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Cape Malay-style pickled hake

Prep time
15 mins
Cooking Time
25 mins


msc ecolabel landscape
  • MSC certified Deep-sea hake fillets, cut into portions
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 large onions, cut into thin rings
  • 1 x 3 cm piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 5 tspn mild curry powder
  • 2 tspn tumeric
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 tspn whole allspice or allspice powder
  • 1 tspn coriander seeds
  • 1 tspn whole cumin or cumin powder
  • 1 litre white vinegar
  • 300 g sugar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Flour, for dusting


  1. In a stainless-steel saucepan over a medium heat, add 1 T oil and, when hot, gently sauté the onion until translucent.
  2. Add the ginger, garlic and spices and fry gently for a few minutes, or until fragrant.
  3. Add the vinegar and sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, dust the fish with the seasoned flour and pat off any excess.
  4. Heat 1 T oil in a heavy-based frying pan and, when hot, fry the fish until golden but still succulent.
  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.
  6. Cool, then chill until ready to serve.

TASTE’s take: An old South African Cape recipe, with a few additions and subtractions, this meal is best left for two or three days to allow the fish to absorb the flavours. Watch the cooking demo here. Discover more ideas with pickled fish here.

Photo credit: Woolworths TASTE / Jan Ras. 

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