The icy waves of the Atlantic ocean crashing down onto the blitz-wit sand. The mournful sound of Seagulls calling in the crystal blue sky as they wheel and spin above the water as the salty breeze gently whispers against your skin. Welcome to the West Coast Peninsula of South Africa’s Western Cape – home of the Weskus Snoek. This wave-swept coastline is one of the most beautiful places in the world and home to the West Coast National Park – known for its abundance of wildflowers and the stunning saltwater Langebaan lagoon. It’s also home to the famous snoek fish braai and for excellent reason. This tasty fish is the main ingredient in many South African snoek braai recipes. A luscious variation of the traditional South African braai, it’s equally tasty and just another example of how much South Africans love their food cooked on the coals.
South African snoek
What is snoek?
Snoek is the Dutch name given to the barracouta fish species. This fish is similar to the freshwater pike (snoek) that the Dutch were used to enjoying in the Netherlands. It is a cold-water fish and is found in the icy Atlantic waters that lap the West Coast of Africa. History lesson over!
Now that we know where delicious South African snoek comes from, let’s look at these tantalising South African snoek braai recipes and start cooking, or rather braaing! Picking the perfect snoek recipe can be pretty tricky with countless recipes to choose from, each one more delectable than the next.
Our favourite version is: Weskus Snoek and Patat (fish and potato); check out this delicious recipe below.
Weskus snoek & patat
- Fresh snoek 1 cleaned with head and tail removed
- Lemon 1 juiced
- Butter 100ml melted
- Chutney ½ cup Mrs. Balls’ (of course!)
- Apricot Jam ½ cup
- Garlic Cloves 3 chopped
- Salt & Pepper
- Olive Oil
- Wash the snoek in cold running water.
- Dry off excess moisture with a paper towel, place on a plate, and cover.
- Fry the chopped garlic cloves in the butter, add the chutney, apricot jam, and lemon juice. Stir until the jam and chutney are melted and runny. This is your basing sauce.
- Cover the braai grid with foil. This will prevent the fish from sticking to the grid. It also helps to keep all the yummy basting sauce on the fish and not on the coals!
- Use the olive oil to baste the skin side of the fish and place the fish onto the foil flesh side up.
- Season the open fish flesh with salt and pepper.
- Use a brush to baste the fish flesh with the basting sauce you prepared earlier. You can use the basting sauce according to your personal preference.
- Braai time should be 8-10 minutes skin side down, 3-4 minutes flesh side down. Finish off with a final 2 minutes skin side down without the foil to brown the skin.
- Test your snoek is cooked by inserting a fork into the thickest part of the fish and turn slightly. If the fish flakes easily, then your snoek is cooked.
Patats are simply the Afrikaans slang word for the humble potato but don’t be fooled; there’s nothing simple or humble about ‘patats’ served with snoek. This dish is traditionally made with sweet potato known for its honeyed flavour. This creates the perfect combination between the salt from the fish and the sweetness from the potatoes. Who needs salted caramel when you can have snoek and patat?
Check out this quick recipe on how to make one of the most delicious snoek braai side dishes.
- Sweet Potato x4 peeled and sliced.
- Butter x4 tbs melted.
- Clear Honey x3 tbs
- Preheat the oven to 200 C
- Grease a medium-sized oven dish
- Layer the sliced sweet potato in even layers in the oven dish
- Spoon the melted butter over the potatoes ensuring they are well covered
- Drizzle the honey on top of the potatoes and melted butter
- Place the oven dish into the oven and bake for 50 minutes
At the end of 50 minutes, you should have perfectly honey-glazed sweet potatoes to serve with your braaied snoek. Toss a quick green salad together, and enjoy an exquisite meal that’s sure to keep your guests coming back for more.
Patat isn’t the only side dish you can have with snoek; try serving this dish with fennel and apple coleslaw which is a posh twist on traditional braai coleslaw. Or, if you feel a little adventurous, how about adding a taste of France to your delicious snoek braai with the green bean salad? It’s only tender green beans tossed with toasted almonds, butter, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Easy!
Check out the below South African snoek recipe ideas you can try for this exceptionally versatile fish.
- Stuffed Snoek:
Brush apricot jam on both sides of the fish. Fill the fish with sliced mushrooms, onion, peppers, and grated cheese. Wrap in foil and cook on the braai for 20 minutes.
- Snoek Pie:
Line a pie dish puff pastry, fill with flaked snoek, garlic, chili, and tomato paste. Top with thick bechamel and egg, then bake until golden brown and bechamel firms.
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