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This is one of the nicest fish recipes we have on our books. You wouldn't even know that you are eating frozen fish! The spicing in this recipe is so wonderfully warming, perfect for serving on a cold day. And the crumpets are delicious. You can make them on their own and serve them with butter and cheese for breakfast or with spicy mince or pork for a main course. Enjoy!

Hake Masala with Cumin & Coriander Crumpets


  • Crumpets
  • 250 ml bran-rich self-raising flour
  • 1 ml table salt
  • 30 ml castor sugar
  • 5 ml cumin seeds
  • 180 ml low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 30 ml low-fat spread, melted
  • 65 ml coriander roots, coarsely chopped
  • Fish
  • 10 ml canola oil
  • 125 ml onion, finely chopped
  • 4 - 6 curry leaves (optional)
  • 15 ml green chilies, chopped (or to taste)
  • 10 ml each fresh garlic and ginger, chopped
  • 5 ml ground coriander
  • 2.5 ml crushed cumin seeds
  • 2.5 ml turmeric
  • 1 x 410 g can chopped and peeled tomatoes
  • 65 ml tomato paste
  • 400 g frozen hake grill bakes (garlic & herb flavour)
  • 65 ml coriander leaves, coarsely chopped and a few whole coriander leaves

Chef's hint: The crumpet batter calls for aromatic coriander roots. If you cannot get coriander with the roots intact, use the stalks. Not as aromatic, but a good alternative.


Make the crumpets first. Sift together the flour, salt and sugar. Tip the husks back into the bowl and stir in the cumin seeds. Whisk together the buttermilk, egg, low-fat spread and coriander roots and stir into the dry ingredients. Don’t over-mix. Let it stand for 30 minutes. If it thickens too much in this time, lightly whisk in a little milk or water – it should be like thick pancake batter.

Heat a non-stick pan and drop spoonfuls of the batter into the pan. When bubbles appear on the crumpets’ surface, flip with a spatula and cook the other side until golden. Keep cooked crumpets warm.

For the fish, pour the oil in a large pan and add the onion and curry leaves (if using). Add a few spoonfuls of water to the pan then sauté briefly until the water has evaporated and the onion begins to appear golden. Add the rest of the ingredients except the fish and coriander leaves. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and allow to simmer until a little reduced and thickened.

Stir in the coriander leaves and place the fish on top of the sauce. Cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Do not turn the fish – when it flakes easily, it is cooked.

Serve a portion of fish with sauce on top of two or more crumpets, garnished with whole coriander leaves.

Serves 4