Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pickled Fish

I have not made this particular pickle for ever so long. So it was that I decided to make a few bottles to take home with me to Kuala Lumpur during the Chinese New Year. (Okay, this is an extremely, extremely belated post).

Pickles such as this is very common in Malaysian Nyonya households. My grandmother used to pickle onions and also stuff chillies with raw papaya strips. I love both these dishes and it is so hard to find this now. The commercially made versions somehow do not come up to par at all. As with most nyonya recipes, they tend to be a bit tedious to make but the end result is delicious. This pickle fish dish is best eaten after about a week to allow it's flavours to develop. However do not keep too long after that or else the taste of the vinegar mixture changes somewhat.

Pickled Fish
Recipe from "Traditional Malaysian Cuisine"


500g fillet of fish (eg mackeral), cut into 3" size
2 cm piece of fresh tumeric, sliced into 5 pieces
1/4 cup garlic cloves
150g fresh young ginger sliced finely
2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
4 fresh red and green chillies, washed, sliced in half and dried in the sun (for about 2 hours. Then slice the chillies and set aside.
18 Tbsp sugar (adjust according to taste)
1/4 cup rice vinegar or white vinegar
1 cup vegetable oil


1) Heat the oil and fry the finely sliced giner until brown. Remove from oil and drain well.

2) Fry the garlic, drain and keep aside.

3) Using the same oil, fry the tumeric slices until the oil turns yellow and then remove. Strain the oil and leave it to cool.

4) Heat some oil and fry the fish until it is cooked. Leave to cool.

5) In a bowl mix the sugar and the vinegar together. Stir until the the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Prepare the Pickle:

1) In a dry jar sprinkle a layer of sesame. Top it with a layer of fried ginger, garlic and chillies.

2) Spread the fish slices on top. Add in a few Tbsp of the tumeric oil and vinegar/sugar mixture.

3) Repeat steps (1) and (2) until all the ingredients have been used.

4) Cover the jar tightly, place in the fridge and leave it for one week. Best consumed within a week after this.

5) Serve at room temperature as an accompaniment to steamed rice.


Angie's Recipes said...

This looks so GREAT! Can I just use dried red chillies instead?
THANK YOU for sharing the recipe.

ICook4Fun said...

This is such a nice looking dish. I am so going to make this once I get some nice fresh fish. Thanks for sharing Jo.

Angie's Recipes said...

Oops...I have no fresh tumeric in my it possible to substitute with the powder?

Pei-Lin said...

One of my faves!! It makes such a delish appetizer!!

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

Pickled fish! I am ashamed to say I have never heard of this!!! How can!!?? It sounds and looks delicious! The colours are lovely. Love the sound of it too - pickled fish! :)

MaryMoh said...

My looks interesting & totally new to me. Looks very delicious. I would love to try. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Ohhhhhh... this is so delish.
Gotta try one of these days.

tigerfish said...

Pickled fish? Though I have not tried it before, I know for sure THAT...IS....TRADITIONAL...stuff!

Edith said...

This is my first time seeing this. mmmm... now i wonder how it taste like. Something like achar?

Jo said...

Hi ICook4Fun, Ju, Annoymous & Tigerfish, thanks for your comments and if you like nyonya or pickles, this is a great dish.

Hi Pei-Lin, gosh .. you've had this before too! Delish isn't it.

Hi Angie, just omit the chillies altogether if you don't have fresh ones. The dried type will change the taste totally. I've also never tried it with tumeric powder but I suppose you could. But use a tiny pinch only as tumeric tends to get a bit grainy when fried in the oil.

Hi Edith, it's different from acar. This doesn't have that chillie kick as in acar. It's more sourish sweet than spicy.

Jo said...

Oops missed you out Mary and thanks for dropping by.

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

Jo, this look really really a great recipe, I feel want to try this immediately, I gonna to get some fresh fish tomorrow and trying this. Thanks for kind sharing.

noobcook said...

I've never tried this before but it sure looks yummy and pretty. anything pickled is usually addictive to me hehe

Rachel said...

Fish pickle is a staple food at home and we make it so differently..a lot spicier.. Your version looks a lot mellow. Am bookmarking it!

Sophie said...

I have never eaten pickled fush before but I think I must try it soon,...thanks for introducing it to me!

Kris Ngoei said...

Never made or had this before, but looking at the photos, I am totally convinced to give it a try! Ha ha I think my sisters would envy me for this special family dish :-)

Sawadee from bangkok,

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