Lucky Star isn’t just another tinned food brand in a sea of products on the African continent. Oh no, they’re a South African icon of note. Some might even say that many a South African is a lucky fish for having access to the protein-packed delicacy contained in the bright red cans we’ve become so used to seeing on the shelves at our favourite Checkers, Pick ‘n Pay, or Spar.
You might think, “Oh, well, it’s just canned fish!” but it’s more than that. Lucky Star goes above and beyond to ensure that their cans’ contents are nutrition packed and super tasty too. You might even find people who swear blind that they don’t like pilchards, sneaky a spoonful or two when you’re not meant to be looking!
What’s the history behind Lucky Star pilchards in South Africa?
Lucky Star is a brand that’s in touch with its history. In fact, if you jump onto the Lucky Star website, you’ll find a nifty historical timeline that tells you everything you could want to know about your favourite pilchards canning company!
You may not know this yet, but doors opened for South Africa when the California fishing industry collapsed in 1940 due to overfishing. This presented the perfect opportunity for the SA Pelagic Fishing Industry to capitalise on the situation and bring the no-longer-needed canning equipment from California to Walvis Bay. As a result, by 1947, the fishing industry in SA was booming.
In 1950, local fish canners in South Africa formed Federal Fish Packers and bought the Your Lucky Star brand. Four years later, Your Lucky Star was registered in South Africa and rebranded as Lucky Star. By 1959, Lucky Star Pilchards in Tomato Sauce as we know it today was born and ready to take the industry by storm. And it certainly has been doing that ever since!!
Are there any good Lucky Star pilchards recipes?
Do you even have to ask? We have a fantastic Lucky Star fish cakes recipe to share. So without much further ado, let’s leap right into it!
Lucky Star fish cakes – The recipe
Behold! The Lucky Star fish cake recipe that will blow your mind, or at least delight the taste buds. This pilchards fish cake recipe South Africa is our favourite, and we’re sure you’ll love it once you’ve tried it too.
You can whip up 12 sizeable fish cakes with one can of Lucky Star Pilchards, so adjust the recipe below accordingly, which focuses on one can.
What you need to make Lucky Star fish cakes
- 1 x Can of Lucky Star pilchards in tomato sauce (you can choose the chilli one for zest)
- 2 x Tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 x Garlic cloves, chopped or grated
- 1 x Small onion, chopped or grated
- 3 x Slices of brown bread
- 2 x Eggs
- 1 x Teaspoon of pepper
What to do
- Place the Lucky Star pilchards in a mixing bowl and the tomato sauce it comes in (don’t drain the fish).
- Place the chopped ingredients into the bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon.
- Add the pepper and mix gently for a bit of added flavour.
- With a fork, beat the eggs and throw them on top of the mixture.
- Place the bread into the bowl (don’t wet the bread) and gently work it into the mixture, along with the eggs, using a wooden spoon. The bread should soak up a lot of the moisture and thicken the mixture. If it appears too sloppy to fry into balls, add another slice of bread (you can add up to 4 slices in total).
- Grab a frying pan and cover the base of the pan with shallow oil – heat over medium heat until the oil starts to sizzle gently.
- Using a tablespoon, scoop out a serving of the mixture and pat it into a fish cake shape. Place the fish cake into the sizzling oil and fry it until it turns brown. Then, using a spatula, turn the fish cake over and fry the other side until it becomes brown too. That’s it!
- Place each fried fish cake on a rack or place on a kitchen paper serviette to drain off any excess oil.
You can enjoy homemade fishcakes with salad, mashed potato with tomato salsa, peas and carrots, fried chips, or even sweet corn and garlic bread.
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