Rooibos-Smoked Snoek

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 45 min (includes curing time)
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 2 servings
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2 tablespoons sea salt

2 tablespoons sugar

Couple of sprigs fresh rosemary

Peel (zest) of 1 lemon

120 grams (4 ounces) fillet of snoek, cut into 2 pieces

Hay, for smoking fish

Rooibos tea, for smoking fish


3 tablespoons hanepoot (South African sweet wine), or any other sweet dessert wine

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon rooibos tea

1 prickly pear

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


6 baby cucumbers, halved

1/2 fennel bulb, shaved

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

1 tablespoon olive oil

Squeeze lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sour cream, for serving


  1. For the snoek: First make a salt cure for the fish. In a blender, blitz together the salt, sugar, rosemary and lemon peel. Coat the flesh of the fish in the mixture and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  2. Line a wok with kitchen foil and put a handful of hay on top. Sprinkle over some of the rooibos. Place on a moderate heat until it starts to smoke. Remove the excess cure from the fish, then place in a bamboo steamer over the wok. Pop on the lid and turn down the heat. Smoke until the fish is just cooked, turning halfway, about 15 minutes. Remove the skin and bones from the fish and flake into large pieces.
  3. For the dressing: Pour the hanepoot and vinegar into a saucepan together with the rooibos tea. Place on a low heat and simmer gently to infuse for a few minutes. Meanwhile, remove the seeds from the prickly pear and reserve, discarding the rest. Remove the infusion from the heat and strain through a small sieve into a bowl. Add the prickly pear seeds and olive oil and whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper and set to one side.
  4. For the salad: Toss together the cucumbers, fennel, dill, olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.
  5. To serve, add a smear of sour cream onto a plate, followed by the salad. Add the flakes of snoek. Drizzle over the dressing and serve.

Cook’s Note

Snoek is an oily fish similar to mackerel or bluefish.