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Melayu Cape Pickled Fish Recipe

South African special occasion dish, Melayu Cape or Cape Malay Pickled Fish gets its flavor from ten herbs and spices along with a 24-hour soak in a spicy curry brine.

Cape Malay Pickled Fish

A South African Easter dish, Cape Malay Pickled Fish gets its flavor from spices and a 24-hour soak in curried brine.
Cape Malay Pickled Fish Recipe

2 pounds filleted yellowtail or any firm white fish
2 cups white-wine vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons ground curry powder
1 teaspoon ground paprika
1 teaspoon salt
5 whole black peppercorns
5 whole coriander seeds
4 large onions finely sliced
6 dried bay leaves
2 hot peppers
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup vegetable oil


Fry fish in hot oil until cooked and drain on paper towel. Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and spices in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the onions, cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes. 

Drain the pickling liquid into a clean saucepan and bring to the boil. Mix a little of the pickling liquid into the flour to form a thin paste, stir into the sauce and simmer lightly for two minutes to thicken slightly. 

Layer fish and the pickling mixture in a serving dish. Allow to cool then cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving. Serve with vegetables, rice and baked bread.

Did you know? During Apartheid years, the Coloreds as Cape Malayan people were known as had a midpoint position between blacks and the whites in South African society. The current Cape Malay population is small, less than 300,000 people most of who are Muslim.

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