GRILL HILLS: Grandma’s pickled fish
Q: With Easter fast approaching, I would love a good recipe for pickled fish. - Jose Claasen, Benoni
A: In Cape Malay tradition, pickled fish is prepared for Easter. It is usually made with fresh snoek and yellowtail, but my grandmother always used hake, which was really cheap back then. We didn't know it as a particular Easter tradition, although we grew up with it as a holiday treat made at Easter and Christmas. What we did know was that it was jolly nice. A sign of a really good pickled fish is firm, crunchy onions - ones that aren't too soft and have a good bite.
MY GRANDMOTHER'S PICKLED FISH
Season the flour with salt and pepper. Dip the fish fillets into seasoned flour to coat well on both sides. Preheat the oil in a frying pan and fry the fish on both sides until golden-brown and cooked. Drain on kitchen paper and allow to cool.
For the sauce, boil the onion rings in the water for 3 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients, except for the cornflour. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
Dissolve the cornflour in 30ml (2 tbsp) water and stir into the sauce. Simmer uncovered for a further 5 minutes until thickened.
Arrange the fish and the sauce in alternate layers in a large dish to serve, or transfer to a sterilised glass jar when cool, seal with a lid and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- 60g ( cup) cake flour
- Salt and white pepper
- 1.5-2kg white fish fillets
- Oil ,for frying
- 1kg onions, sliced into thick rings
- 375ml (1 cups) water
- 30ml (2 tbsp) curry powder
- 100g ( cup) soft brown sugar
- 2cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 3 bay leaves or lemon leaves
- 5ml (1 tsp) ground coriander
- 6 whole black peppercorns
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 chilli, finely chopped
- 500ml (2 cups) quality vinegar - if too strong use 250ml (1 cup) vinegar mixed with 250ml (1 cup) water
- 15ml (1 tbsp) cornflour