Steenberg’s take on the famous pickled fish recipe

When it comes to Easter food traditions, pickled fish is a firm family favourite, one that has every auntie competing over whose masala mix is the best, which fish you should use, or how crunchy the onions should be. Executive Chef Kerry Kilpin shares her pickled fish recipe that she uses at Tryn restaurant at Steenberg Farm. Kerry uses Cape Bream as she says it’s a versatile fish that can be responsibly sourced and has the meatiness to carry the spices.

By Steenberg Executive Chef Kerry Kilpin

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes 
Total time: 35min plus 24 hour pickling time


1kg Cape Bream, cut into portions
150 g sugar
500ml white vinegar
5ml whole cumin
5ml coriander seeds, toasted & crushed
10ml fish spice
3 x bay leaves
5ml turmeric
5ml mild curry powder
3 x crushed garlic cloves
5ml grated ginger
3 x chopped onions
10ml corn flour
2 tbsp sunflower oil for frying
Flour, for dusting
Salt and black pepper


In a pan over a medium heat, add 1 tbsp oil and gently sauté the onion until translucent. Add the ginger, garlic, and spices and fry gently for a few minutes, until fragrant.

Add the vinegar and sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 20 minutes, without reducing. Thicken with corn flour to a nice coating consistency. Season to taste.

Dust the fish with the seasoned flour and pat off any excess.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a heavy-based frying pan and, when hot, fry the fish until golden.

Place a layer of fish in a deep sterile glass or non-metallic container and pour a little of the hot sauce over it, to cover.

Continue layering fish and sauce until all the fish is covered.

Cool, then chill until ready to serve.

Best made at least 24 hours in advance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.