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