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Mini pickled fish Gatsbys with matchstick chips

Cape Town’s signature sandwich, served up MK style. Say what now? Gatsbys are bread rolls split lengthways, filled with hot chips and meat, chicken or seafood, and covered with trimmings and sauce. The sandwich received its name because it’s as decadent as the wealthy characters in F Scott Fitzgerald’s famous novel (besides pickled fish, you can cram it full of Viennas, polony, masala steak or just about anything else you fancy). But that’s where the similarities end. Greasy, satisfying and now an SA cultural icon, this meal in a roll certainly gets a green light from us.


1 cup white spirit vinegar
⅓ cup water
½ cup sugar
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp curry powder
6 black peppercorns
1 tsp salt, plus extra for seasoning
1 onion, peeled and sliced
1 bay leaf
1 cup flour
1 tbsp melted butter
3 tbsp sultanas
Zest of 1 lemon
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
¼ tsp white pepper
600g hake fillets
1 large potato, peeled and cut into matchsticks
8 mini rolls, halved

1. Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, turmeric, curry powder, peppercorns and salt in a large pot and bring to the boil. Add the onion and bay leaf and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about five minutes.
2. Combine two tablespoons of flour with the butter and add to the vinegar mixture. Turn up the heat slightly and cook for about 10 minutes. Make sure to stir constantly until the sauce has thickened and the taste of flour has cooked away.
3. Add the sultanas and lemon zest and stir to combine. Take the pot off the heat and set aside.
4. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan. Season the flour with salt and white pepper and dust the hake fillets in it.
5. Fry the fish until golden on both sides and cooked through. Drain on paper towel, then add to the pot with the sauce, mixing well to coat it.
6. Half-fill a deep pot with vegetable oil and heat to 160°C. Fry the potato matchsticks until golden and crisp. Drain on paper towel and season well with salt.
7. To assemble, slice open the half rolls and fill each one with pickled fish and matchstick chips. Secure each mini Gatsby with a toothpick or skewer.

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