Every Good Friday, many Capetonians indulge in pickled fish and hot cross buns to their hearts’ delight. Do you know where this tradition originated? Some people say it was a custom passed down through the generations whilst others believe it is because eating meat on Good Friday is considered as “unholy”. Irrespective of the reason, it is a proudly Cape Malay tradition and we managed to get Cape Grace’s Executive Chef, Malika van Reenen, to share her secret recipe with us.
2kg fresh Cob, Cape Salmon or Kingklip, filleted and cut into small portions
Freshly ground black pepper
Sunflower oil for frying
100ml olive oil
5 large onions, sliced
3 bay leaves
12,5ml garlic, finely chopped
12,5ml fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 green chilli, sliced (or a little more if you like it HOT!)
45ml curry powder
5ml ground coriander seed
5ml ground cumin
15ml mustard powder
1 cup brown sugar
600ml white wine vinegar
30g fresh coriander sliced
(NB: Prepare in large quantities because this is addictive!)
- Heat oil for frying to a medium temperature in a large saucepan.
- Mix together salt, pepper and flour, coat fish and fry until golden brown and set aside whilst the marinade is being prepared.
- In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the sliced onion, bay leaves, garlic, ginger and chilli. Sauté for a few minutes and just before the onions start going brown, add all the dry spices. Allow this to cook for a further minute or two and when it just starts sticking to the saucepan add the sugar, salt and liquid and bring this to the boil and cook for a further five minutes. Add the coriander just before removing from the heat.
- In a large glass dish layer the fried fish and alternate with the pickling sauce, ensure the fish is completely covered in sauce and allow to marinate for at least two days before the Easter weekend. Serve with warm buttered hot cross buns.