How To Make Pickled Fish


For this traditional South African dish, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1kg of fresh fish fillets (such as snoek or yellowtail)
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • Oil (for frying)


To make pickled fish, follow these steps:

Step 1: Prepare the Fish

Cut the fish fillets into bite-sized pieces and season with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat some oil over medium heat and fry the fish until golden brown. Remove the fish from the skillet and set aside.

How To Make Pickled Fish

Step 2: Make the Pickling Liquid

In a separate pot, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, peppercorns, coriander seeds, salt, bay leaf, turmeric, mustard seeds, paprika, cayenne pepper, and garlic. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Step 3: Assemble the Pickled Fish

Layer the sliced onions and lemon in a large glass bowl or dish. Place the fried fish on top of the onions and lemon slices. Pour the hot pickling liquid over the fish until it is completely covered.

Step 4: Marinate the Fish

Cover the bowl or dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours to allow the flavors to meld together. The longer you marinate the fish, the tastier it will be.

Serving Suggestions:

Pickled fish is traditionally served cold as a starter or main dish. It pairs well with fresh bread or rice and a side of pickled vegetables. Enjoy this flavorful and tangy South African dish with friends and family at your next gathering!