Pickling fish has been practiced in Scandinavian countries, Japan, Korea and Northern Europe for centuries, as a great way to preserve excess fish for later. You can use most kinds of fish, such as mackerel or blue eye.






Skill level

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  • 1 kg firm, white fleshed fish, skinned, deboned, cut into chunks
  • 5 tsp salt
  • 1 litre white vinegar 
  • 3–4 tbsp brown sugar 
  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 2 cm knob of fresh ginger
  • 2-3 dried red chillies, chopped roughly
  • 4 brown onions, thinly sliced 
  • 2 fresh bay leaves per medium-size jar

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Chilling time 2 hours

Standing time 1 week

You will need to begin this recipe 1 week ahead. 

Place the fish in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Place in the fridge for approx. 2 hours.

Meanwhile, in a large pot, add 1 litre of vinegar, 2 teaspoons salt, brown sugar, mustard, coriander, fennel, peppercorns, garam masala, ginger and chillies. Bring to the boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add the onion to the vinegar solution. Leave for 1 hour to infuse.

Remove the fish from the salt and pat with paper towel, removing as much salt as possible.

Layer the fish and onion in sterilised jars, adding a few bay leaves per jar. Cover the fish with the vinegar mixture and seal immediately.

Leave for 1 week to infuse. Store for up to 3 months in a cool place.

Once opened, store in the fridge.