Fish and Seafood
This page is dedicated to Zuri, 
who kept on nagging for it!

Fish and Onion Soup
Malay Fish Cakes
Cape Malay Pickled Fish
Prawn Curry
Fried Fish with Groundnut Sauce
Fish Curry
Crumbed Sardines
Sardines and Greens Stew
Cottage Fish Pie
Pickled Fish New
Pickled Fish New

Fish and Onion Soup

4 medium onions, sliced
6 tablespoons olive oil
1.25 litre water
bouquet garni (thyme, parssley, bay leaf, oregano)
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
4 thick pieces hake
4 slices French bread
2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half

In a large heavy pan, sautÚ the onions in half the olive oil until lightly browned. Add the water, bouquet garni, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then cover and cook over moderate heat for 15 minutes. Add the fish, re-cover and simmer over low heat for one hour. While the fish is cooking, fry the bread in the remaining olive oil and rub each slice with half a clove of garlic.
To serve, carefully remove the fish from the pot with a slotted spoon and arrange in a warmed deep dish. Top each piece of fish with a slice of fried bread. Taste soup and adjust seasoning., if necessary, then pour over the fish. Serve immediately.

Malay Fish Cakes

Flaked raw fish (skinned and boned)
Chopped raw tomato
2 thin slices bread soaked in a little water and cooking oil
1 egg beaten
squeeze of lemon juice
chopped parsley
salt, pepper, nutmeg 

Mix all together and form into balls, roll in flour and fry in oil. The mixture must not be too soft. For variation mince meat can replace the fish.

Cape Malay Pickled Fish

The Cape Malay culinary contribution brought an exotic touch to the food of our land. Here is a typical example:

1 kg yellowtail, scaled and filleted, skin on
coarse salt
oil for pan frying
2 large onions, sliced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup grape vinegar
half cup water
half cup golden brown sugar
2 tsp coriander, ground
2 tsp cumin, ground
1 tbs masala
1 tsp turmeric
2 bay leaves
4 allspice berries
4 cloves
8 peppercorns

To firm up the flesh, sprinkle coarse salt on both sides of the fillet and let it stand in the sink for 20 minutes. Rinse under running water and pat dry with a paper towel. Cut the fish in portions with the skin attached.
Do not cover fish with flour or butter but pan-fry pieces in oil till cooked through.
To make the sauce, simply boil then simmer the rest of the ingredients together till the onions are cooked but still crisp to the bite (about 7 minutes).
Layer the fish pieces in a ceramic or glass serving dish and cover each layer with the sauce and some onion. Be sure that the last layer is covered with sauce.
Let it cool, then refrigerate. Will keep for a week in a cool place and longer in a fridge.

Prawn Curry 
Hot Stuff - Serves 2-3

1 large onion, finely chopped 
3-4 green chillies 
15 ml garlic and ginger paste 
30-45 ml mixed masala (curry powder)
5 ml turmeric 
6 medium-sized jam tomatoes, peeled and pureed 
500 g prawns, shelled and alimentary canal removed, but keep tails intact 
fresh coriander leaves 

Stir-fry the onion, curry leaves and chillies in a little heated oil until the onion is golden brown. 
Stir in the garlic and ginger paste. 
Add the masala, turmeric and tomatoes and braise for a few minutes before simmering until the tomatoes are fragrant. 
Add the prawns, cover and simmer for another 5-7 minutes or until the prawns are done. 
Season with salt and sprinkle with fresh coriander leaves. 

Fried Fish with Groundnut Sauce
from Eastern Africa 
By kind permission of the Congo Cookbook
The distinctive flavour of groundnuts ( peanuts, grondboontjies) feature prominently in Central African recipes. This is another of Africa's many Peanut Sauce recipes

salt and black pepper, to taste 
one cup cooking oil 
one to two pounds fish fillets
one or two onions, finely chopped 
one-half cup of peanut butter (natural, unsweetened) or a homemade groundnut paste made by grinding fresh roasted peanuts 
one spoonful of curry powder (or any similar spice or spices) 

Rub salt and pepper onto the fillets.
Heat oil in deep frying pan until very hot. Fry fish in hot oil, one side at a time, until fish is browned and crispy, turning once. Reduce heat and cover. Allow fish to cook a few more minutes until it is done. Remove fish from pan. Place fish in covered dish in warm oven.
Increase heat under frying pan. Fry the onions in the same pan, until fully cooked. Remove onions and place them over the fish. Reduce heat.
Add peanut butter and curry powder (or other spices) to frying pan. Mix well with remaining oil. Reduce heat to very low. Slowly stir in enough water (about a cup) to make a smooth sauce.
Pour sauce over fish and onions. Serve with Rice.
Variations: include tomatoes, green pepper, hot chilli pepper, and/or garlic when frying the onion.

Fish Curry

1 kg unsalted snoek, sliced. (other firm flesh fish can also be used, yellowtail, for example)
5 ml salt
2 ml milled pepper
juice of half lemon
sunflower oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
15 ml curry powder
5 ml turmeric
10 ml cake flour
250 ml water
2 allspice berries
1 bay or lemon leaf
5 ml vinegar
20 ml sugar
15 ml smooth apricot jam

Season the fish with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the lemon juice and set aside. Heat a little oil in a saucepan and sautÚ the onion and the garlic for 5 minutes or until the onion is transparent. Add the curry powder and the turmeric and mix well. Sprinkle the flour over and stir it in. Add the water and bring to boil, stirring. Reduce the heat to low and add the fish, allspice and bay or lemon leaf. Simmer, covered for 15 minutes. Mix the vinegar, sugar and apricot jam and add to the saucepan. Simmer, stirring occasionally for another 15 minutes. Add more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately with rice.

