We’ve put a plant-based spin on the beloved pickled fish traditionally enjoyed at Easter using seasonal aubergine.

Deep-frying the aubergine highlights its meaty texture and helps it soak up the delicious curry mixture. The sauce strikes the perfect balance between sweet and sour thanks to a hint of sweet preserve. It is ready to enjoy as soon as the onion mixture is done, but leaving the flavours to develop for a couple of hours (or even overnight) turns this humble dish into a moreish feast. Serve it on steaming hot cross buns, thickly spread with butter.

Cape Malay Pickled Aubergine our way

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30 min
Serves: 4


◗ 500 g aubergine (thickly sliced and peeled)
◗ 5 bay leaves
◗ 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
◗ 1 chilli (chopped)
◗ 2 Tbsp curry spice
◗ 3 Tbsp sweet preserve
◗ 3 onions (thickly sliced)
◗ ½ cup + 1 Tbsp cornflour
◗ 1 cup flour
◗ salt
◗ ½ tsp black peppercorns
◗ oil (for frying)
◗ 1 cup white wine vinegar
◗ 3 Tbsp sugar
◗ 1 tsp ground turmeric


◗ In a shallow bowl, whisk together ½ cup cornflour and 2/3 cup water to form a paste. In a separate bowl, season flour with salt and pepper.
◗ Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Coat aubergine in cornflour paste, then dust in seasoned flour and fry until golden and cooked. Pat dry on paper towel. Repeat until all the aubergine is cooked. Place in shallow container or on a plate.
◗ Heat 1 cup water, vinegar, sugar, 1 tsp salt, black peppercorns, turmeric, bay leaves, garlic, chilli, curry spice and sweet preserve in a large pot over medium heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Add onions and cook for 8–10 min or until slightly softened.
◗ Spoon onions over aubergine. Mix 1 Tbsp cornflour with 2 Tbsp water and whisk into pickle mixture. Bring to boil and cook for 2–3 min until mixture has thickened. Pour over aubergine and set aside until ready to eat.