Fish pickle

Posted on June 29, 2009. Filed under: Achaar/chutneys/powders | Tags: , , |


Preparation time: 1-2 hours

Cooking time: 10 to 30 mins


  • For the marinade
  • 1kg/2¼lb oily fish such as king fish or mackerel, cut into 1cm/½in cubes
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp salt
  • sunflower oil, for deep frying
  • For the pickle base
  • 6 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 5 sprigs curry leaves
  • 100g/3½oz fresh ginger, chopped
  • 100g/3½oz garlic, chopped
  • For the fish pickle powder
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground fenugreek
  • pinch asafoetida
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100ml/3½fl oz white wine vinegar


1. For the marinade, place the fish pieces into a bowl, then add the chilli powder, turmeric and salt and stir well to coat the fish evenly. Set aside to marinate for one hour.

2. Once the fish has marinated, heat the oil in a deep heavy-based frying pan until a breadcrumb sizzles and turns brown when dropped into it. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.)

3. Carefully lower the marinated fish pieces into the hot oil and fry for 3-5 minutes, or until crisp and golden-brown. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on kitchen paper.

4. For the pickle base, heat the oil in a separate frying pan. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and cover the pan with a lid. Fry for 20-30 seconds, or until the mustard seeds start to pop. (CAUTION: keep the pan well away from your eyes and face.)

5. When the mustard seeds have finished popping, add the curry leaves, ginger and garlic, and fry over a low heat for 3-4 minutes, or until golden-brown.

6. For the fish pickle powder, mix all of the fish pickle powder ingredients (except the white wine vinegar) to a paste in a small bowl with one tablespoon of water.

7. Add the fish pickle paste to the pickle base mixture and stir until well combined. Continue to fry for 2-3 minutes, or until the mixture starts to darken in colour.

8. Place the fried fish pieces into the pan with the fish pickle paste and stir well. Add the vinegar and bring the mixture to the boil. Remove the pan from the heat as soon as the vinegar has boiled. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then set aside to cool.

9. Once the pickle has cooled, transfer it to a vacuum-sealed glass jar. Chill the pickle in the fridge for two weeks before using.


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