It’s time to make your pickled fish right now


WHEN it comes to Easter food traditions, pickled fish is a firm family favourite, one that has every auntie competing over whose masala mix is the best, which fish you should use, or how crunchy the onions should be. Steenberg’s executive chef Kerry Kilpin share her recipe that she uses at Tryn restaurant at Steenberg Farm. Kerry uses Cape Bream as she says it’s a versatile fish that can be responsibly sourced and has the meatiness to carry the spices.

Pickled Cape Bream

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Total time: 35min plus 24 hour pickling time


  • 1kg Cape Bream, cut into portions
  • 150g sugar
  • 500ml white vinegar
  • 5ml whole cumin
  • 5ml coriander seeds, toasted & crushed
  • 10ml fish spice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 5ml turmeric
  • 5ml mild curry powder
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • 5ml grated ginger
  • 3 chopped onions
  • 10ml corn flour
  • 2 Tbsp sunflower oil for frying
  • Flour, for dusting
  • Salt and black pepper


  • In a pan over a medium heat, add 1 Tbsp oil and gently sauté the onion until translucent. Add the ginger, garlic, and spices and fry gently for a few minutes, until fragrant.
  • Add the vinegar and sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 20 minutes, without reducing. Thicken with corn flour to a nice coating consistency. Season to taste.
  • Dust the fish with the seasoned flour and pat off any excess.
  • Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a heavy-based frying pan and, when hot, fry the fish until golden.
  • 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.
  • Best made at least 24 hours in advance.
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