smoorsnoek like my mom used to make

A bowl of smoorsnoek

Smoorsnoek is a dish that reminds me so much of my childhood and is something my mother often made. It’s delightfully rustic and a delicious way to use leftover 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 number 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 an international reader of my blog and are not quite sure what Snoek is, it’s 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.

Other snoek recipes you might like

A classic South African snoek pate

Braaied snoek with orange and apricot butter

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


smoorsnoek like my mom used to make

A recipe for South African smoorsnoek like my mom used to make

  • Author: Sam Linsell
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 2
  • Category: Seafood
  • Cuisine: South African


300g of smoked snoek (about 250g after bones and bits are 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 afterward

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 were steamed.

If you find the mix is starting to stick to the pan, add a splash of 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 cooking the potatoes.

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

Keywords: smoorsnoek, rice, South African, recipe, snoek, potatoes

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.

Visit my Drizzle and Dip Facebook page to get updates of all my posts.

I can also be found enthusiastically pinning beautiful food images on Pinterest. 


Similar Posts


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

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. Hi I braise some cabbage with the smoked snoek an he potatoes and that chili ?divine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star