RECIPE: Pickled fish bunny chows

Pickled fish is traditionally eaten on Good Friday; give this Easter classic a playful twist by serving it as a bunny chow

25 March 2018 - 00:00
By Jaydee Less
Pickled fish bunny chows.
Image: Bruce Tuck Pickled fish bunny chows.

Serves: 6-8


90ml (6 tbsp) oil

5 onions, sliced into thin rings

5ml (1 tsp) ground ginger

5 cloves of garlic, crushed

5ml (1 tsp) ground cumin

5ml (1 tsp) ground coriander

10ml (2 tsp) turmeric

6 bay leaves

25ml (5 tsp) medium masala curry powder

1 litre white wine vinegar

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

200g (1 cup) sugar

2kg hake fillets, skin off and cut into bite-sized portions

120g (250ml ) flour

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 loaves of white bread


  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, add half the oil and when hot gently saute the onion till soft. Add the ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, turmeric, bay leaves and masala and fry gently for a few minutes until fragrant. It is very important to cook your spices until you get an almost sticky paste - add a tiny bit of water to loosen the paste and cook again until you get a sticky paste.
  2. Add the vinegar, 15ml (1 tbsp) salt and sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 20 minutes. Check seasoning, adding extra if needed.
  3. Dust the fish with the seasoned flour and pat off any excess.
  4. Heat remaining oil in a heavy-based frying pan and, when hot, fry the fish until golden but still succulent, adding more oil if needed.
  5. Place a layer of fish in a deep sterile glass or non-metallic container and pour a little of the hot sauce over it, to cover. Continue layering fish and sauce until all the fish is covered. Cool, then chill until ready to serve.
  6. To serve, cut each loaf into three or four equal pieces. Hollow out the bread and fill with the pickled fish. Serve immediately.

Chef's notes: 

  • Pickled fish is best made in advance and place in a container and stored in the fridge.
  • It’s very important to use a sustainable fish — here we've used hake, as it's a good, firm white fish that soaks up the pickled flavours so well, and it’s green on the SASSI list.

Recipe by trainee chef Jaydee Less from the Sense of Taste Chef School in Cape Town.