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Salvaging Easter 2013

Posted on April 03, 2013 | 1 comment

There are many holidays that make me miss home. Easter is definitely one of them, and I have tried to do something special every year since I have been living in NYC. This year, because of my commitment to the Easter dinner at our church, I completely forgot about Easter in my own home. It's easy to forget when you have a husband who is not fazed by holidays, and no kids to start traditions with. Anyway, by the time I realized I had forgotten about it, I was receiving messages from folks at home, inquiring whether or not I had made Pickled Fish.

Pickled Fish is a Cape Malay dish, traditionally made at Easter. It's basically a curried sauce made to pour over battered and fried fish. It's then eaten with Hot Cross Buns (another Cape favorite). Eventually after enough people had asked me, I realized that the universe was trying to tell me something. Even though I was tired, I still needed to do something special to connect me to home. So I made a plan to salvage Easter, and made Pickled Fish as well as a Lemon Meringue tart - mostly because I wanted something sweet and the Hot Cross buns would've been too complicated to make. Both were good! Here's my cousin Lucinda's pickled fish recipe for you to try, anytime of the year:

Pickled Fish:

Fillet pieces of firm white fish



oil for frying

cinnamon sticks

star anise

whole aniseed

coriander seeds

one whole onion, cut into rings

one chicken stock cube, soaked in 2 cups of boiling water

desiccated coconut

2 tsp turmeric

2 tsp fish masala spice

3 tbsp vinegar

2 tbsp brown sugar

Batter recipe:

1 egg

1/3 cup flour

1 tsp fish masala spice

1/2 cup milk, or enough until batter is thick enough to coat fish


Salt and pepper the fish well, coat in batter and fry in medium heated oil, to ensure fish cooks all the way through. Remove pieces once they are golden brown on all sides. Remove fish and place on paper towel-lined plate. Add coconut to chicken stock liquid and leave to stand. In a seperate deep saucepan, add some oil for frying and heat to medium heat. Add onion rings and fry lightly, add cinnamon, star anise, coriander seeds and whole aniseed. Add spices and fry for a minute, add vinegar and brown sugar, stir. Strain chicken stock liquid from coconut and pour liquid into the saucepan with onion mixture. Let all the flavors simmer for a minute or two, then remove from heat. Onions should still have some crunch. Place fish in a deep dish, pour onion mixture over fish and serve. This dish tastes so much better if you allow the sauce to soak into the fish before serving. Enjoy!




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  • Annie Vonk
    I am sure it was very nice Ilse. Glad you have tried it!

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