“Smoorvis” (pronounced smoo-er-fis) Recipe


Directly translated from Afrikaans to English, “smoorvis” refers to Cape Malay inspired “smothered fish”. It was originally made with salted, wind-dried (sea breeze) fish but this is difficult to source. Instead, you can use smoked snoek, which is a long perch-like fish found in our seas. Alternatively, use any other smoked fish of your choice.

Recipe by: Gold Restaurant

Serves: 10 (as a starter)

Difficulty: Easy

Preparation: 30 minutes

Cooking: 20 minutes


T = tablespoon
t = teaspoon

  • 500 g smoked fish
  • 2 medium onions, finely sliced
  • 1 T butter
  • 2 T vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1-2 red or green chilies, seeded and finely sliced (or 10 ml green masala)
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, blanched, skinned and chopped (or ½ tin good quality chopped tomatoes)
  • 500 ml cooked long grain rice (250 ml uncooked)
  • Pinch of salt (if required)
  • 1 ml (¼ t) milled black pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon or 45 ml (3 T) bottled (unsweetened) lemon juice


  1. Skin, debone, and roughly flake the fish.
  2. On a medium-to high heat lightly fry onion in butter and oil in a large frying pan until glassy.
  3. Add the potato and fry until golden and cooked through.
  4. Turn down stove to a medium heat and add the chili and tomato. Allow to heat through stirring occasionally.
  5. Mix in the fish and cooked rice.
  6. Turn down stove to a low heat. Cover and allow to steam until piping hot.
  7. Check your seasoning. Add pepper. Usually the smoked fish is sufficiently salty to begin with but you can add salt if required.
  8. Spoon the “smoorvis” into individual bowls and flavour with a good squeeze or splash of lemon juice.
  9. Serve hot.

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