Pickled Fish

Pickled Fish. Photo credit: Unsplash

Homemade pickled fish: A classic South African delicacy

Embrace your local cuisine skills with a true classic. This homemade picled fish recipe is going to blow your taste buds into a new universe.

Pickled Fish

Pickled Fish. Photo credit: Unsplash

South Africa has more classic meals that actually originated here, even when other cultures also have their own versions. When it comes to homemade pickled fish here, it almost definitely has curry as one of the ingredients. Pickled fish is a delicacy in South Africa, especially along the Western and Southern coast. The fish is still the hero in this tasty recipe and is one of the most easy to find in South African markets and butchers.

ALSO READ: Chicken peri-peri and salsa tortillas with homemade pickled onions

Homemade pickled fish suggestions

The recipe uses snoek, a favourite mackerel among South Africans which is found in the Southern seas around our beautiful coastline, which also means that it’s easy to find. There are many ways to enjoy your pickled fish and one of them is as simple as having it on toast. If you want to impress somebody for breakfast, pickled fish goes great with French toast or just some eggs and maybe a hot cross bun. The choices are endless, but we do suggest some form of bread with it because that’s just tasty, isn’t it?

ALSO READ: Pickled and fermented chillies with a zingy chilie sauce

Embrace your local cuisine skills with a true classic. This homemade picled fish recipe is going to blow your taste buds into a new universe.

Last updated on 27 November 2023

Homemade pickled fish recipe

5 from 2 votes
Recipe by Cass Abrahams Course: LunchCuisine: GlobalDifficulty: Easy
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South African best-selling cookbook author and chef Cass Abrahams shares her version of the traditional Cape Malay dish, pickled fish.


  • 1 kg 1 snoek cut into portions

  • salt to taste

  • vegetable oil for frying

  • 2 large 2 onions, sliced

  • 5 cloves 5 garlic, chopped

  • 250 ml 250 vinegar

  • 125 ml 125 water

  • 10 ml 10 ground coriander

  • 1 tsp 1 masala

  • 1 tsp 1 turmeric

  • 2 2 bay leaves

  • 4 each 4 allspice and cloves

  • ¼ tsp ¼ peppercorns

  • sugar to taste


  • Salt fish and fry in oil until cooked.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside in a separate bowl, retain oil.
  • Place rest of ingredients except sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  • Turn down the heat and simmer until onions are transparent but haven’t lost their crunch.
  • Add sugar to taste and stir to dissolve.
  • Pour warm sauce and oil over fish, making sure that each portion of fish is covered. Allow to cool and store in a cool place.
  • Serve with fresh bread and butter.

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