Pilchard Akhni

Pilchard Akhni

Pilchard Akhni

Recipe by Fatima SydowCourse: MainCuisine: Cape Malay


  • 5 potatoes

  • Oil for deep frying

  • 500 ml (2 C) basmati rice

  • 60 ml (1/4 C) oil

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 3 cardamom pods

  • 3 cinnamon sticks

  • 10 ml (2 t) cumin seeds

  • salt to taste

  • 5 ml (1 t) turmeric

  • 30 ml (2 T) leaf masala

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 2 tins (400 g each) pilchards in hot chilli sauce

  • 60 ml (1/4 C) roughly chopped fresh coriander for garnishing


  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into six cubes each. Fill a pot halfway with oil and deep fry the potatoes on medium to high heat until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • In a large pot of boiling water on high heat, cook the basmati rice with salt and a pinch of turmeric for 7 minutes only. Drain and rinse with cold water, then set aside.
  • Heat the oil in another large pot on medium heat, then add the onion and whole spices and fry until the onion is golden brown. Next, add the salt, ground spices and garlic with a little water and braise for 15 minutes, stirring when required and adding a little more water as needed.
  • Add the pilchards with sauce and all, the rice, fried potatoes and fresh coriander in layers. Pour over 250 ml (1 C) of warm water, close the lid and simmer for 20 – 30 mins on medium to low heat. Halfway through cooking, give one good stir.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with sambal.

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