Pilchard Breyani

53-Pilchard-Breyani Back
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  • 400g can Lucky Star Pilchards in Hot Chilli
  • 125ml (½ cup) brown lentils
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • canola oil for frying
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 15ml (1 Tbsp) chopped garlic
  • 30ml (2 Tbsp) chutney
  • 410g can chopped tomatoes
  • milled black pepper
  • coriander leaves for garnishing


Tip the pilchards into a bowl. Break the fish into chunks in the sauce with a fork.

Tip the lentils into a small saucepan and add cold water to cover. Cover the saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside for 1 hour to soak. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Cook the potatoes in boiling water until soft. Drain well.

Heat a few drops of oil in a non-stick pan and fry the onion and garlic until soft. Remove from the heat and stir in the chutney and tomatoes. Add the pilchards, lentils and potatoes and season with pepper. Mix everything together gently. Cover and heat through.

Serve the breyani with brown rice, poppadums or a big green salad. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.




For a milder breyani, use Lucky Star Pilchards in Tomato or Lucky Star Middlecut. This popular dish has a special place in the hearts of South African cooks, especially Indians and Cape Malays. There are various ways of spelling it, too, as well as spices that may be added. The special joy of a breyani is the smell that wafts through the house as the lid is lifted.