In the Western Cape pickled fish is a tradition, a custom passed down by parents to the next generation. It is custom to have this dish on Good Friday, because in some religions it is considered as “unholy” to eat meat on Good Friday.
I decided to follow my motto (quickly prepared but delicious food) and to prepare the dish quick and easy. So, off to the shop where I bought a 440g piece of ready baked hake in a batter. Perfect. I then only had to prepare the sauce. I used the following recipe for the sauce:
Canola oil, 5ml margarine
2 large onions, sliced into rings
250ml white wine vinegar
250 ml water
2ml ground ginger
2ml ground cumin
4 bay leaves
30ml apricot jam
8 black pepper corns
30ml corn flower
Fry the onions in the canola oil until cooked yet crisp. Do not brown the onions. In a flat glass dish, spread a layer of the onions, arrange the fish in bite-sized portions on top and then add another layer of onions.
Then, in the same casserole the onions were cooked, melt 5ml margarine and quickly fry the turmeric, curry, ginger and cumin. Add the vinegar, water, salt, jam and bay leaves and bring to the boil. (You could thicken the sauce by mixing the corn flower with a bit of the hot mixture and stirring it back into the sauce again.) Add the pepper corns and pour the sauce over the fish. Let it cool down and refrigerate for a few hours before serving it with yoghurt.
The next time I make this sauce, I would add some cardamom, lemon zest and maybe a chili or two.