Is pickled fish your Easter tradition? What's your recipe?

Image credit: michaelolivier.co.za

Do you 'pickle fish'? Don't misunderstand the question - this is an Easter-related question to check in if you partake of a long-standing tradition of dishing up this curried variety of fish in many South African homes. Weekend Breakfasters got into the 'pickle spirit', with many claiming that this is a Cape Malay tradition - host Africa Melane affirming this with the claim that there are "...whiffs of curried onion..." throughout Observatory in Cape Town - while co-host Azania Mosaka maintains that Gautengers also have strong pickled fish traditions over Easter.

Caller Jenny from Melrose North shared some tips on making the dish:

Whatever fish you use, it is likely to go harder a day or two after you've made it, so rather don't go for harder fishes. Hake is great and I finger fry them a little bit thicker than two fingers thick and then you fry your sliced onions - quite a lot of them. For your sauce, I use the Balls chutney, quite a lot of vinegar, curry and apricot jam - which is the trick! That gives you your sweet and sour.

Image credit: capepointpress.com

Whether you're a 'pickler' or not, the jury's still out over the origins of pickled fish, as many South Africans have known to understand it. Caller Jill from Diep River reckons she knows the answer:

The story I've always heard was because it was a very religious weekend, the slave owners didn't have their servants around, they gave them (time) off for the Easter weekend. So the Malay slaves would make pickled fish because there was obviously a lot of fish in Cape Town and by pickling it, it meant it would last the whole weekend.

Image credit: 10recipes.net

Caller Annelise from Grotto Bay takes things a notch up when making a distinction between pickled fish and Indonesian fish:

I'm looking at South East Asian cookery and I've also been looking at where South African food originates from. I find strange similarities and how Indonesians cook the food exactly the way we cook our food. I've travelled to South East Asia to study the food there and there are anomalies between Indonesian food and what we call 'Boere Kos'.


This article first appeared on 702 : Is pickled fish your Easter tradition? What's your recipe?


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