Portuguese Garlic Fish Recipe

This exceptional garlic fish recipe comes from South Africa. It may be simple, but the flavor is fabulous. The marinade contains a lot of garlic, but because the garlic is cooked for a long time the smell is not overpowering. Fresh fish may be used instead of frozen. Portuguese garlic fish will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator, and it can be enjoyed either hot or cold.


  • 2 pounds whitefish fillets
    salt, pepper, lemon pepper
    cake flour
    2 eggs, beaten
    Vegetable oil for shallow-frying
    8 cloves garlic, peeled
    1 large jalapeño chili
    2 Tablespoons dried parsley
    2 cups water
    1 cup brown cider vinegar



  • Cut the fillets into approximately 3 x 5 inch portions.
    Season the fish portions with salt, pepper, and lemon pepper.
    Roll each in flour and coat it in beaten egg.
    Fry the fish portions on both sides in hot oil until golden brown and done.
    Place the cooked portions in a large serving dish with a lid.
    Chop the garlic, jalapeño chili and parsley finely.
    Fry the mixture lightly in a little oil in a saucepan or frying pan.
    Add the water and vinegar, bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes, uncovered.
    Add salt and pepper to taste and boil for a further 3 minutes.
    Pour the marinade over the fish.
    Cover the dish and marinate for at least 5 hours in the refrigerator before serving.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

About Rabbi Michael Sternfield

Michael Sternfield has been a Reform rabbi for 40 years, most recently serving at Chicago Sinai Congregation from 1995 until 2013. He served for 20 years as spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Israel in San Diego, and briefly as the leader of the Durban, South Africa Progressive Jewish Congregation during South Africa’s historic transition to multi-racial democracy. He is now based in Los Angeles, California.