Last updated on November 9th, 2023 at 06:21 am
The South African pickled fish recipe is a traditional African dish with a unique flavor profile. It is a preparation of fish, typically firm-fleshed varieties like snoek, yellowtail, or kingklip, that are marinated in a distinctive blend of spices and vinegar. This dish holds a place in South African cuisine, reflecting the country’s diverse culinary heritage and history.
Historically, pickled fish has its origins in the Cape Malay community, whose ancestors were brought to South Africa as slaves by the Dutch in the 17th century. Over time, the dish evolved as a fusion of various culinary traditions, incorporating spices like cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. These aromatic spices were introduced by the Cape Malays and became essential elements of pickled fish recipes. The preparation often includes onions and sometimes a touch of sugar to balance the flavors.
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Pickled fish is closely associated with the Easter holiday in South Africa, particularly among the Cape Malay and Cape Coloured communities. It’s a dish that has been passed down through generations, and many families have their own unique recipes and variations. During Easter, households across South Africa prepare pickled fish as a symbol of renewal and tradition.
Fish is a nutritious source of protein and essential omega-3 fatty acids. When pickled fish is prepared with healthy ingredients and consumed in moderation, it can be a nutritious part of a balanced diet.
South African pickled fish is a flavorful and culturally significant dish that reflects the diverse heritage of the nation. Its roots in the Cape Malay community and its association with Easter highlight its historical and cultural importance. While it may not be a dish for everyone due to its strong and distinctive flavor, it is an essential part of South Africa’s culinary tapestry.
How To Make Our South African Pickled Fish Recipe
4 1/2 lbs fish, firm fish fillets
6 large onions, peeled and sliced
Salt to taste
4 1/2 oz flour
1 tsp black pepper, ground
2 tsp turmeric
8 fl oz vinegar
8 fl oz water
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp jam, apricot
1 tbsp pepper corns, black
1 tbsp coriander seeds
5 bay leaves
2 tbsp roasted masala
1 tbsp corn flour mixed with Vegetable oil
Prep Time: 20 Minutes (6 Servings)
Cooking Time: 35 Minutes
1. Use flour to coat the fish, then season with salt and pepper. Warm the oil in a big skillet and lightly fry the fish for about 2 minutes on each side.
2. Set aside on a piece of paper to drain.
3. Then, bring the water and vinegar to a simmer in a big pot. Cook for 8-10 minutes after including the onions, sugar, salt, spices, jam, and bay leaves.
4. Next, add the corn flour mixture and mix it up thoroughly. Make sure all the fish is covered by the curry sauce before transferring the fish, onions, and sauce to a large heat-proof dish.
5. Once cooled, cover the bowl or container and place it in the fridge for at least a few hours, preferably overnight.
Pots, Pans and Cooking Equipment Needed for The South African Pickled Fish Recipe
Large pot for marinating fish
Mixing bowls for preparing marinade
Airtight containers for storing leftovers
Cutting board and knife for slicing onions
Cooking spoon for stirring the marinade
Plastic wrap or foil for covering dishes during marination
Refrigerator for storing marinating fish
Best Way to Store Leftovers From The South African Pickled Fish Recipe
a. Place leftover pickled fish in an airtight container to prevent odors from spreading.
b. Store the container with leftovers in the refrigerator at temperatures below 40°F (4°C).
c. Ensure the container is sealed tightly to maintain freshness.
d. Consume the leftovers within 2-3 days to ensure quality and taste.
e. Reheat leftovers in a microwave or on the stovetop until heated through before serving.
f. Do not reheat leftovers more than once to avoid compromising safety and taste.
Top Ways to Make A Better South African Pickled Fish Recipe
Use fresh and firm-fleshed fish for the best results.
Slice onions thinly to evenly distribute their flavor in the marinade.
Allow the fish to marinate for at least 24 hours for optimal taste.
Taste the marinade and adjust the seasoning to your preference before adding the fish.
Keep the fish pieces uniform in size for even marination.
Use a glass or ceramic bowl for marinating to avoid reacting with acidic ingredients.
Keep the marinating fish refrigerated during the entire marination process.
Tips and Tricks For Easier Creation
Use white vinegar for a traditional tangy flavor.
Add a pinch of sugar to balance the acidity of the marinade.
Experiment with spice combinations to suit your taste.
Use a non-reactive container for marinating to prevent off-flavors.
Seal containers tightly during marination to prevent odors from permeating the fridge.
Store leftovers in small portions for convenient reheating.
Try different fish varieties to discover unique flavor profiles.
Side Dishes and Desserts For the The South African Pickled Fish Recipe
a. Freshly baked bread or rolls
b. Creamy potato salad
c. Pickled beetroot or cucumber salad
d. Yellow rice with raisins
e. Coleslaw with a tangy dressing
f. Roasted vegetables with herbs
How To Serve the South African Pickled Fish Recipe
a. Serve the South African Pickled Fish cold.
b. Accompany with your choice of side dishes.
c. Garnish with fresh herbs or lemon wedges, if desired.
d. Place serving utensils and condiments like chutney or hot sauce nearby.
e. Provide plates, cutlery, and napkins for your guests.
f. Enjoy the rich and tangy flavors of this traditional South African dish.
Dietary Substitution For The South African Pickled Fish Recipe
1. Vegan Options for the South African Pickled Fish Recipe:
a. This not suitable for the Vegan diet.
