that you expect from Malay cooking. The fish has a zinginess from the vinegar, a little sweetness from the sugar and a background mild flavour from the curry spices.

I have made a few versions over the years, ones with a list of ingredients and dry frying the spices, but this creation would make me make it more often and that to me is a keeper of a recipe.

Pickled fish is a wonderful addition to your repertoire be it:

A lunch table in the summer.

Robust enough to be taken on a picnic.

Delicious for a casual get together, where you serve salads, cold meat and rolls on a hot summers day.

It makes an unusual talking point canape to accompany a welcome drink.

The pickled fish can be made and preserved, although we make the fish and give it 3 days in the fridge for the flavours to mingle and enjoyed eating it in one or two sittings, it’s that addictive.

Whole spices are usually added which when you have fussy eaters that means watching them pick them out, so I have crushed the pepper and limited the spice additions- it didn’t tamper with the taste at all and made for easier eating.

Traditionally pieces of white fish either whiting or kingklip (similar to cod) are coated in a flour batter and deep-fried. My version is easier and lighter the fish is coated in flour a little olive oil is drizzled over and the fish is baked in the oven and then for colour the grill is put on for a few minutes. I try and mention workarounds for dietary requirements and this can easily be made Gluten-Free for Coeliacs and gluten intolerant friends by coating the fish in rice flour and thickening the sauce with cornflour.

Pickled Fish
Preparation time
Cooking time
Total time
A vibrant curry flavoured pickled fish that is easy to make. Lighter than the traditional version with the fish being baked rather than deep-fried. A delicious addition to a picnic, summer entertaining table or midweek with a salad for a family meal.
Recipe type: Mains
Cuisine: South African
Servings: 12 pieces
  • 500g white fish, sliced into 1 cm slices
  • salt pepper to taste
  • about ½ cup Rice or Plain Flour
  • Olive oil
  • Curry Sauce
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 heaped tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 heaped teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 red onions sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour (or ½ T cornflour ) diluted in 2 tablespoons of water
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Wash the fish.
  3. In a bowl mix the flour, salt and pepper well.
  4. Coat the fish in seasoned flour and place on an ovenproof baking tin, drizzle or spray a little olive oil over the top.
  5. Cook the fish this will take around 15- 20 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.
  6. If needed grill to brown the batter, 5 minutes is all it will need.
  7. Transfer the pieces of fish into a glass lipped dish ideally housing the fish in one layer.
  8. Curry Sauce
  9. Add all the ingredients into a medium pot except the flour or cornflour.
  10. Boil the sauce for 10 minutes.
  11. Add the flour/cornflour slurry and stir till the mixture thickens.
  12. Pour the hot curry sauce onto the fish, cool and refrigerate for at least three days before enjoying.
The 12 pieces will serve 12 on a buffet, 6 as a starter with a side or 4 as a main course.

Fish the fish has to be a firm white fish in the Southern Hemisphere use Hake or Kingklip, in the Northern Hemisphere cod works well or any thick firm white fish
I hope you try this delicious recipe it really is a crowd pleaser and a wonderful dish to have in the fridge in summer.

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