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The Best Fish To Use For Pickled Fish

If you’re looking for ways to elevate your pickled fish, Chef Keanon Michaels has a few fish-tastic tips to help you out! In his interview with Food24, he advised:

– Vinegar is a personal preference, whether you’re using white vinegar or brown. Brown, however, is his go-to.
– A fish with firm flesh is ideal as it holds the pickle better, like snoek, yellowtail and kabeljou. Try to steer clear of flaky fish like hake.
– Instead of dry ones, opt for fresh bay leaves – they are a lot more flavourful and will elevate the taste of the dish.
– The onions and sauce shouldn’t outweigh the fish so remember to KEEP THE FISH THE HERO OF YOUR DISH.


Traditional Cape Malay-style pickled fish


It’s never too early for pickled fish! We kept this traditional recipe super straightforward and delicious – the good old-fashioned way.


 cup flour
650g hake fillets, cut into pieces
onion, sliced
garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp finely chopped ginger
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp curry powder
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1½ cups white vinegar
1 cup water
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
4 bay leaves


1. Season the flour well with salt and pepper. Coat the hake in the flour and shake off any excess.
2. Heat some oil in a pan over medium heat and fry the hake for 3–4 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Remove from the pan and arrange in a glass dish.
3. Heat some more oil in the pan and fry the onion until soft and translucent, about 6–8 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and fry for 1 minute. Add fennel seeds and spices, and fry until fragrant.
4. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until slightly reduced.
5. Pour this pickling mixture over the fish, cover and place in the fridge until ready to serve.
6. Enjoy your traditional pickled fish with a side of roast veg, or on toast!

Recipe & styling: Kate Turner
Photography: Sean Dollery //

Take your next seafood recipes to the braai with these hake kebabs and mushy peas.


Pickled fish sub sandwiches with avocado




When you’re stumped for what to eat, grab a helping of your fave toppings and put these pickled fish sub sandwiches with avocado together!



¼ red cabbage, shredded
5 tbsp mayonnaise
hot dog rolls
2 tbsp olive oil
500g pickled fish, drained and flaked
avocados, sliced
Juice of 1 lemon



1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
2. Mix the cabbage with the mayonnaise and set aside.
3. Brush the tops of the hot dog rolls with olive oil and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Slice the hot dog rolls in half through the top to create a sub.
4. Fill each sub with cabbage slaw and pickled fish. Top with sliced avo and season with salt and pepper. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Recipe & styling: Leila-Ann Mokotedi
Photography: Peet Mocke //

For a more meaty option, make these roast beef subs!


Healthy pickled fish platter with corn pâté

SERVES 4 | COOKING TIME 1 hour 30 min

Instead of making pickled fish your side, make it the star of the show with our pickled fish platter with corn pâté that everyone can munch on.


For the corn pâté

200g butter
mielies, kernels only
onion, peeled and diced
3 sprigs thyme
garlic cloves
½ cup brandy

For the pickled fish platter

Olive oil
onion, peeled and sliced
3 cm ginger, peeled and grated
garlic clove, peeled and crushed
bay leaves
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
1½ cups white vinegar
½ cup sugar
Flour, to dust
Salt and black pepper
500g white fish fillets

To serve

1 amasi cheese ball
Baby corn
Baby marrows


For the corn paté
1. Melt 2 tbsp butter and fry the mielie kernels, onion, thyme and garlic until golden. Add the brandy and reduce for 10–15 minutes.
2. Add the remaining butter. Use a blender to mix to a smooth paste.
3. Refrigerate the pâté for 1 hour, until completely set.

For the pickled fish platter
1. Sterilise a large glass container big enough to fit the pickled fish.
2. Heat a little oil in a pot and fry the onion until translucent. Add the ginger, garlic, bay leaves and spices. Fry for a few minutes, until fragrant.
3. Add the vinegar and sugar. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Season the flour. Dust the fish with it, patting off any excess.
5. Heat some oil in a pan and fry the fish until golden but still succulent inside, about 3 minutes per side.
6. Place a layer of fish at the bottom of the glass container. Pour over the sauce until the fish is just covered. Continue layering until fish and sauce are finished.
7. Allow to cool, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve
1. Serve the pickled fish and corn pâté with amasi cheese, baby corn and baby marrows.

Recipe & styling: Amerae Vercueil
Photography: Andreas Eiselen //

Speaking of seafood favourites, our smoked snoek pâté makes a tasty addition to your nosh boards!


Pickled fish



Olive oil
onions, sliced into rings
garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp grated ginger
5 tsp mild curry powder
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander seeds
bay leaves
1L white vinegar
300g sugar
Flour, to dust
2kg hake fillets, cut into portions


1. Heat oil and fry onions until soft. Add garlic, ginger and spices, and fry for 2 minutes.
2. Add vinegar and sugar, and stir until dissolved. Simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Season flour with salt and pepper, and dust the fish in it. Pat off any excess flour.
4. Heat oil and shallow-fry fish until golden, 2–3 minutes per side.
5. Place a layer of fish in a deep sterilised glass container. Ladle sauce over it. Layer fish and sauce until finished. Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

TIP: For the best results, allow the fish to pickle for 3 days to combine all the flavours.




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