Pickled Fish is a favourite South African recipe, particularly in the Western Cape where it is known as Kaapse Kerrievis. This classic dish can be made with any firm white fish fillets or a South African favourite called Snoek – which is still the best fish to pickle. Pickled in vinegar and flavoured with curry spices -it is traditionally eaten every Easter, on Good Friday, with Hot Cross Buns. The store-bought versions are normally very sweet and oily, so in my version, I have baked the fish and kept the oil to a minimum.

Pickle Fish Recipe

Pickled Fish

5 from 1 reviews
Recipe type: South African
Serves: 4
For the Fish
  • 500 Gram Firm, White Fish Fillets (See Notes Below)
  • 1 Tbles Curry Powder
  • Salt To Taste
  • 3 Tbles Oil
For the Sauce
  • 3 Tbles Oil
  • 3 Medium Onions Sliced into 1cm Rings
  • 2 Cloves Garlic Sliced
  • 6 Whole Peppercorns
  • 4 Whole All Spice Berries
  • 1 Tbles Curry Powder
  • 1 Tsp Turmeric
  • 1 Tsp Crushed Coriander Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 Tsp Chilli Flakes (Optional)
  • 3 Bay Or Fresh Lemon Leaves
  • ½ Cup Vinegar
  • ½ Cup Water
  • 2 Tbles Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Corn Flour
  • Salt to Taste
  1. Lightly season the fish with salt and curry powder and coat with oil before baking in the oven or air fryer for 15 to 20 minutes at 180°C, or until cooked through.
  2. For the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan, add onion rings and fry for a few minutes (it should retain a good crunch).
  3. Add garlic, peppercorns, allspice berries, curry powder, turmeric, crushed coriander seeds, garam masala, chilli flakes if using and lemon or bay leaves and stir through.
  4. Add vinegar and water and bring to a simmer. Add sugar and stir until dissolved
  5. Season with salt to taste.
  6. Combine the cornflour with a little water into a paste and stir into sauce. Allow the sauce to simmer gently while stirring until it has thickened.
  7. Let the sauce cool down.
  8. Add half the sauce in a single layer into a glass or ceramic dish. Pack the fish fillets on top covering with the remainder of the sauce.
  9. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before eating.
Serve with freshly baked bread or hot cross buns and a green salad.
What fish to use: It can be any firm sustainable fish. In South Africa that would be kingklip, kabeljou,yellowtail or snoek.