Recipe: Cape Malay pickled curry fish

This recipe comes from our new South African winery, Kanu. It’s a tried and tested Jane-Anne Hobbs Rayner recipe, and is sure to be the highlight of the day. The best part is that the longer in advance you prepare it, the better.

Cape Malay Pickled Curry Fish(1)


For the fish:
1 kg fresh kingklip or deep-sea hake fillets, portioned to the desired size
100 ml white flour, for dusting
salt and white pepper
45 ml sunflower oil

For the pickle:
60 ml sunflower oil
2 onions, peeled and sliced into chunky rings
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
a thumb-size piece of ginger, peeled and grated
4 bay leaves
6 fresh lemon leaves
3 whole cardamom pods
5 ml cumin seeds
1 red chilli, finely chopped
10 ml  turmeric
5 ml mild curry powder
15 ml brown sugar
60  ml white wine vinegar
5 ml finely grated lemon zest
8 black peppercorns
5 ml salt
the juice of 3 lemons
125 ml water

Heat the oil in a frying pan. Put the flour onto a plate and season with salt and white pepper. Dust each slice of fish in the seasoned flour, before frying it until golden brown on both sides. It should be just cooked through.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

Now make the pickling mixture. In a clean pan, heat the oil and add the onion rings. You want them to be slightly brown, but not soft.  Add the garlic, ginger, bay leaves, lemon leaves, cardamom and cumin seeds and cook, stirring gently, for another minute or two, taking care not to let the garlic brown.  Now add the chilli, turmeric, curry powder, sugar, vinegar, lemon zest, peppercorns and salt. Turn down the heat and let it gently bubble for two minutes, or until the mixture has reduced slightly, and the strong vinegary flavour has cooked away.  Finally, stir in the lemon juice and water. Simmer for another minute, then remove from the heat.

Tip half of this mixture into the bottom of a ceramic or plastic dish just big enough to hold all the fish in a single layer. Pour the remaining mixture on top, making sure every piece of fish is well coated with the pickling liquid.  Top with a few extra lemon leaves, cover the dish tightly with clingfilm or a lid, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours – preferably 24 – turning the fish now and then in its pickle.

Wine match: This is to be served cold, alongside some fresh bread, a plain salad and a glass of Classic Dry White, preferably on the couch and your feet in the air.

CLICK HERE to see our entire range from Kanu.

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