Crumbed Sardines
Next time there is a sardine run at the South Coast, here is what you do with your catch...

400g fresh or frozen sardines (anchovies can be used as well)
50ml cake flour
1 egg
15ml milk
125ml dried breadcrumbs
sunflower oil
coarse salt

Dust the sardines with flour. Beat the egg and milk together and dip the fish in the mixture. Roll the fish in the breadcrumbs, coating them completely. Deep fry in hot oil, then drain on absorbent paper. Sprinkle the fis with coarse salt and serve them immediately.

...and if you have sardines left after the run, try this one as well

Sardines & Greens Stew courtesy of the Congo Cookbook
Canned sardines, often imported from Morocco, are cooked in stews throughout Central Africa. Any other sort of dried, smoked, or salted fish can be used in place of the sardines.

oil for frying (palm oil is most authentic, but any vegetable oil will do)
one onion, finely chopped
one clove of garlic, minced
one or two ripe tomatos, chopped (or canned tomatos, or tomato sauce or paste)
one to two pounds of spinach, cleaned, stems removed -- or -- cassava leaves (Feuilles de Manioc), kale, collards, or turnip greens or similar, cleaned, stems removed and parboiled (or some combination of these)
salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper or red pepper (to taste)
canned sardines (two or three cans is good, but one can will do if you're on a tight budget) 

If using dried or salted fish:
Soak fish in water for a few hours, rinse and remove any skin or bones, and cut it into bite-sized pieces.
Heat a few spoonfuls of oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes.
Add the spinach (or greens) and fry them at high heat for a few minutes, stirring continually. (just a few minutes for spinach, but a few minutes more for other greens).
Stir in the tomatoes (or canned tomatoes with their juice, or tomato sauce or paste), the salt and pepper, and a cup of water. Reduce heat, cover, and allow to simmer for twenty minutes or until the greens are nearly tender.
Add the sardines (or other preserved fish) and contine to simmer until the greens are ready to eat.
Serve with rice.


As a Vaalie, (person living in the North of South Africa) I have never eaten bokkems, but they were once a staple food along our West Coast where they were eaten like biltong (dried).

harders (mullet)
coarse cooking salt

Gut and wash the harders thoroughly (not necessary to scale them) 
salt the fidh very well and layer them in a large container in a cool place overnight. Next day remove the fish from the salt and thread a length of strong twine through the heads to form bunches of 10 to 20 fish. Hang the fish out in a windy place until dry - a few days - but bring them in overnight.

Cottage Fish Pie 
I just LOVE cottage pie, haven't tried it with fish yet!

30 ml oil 
2 onions, thinly sliced 
8 fresh mushrooms, sliced 
750 g haddock fillets 
410 g whole tomatoes 
15 ml tomato paste 
5 ml thyme 
2 ml chilli sauce 
6 potatoes, peeled and diced 
80 ml warm cream 
30 ml butter, melted 
salt and pepper 

1. Preheat oven to 180 ║C. Grease an ovenproof dish. 
2. Heat oil and sautÚ onion until golden brown. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
3. Remove any skin and bones from haddock and cut into strips. Add to pan and cook for 1 minute. 4. Chop tomatoes and stir in with juice, tomato paste, thyme and chilli sauce. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to thicken. 
5. In a large saucepan, cook potatoes in salted water until tender, then drain. 
6. Add cream and butter to potatoes, mash until smooth and season with salt and pepper to taste. 
7. Pour fish mixture into prepared casserole dish. Spread mashed potatoes on top of fish. 
8. Bake for 30 minutes until heated through. Grill top of fish pie until potatoes are golden brown. 

Pickled Fish

2 kg Kabeljou or Hake fillets
60 ml flour
10 ml masala
125 oil
2 cardamom pods
200 ml vinegar
250 ml water
3 onions
20 ml sugar
10 ml turmeric
10 ml curry powder
5 bay leaves


1. Season fish with flour, salt, pepper and masala. Heat oil in frying pan, add cardamom pods and fry for 30 seconds.
Add fish and fry u ntil golden brown.
Remove fish, drain on kitchen towel.
2. In a saucepan, mix vinegar, water, onion, sugar and spices together. Bring to boil, toss in bay leaves and cloves.
Simmer gently until onions are soft (about 20 minutes).
Remove mixture from heat. Cool slightly.

3. Place fried fish in a deep glass dish or jar and pour onion mixture over it, ensuring that fish is completely covered.
4. For best results, store fish for 24 hours to allow for flavours to develop.

Pickled fish
10 pickling onions, cleaned
20 ml mustard seed
10 ml ginger paste
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 chillies (seeded), sliced or whole
400 g geelbek or hake fillets
20 ml turmeric
250 ml brown vinegar

Heat enough oil in a large pan and sautÚ the onions, mustard seed, ginger paste, garlic and chillies for about 4 minutes. Remove and set aside the mixture. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Add more oil to the pan and fry the fish until almost done. Add the onion mixture and turmeric and fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Add vinegar and allow the fish to simmer for 3 to 4 minutes more until cooked through. Spoon into a dish and allow to cool completely. Serves 4.