smoorsnoek like my mom used to make

by Sam on October 8, 2012

Smoorsnoek is a dish that reminds me so much of my childhood and is something my mother often made. Its delightfully rustic and a delicious way to use left up over snoek from your braai, or smoked snoek.

I was inspired to try and re-create a few of these childhood memories after eating a very traditional version of the recipe at Muratie recently. My mom unfortunately died when I was 18 and I haven’t been able to find her recipe, so I decided to try and make the dish based on how I remember it tasting, and how I wanted it to taste.

I checked out a few versions and found a great deal of variation even amongst those claiming to be very traditional and authentic. My sense is Annetjie Melck from Muraties recipe is as close to authentic as it is going to get, but my mom used smoked snoek and parsley, so I wanted to add this.

I decided to make it from feel and intuition, and based on the quantity of ingredients I had on hand. I had thought I would add a tomato, but in the end I decided to leave this out. It is a fairly dry dish, so a tomato could be very nice too. I added a  pinch of chilli even though I’m sure my mom would not have included this. I liked the little kick it dropped into the mix. If you know me and my cooking you will know that chilli is often invited to the party, but I never like it to take over the show.

Oh and if you are a international reader of my blog and are not quite sure what Snoek is, its a South African species of fish and part of the barracuda family. I have read that it is also caught off New Zealand. It is traditionally cooked on a barbecue and is often hot smoked. I am sure any nice white smoked fish will work as a substitute.

This is my version of my mom’s smoorsnoek: Serves 2

  • 300g of smoked snoek (about 250g after bones and bits removed)
  • 2 large potatoes, or 3 smaller potatoes – peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 good knob of butter (about 40g)
  • 2 T of finely chopped parsley
  • a pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • black pepper
  • freshly cut lemon for squeezing on afterwards
  • steamed rice (I like Basmati) to serve

Flake the smoked fish making sure you remove all the bones and set aside. Heat the olive oil and butter in a wide non stick pan and saute the onions until they just start going soft (about 3 minutes). Add the potatoes and cook stirring occasionally. In order to speed up the cooking of the potatoes, I placed a large lid over the pan so that they steamed. If you find the mix is starting to stick to the pan, add a splash off water, stir and continue to cook. When the potatoes are almost cooked add the fish and parsley and if necessary place the lid on for a few more minutes to finish off cooking the potatoes.

Serve on steamed rice with a few good grinds of black pepper and a squeeze of lemon.

I loved this rustic and comforting meal that had memories flooding back. It was made even more delicious with a glass (or two) of the  2010 De Wetshof Finesse Chardonnay. This slightly wooded wine pared very well with this dish, echoing the mild smokiness of the fish.

I look forward to connecting with you again in the future.

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I bought this beautiful bowl from a local ceramics artist, Sally Louw.

Leave a Comment

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Leanne October 8, 2012 at 9:39 am

That look divine!!! My mouth is watering just looking at it!!!

Sam October 8, 2012 at 11:14 am

Awesome thanks Leanne :-)

Zirkie October 8, 2012 at 8:07 pm

It sounds absolutely like the best smoorsnoek – I will just have to try It! I love the beautiful bowl that this was erved in!!

Julia October 8, 2012 at 11:09 pm

I love learning about new dishes from around the world. This looks delicious!

Gina October 8, 2012 at 11:52 pm

What a delight, I loved it.
My mouth is salivating as much desire to eat. Beautiful photos. Gina

Colleen October 9, 2012 at 10:45 am

Might like to add some shredded cabbage to the dish. Will cook the cabbage together with the potatoes. Adds nice flavour

Sam October 9, 2012 at 11:38 am

Thanks Gina :-)

Sam October 9, 2012 at 11:38 am

Thank you Julia

Sam October 9, 2012 at 11:39 am

Thanks Zirkie, I think I’m going to be making it more often. I buy my smoked snoek from the guys at the Milnerton Market. Its so inexpensive and tasty.

Greata Lewis March 27, 2014 at 9:33 am

This looks so delicious…..I agree the bowl just makes it more delicious, must be an antique handed down from grandma?…..Wish we had a “fresh fish market” here in East London……xxxx

Jeannette November 23, 2014 at 4:41 pm

We smoked the snoek ourselves yesterday in our Big Green Egg and this afternoon my husband made your Smoor Snoek for me. It came amazing!

Sam November 24, 2014 at 10:01 am

Oh wow, I havent hot smoked in the BGE yet, is it easy to do? Now you have me craving smoorsnoek. Thanks for the comment.
sam