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This recipe makes a delicious pickled fish which is traditionally eaten over Easter, especially in Cape Town and surrounding areas.
Cape Malay Pickled Fish Recipe from Afri Chef The African Recipes Cook Book
Cape Malay Pickled Fish,
delicious cold with salad

This pickled fish recipe dates back to the early days of the arrival of the people, who eventually became know as Cape Malays, in Cape town, South Africa.

The story goes that in those days, without refrigeration, pickling fish was one of the methods used to preserve fish for later eating.

There is a relatively unknown symbolism attached to the eating of pickled fish on Good Friday. The vinegar used for pickling symbolises Jesus sacrificing his life on the cross and being given vinegar to drink.

Cape Malay Pickled Fish makes one of the most delicious meals one could ask for over Easter, it is often eaten with hot cross buns the cross of which symbolises Jesus rising from the dead on Easter Sunday.

Pickled Fish Ingredients

2 lb yellowtail, scaled and filleted, skin left on
125ml (˝cup) golden brown sugar
5 cloves garlic
2 large onions
1 cup grape vinegar
125ml (˝cup) water
8 peppercorns
4 cloves
4 allspice berries
2 bay leaves
15ml (1 Tbsp) masala (curry powder)
10ml (2 tsp) cumin, ground
10ml (2 tsp) coriander, ground
5ml (1 tsp) turmeric
coarse salt, as needed
&oil, as needed for frying

NOTE:-Cape Malay Pickled fish may also be made using any firm fleshed fish including hake

To make the Pickled Fish

Roughly chop the garlic

Peel and slice the onions into rings

Firm up the flesh of the fish, by sprinkling coarse salt on both sides of the fillet and letting it stand in a glass bowl for 20 to 25 minutes.

Thoroughly rinse the fillet under running water. Pat it dry with a paper towel.

Cut the fish into serving portions leaving the skin attached.

Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the fish until cooked through

NOTE:- Do not cover the fish with flour or batter as normal in frying fish

Once the yellowtail is cooked remove the skin

Place the rest of the ingredients in a large pot, bring to the boil, stirring to ensure the sugar dissolves, and does not burn on the bottom of the pot.

Then simmer for approximately 8 minutes until the onions are cooked but still crisp.

Layer the pieces of fish and the sauce and onions alternately in a ceramic or glass serving-dish.

Ensure that the last layer of fish is covered with sauce.

Leave to cool, cover with clingwrap and then refrigerate.

Will keep for a week in the fridge.

Although it's traditionally eaten over Easter there's certainly nothing to prevent you enjoying this delicious fish dish at any time of year, especially summer when you might need a cold meal...

Pickled Fish is generally served with green salad and crisp rolls.(Although over Easter it is often accompanied by Hot Cross Buns)

NOTE:- Although your pickled fish may be eaten, once it's cold, on the day you make it, it is generally advisable to let it mature in the fridge for a few days before eating as this allows the spices to really develop the full flavour of the pickled fish.

So remember if you intend to serve traditional Cape Malay pickled fish over Easter you should prepare it round about the Tuesday before Good Friday

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Date Published 3rd March 2003
Author: Michael Tracey - Africhef

THANKS!... Africhef

My Afri Chef Cookbook is currently unavailable as I am revising, updating and rewriting it in Kindle® format.

Listed below are a few of my favourite South African Cookbooks in Kindle format, available for immediate download from Amazon.

My Cape Malay Kitchen is a relatively new release which has immediately claimed a prominent place amongst my favourite recipe books. If you are interested in Cape Malay cooking, culture and life, I strongly recommend this excellent book, which will provide many delightful meals and insights into a loving daughter's relationship with an ill father
Faldela Williams is a renowned Cape Malay cook and her The Cape Malay Illustrated Cookbook provides comprehensive and easy to follow instructions for many delicious traditional Cape Malay recipes.
Moving to the broader sphere of South African Cuisine I have included Traditional South African Cooking by Magdaleen van Wyk and Pat Barton, a South African recipe book deserving of inclusion in the arsenal of any cook wishing to create a wide range of delectable South African meals.

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