2. Gluten-Free Options for the South African Pickled Fish Recipe:
a. Use gluten-free vinegar in the marinade
b. Substitute regular flour with a gluten-free flour blend for dredging fish
c. Ensure all spices and condiments are gluten-free
d. Serve with gluten-free bread or rolls
e. Check that any side dishes or condiments are gluten-free
3. Vegetarian Options for the South African Pickled Fish Recipe:
a. This not suitable for the Vegetarian diet.
4. Mediterranean Diet Options for the South African Pickled Fish Recipe:
a. Use extra virgin olive oil in the marinade
b. Include Mediterranean spices like oregano and thyme
c. Serve with a Greek salad or tabbouleh as a side dish
d. Accompany with whole-grain pita bread or flatbread
e. Use Greek yogurt instead of regular mayonnaise
5. Keto Diet Options for the South African Pickled Fish Recipe:
a. Choose fatty fish like salmon or mackerel
b. Replace sugar with a keto-friendly sweetener in the marinade
c. Serve with a low-carb side salad or cauliflower rice
d. Use full-fat mayonnaise in the recipe
e. Avoid high-carb side dishes like bread or rice
6. Heart Healthy Diet Options for the South African Pickled Fish Recipe:
a. Select fatty fish rich in omega-3s, like salmon or trout
b. Use a minimal amount of olive oil in the marinade
c. Serve with a side of steamed vegetables or a green salad
d. Opt for a light or reduced-fat mayonnaise
e. Limit added sugars in the recipe
7. Paleo Options for the South African Pickled Fish Recipe:
a. Choose wild-caught fish
b. Use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce
c. Serve with roasted vegetables or a Paleo-friendly coleslaw
d. Use a Paleo-approved mayonnaise or make homemade mayo
e. Omit any grains or legumes in side dishes
8. Low Carb Options for the South African Pickled Fish Recipe:
a. Replace sugar with a low-carb sweetener
b. Serve with a low-carb side salad or cauliflower mash
c. Choose a low-carb alternative for any side dishes
d. Use a sugar-free mayonnaise or make your own
e. Ensure all spices and condiments are low in carbs
9. Whole 30 Options for the South African Pickled Fish Recipe:
a. Select fish without added sugars or additives
b. Use compliant vinegar and spices in the marinade
c. Serve with Whole 30-approved side dishes like roasted vegetables
d. Make homemade Whole 30 mayonnaise or use an approved brand
e. Avoid dairy-based condiments and side dishes
10. Weight Watchers Options for the South African Pickled Fish Recipe:
a. Calculate SmartPoints for the recipe using Weight Watchers guidelines
b. Choose low or zero-point ingredients for side dishes
c. Use low-fat or light mayonnaise to reduce points
d. Adjust portion sizes to fit your point allowance
e. Track your points accurately when enjoying this dish
11. Low Fat Options for the South African Pickled Fish Recipe:
a. Use lean fish, such as cod or haddock
b. Use a minimal amount of oil in the marinade
c. Serve with steamed or boiled vegetables as a side dish
d. Choose a low-fat or light mayonnaise
e. Reduce or omit any high-fat condiments
12. Vegetable Variations for the South African Pickled Fish Recipe:
a. Replace fish with grilled or roasted vegetables
b. Marinate vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, and onions in the pickling marinade
c. Serve with a variety of vegetable-based side dishes, such as ratatouille or vegetable skewers
d. Use vegan mayonnaise or yogurt-based dressings for vegetable accompaniments
e. Explore different vegetable combinations to create unique flavor profiles.
It’s always recommended to check labels, choose quality ingredients, and consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized advice. Please note that these substitutions are provided as options to align the recipe with various dietary preferences and restrictions. Always check labels and choose ingredients that fit your specific dietary needs. Consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized advice.
“We are a couple who has visited and sampled food in every country in the world. We strive to get a local recipe for every dish we place on our blog. Some we have cooked in our kitchen, but most we enjoyed in the restaurants and streets of the world. Our thoughts and opinions are based on the food we loved the most, and you may find them and others you will fall in love with as well. Please enjoy the recipe and comment below.”
South African Pickled Fish is a testament to the country’s diverse heritage and culinary creativity. Its combination of spices, tangy flavors, and firm-fleshed fish makes it a unique part of South African cuisine, enjoyed by many both locally.
South African Pickled Fish Recipe
- Large pot for marinating fish
- Mixing bowls for preparing marinade
- Airtight containers for storing leftovers
- Cutting board and knife for slicing onions
- Cooking spoon for stirring the marinade
- Plastic wrap or foil for covering dishes during marination
- Refrigerator for storing marinating fish
- 4 1/2 lbs fish firm fish fillets
- 6 large onions peeled and sliced
- Salt to taste
- 4 1/2 oz flour
- 1 tsp black pepper ground
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 8 fl oz vinegar
- 8 fl oz water
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp jam apricot
- 1 tbsp pepper corns black
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 5 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp roasted masala
- 1 tbsp corn flour mixed with Vegetable oil
- Use flour to coat the fish, then season with salt and pepper. Warm the oil in a big skillet and lightly fry the fish for about 2 minutes on each side.
- Set aside on a piece of paper to drain.
- Then, bring the water and vinegar to a simmer in a big pot. Cook for 8-10 minutes after including the onions, sugar, salt, spices, jam, and bay leaves.
- Next, add the corn flour mixture and mix it up thoroughly. Make sure all the fish is covered by the curry sauce before transferring the fish, onions, and sauce to a large heat-proof dish.
- Once cooled, cover the bowl or container and place it in the fridge for at least a few hours, preferably overnight.