The Cape of Good Hope owes its varied cuisine to the numerous settlers from East and West who have made the Peninsula their home. This is an old Cape family recipe for pickled fish. Ingelegte (in-gh’legh-teh) is quite delicious, whether eaten with a green salad as a light luncheon dish, or served on chunks of bread. Any firm white fish may be substituted for the sole, if you prefer.
4 oz. butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 lb. sole or other firm white fish fillets
6 large onions, thinly sliced and pushed out into rings
2 tablespoons curry powder
8 small chillis, finely chopped
1 ½ tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons mango chutney
2 pints malt vinegar
In a large frying-pan, melt the butter with the oil over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the fish, a few pieces at a time, and cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until the fish is no longer opaque but not flaky.
With a slotted spoon, remove the fish pieces as soon as they are cooked, and drain them on kitchen paper towels. Transfer them to a shallow dish and leave to cool while you cook the remaining fillets in the same way.
Add about two-thirds of the onions to the butter remaining in the frying-pan and fry over moderate heat for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the onion rings are lightly browned. Reduce the heat to low and add half of the curry powder, stirring well with a wooden spoon. Add one-third of the chopped chillis, the salt and the mango chutney. Stir in just enough vinegar to make a thick paste. Remove the pan from the heat.
Place a layer of the fish in a large jar, or two smaller jars, or an earthenware crock with a tight-fitting cork. Spread the fish with a layer of the paste and cover with a second layer of fish. Continue making layers in this way until all the fish and paste have been used up. Set the jar aside.
Add the remaining onions, chillis and curry powder to the frying-pan. Pour in the remaining vinegar and bring the mix-ture to the boil over moderate heat, stirring carefully with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook the mixture for 10 minutes or until the onions are tender.
Pour the vinegar and onion mixture over the fish and set the jar aside to cool. When the pickled fish is quite cold, seal the jar well and keep in a cool place. The pickled fish should keep well for about a month.