Traditional South African Beggars-Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse-saffa-favouriteEven though this fish originates from the city of Marseille in France, this delicious recipe was brought over by the French Huguenots in the early 17th century and became a South African-French favorite.
This Southern-African fish dish is especially suited for poor people. The freshest catch of the day is traditionally used for tasty bouillabaisse. Both fish and shellfish can be used for this dish. Because of the cost of shellfish a compromise has been reached.

Make a power soup and add the firm flesh of the fish to the soup. Fish that can be used are white and red Steen-bras, angelfish, gurnard or monk.
Peel the skin of the fish and cut it into pieces of 50mm. Skin the onions and cut into the thin slices. Peel the potatoes and cut into thick slices or 30mm pieces. Peal the tomatoes and chop into fine pieces.
Heat the oil in a big container and sauté the onions until it is soft.  Stir the garlic, potatoes, tomatoes, orange peel, laurel leaves, curcuma, sugar, extraction of half the chopped parsley.
Cover and let it boil, reduce temperature and let it simmer until the potatoes are soft – 15 to 20 minutes.
Add the fish to the soup. Cover it and let it simmer until it is well done. More or less 3 – 5 minutes, according to the thickness of the fish.
Remove orange peel sprinkle the parsley over the dish and serve it piping hot.


  • 1.5 litter of fish extraction
  • 1 kg filler of fish
  • 45ml(3e) olive oil
  • 2 middle size onions
  • 3 big potatoes
  • 4 big ripe tomatoes
  • 1 small orange peel
  • 1 laurel leaf
  • 5 ml (1t) curcuma
  • 5ml (1t) sugar
  • 60 ml (4e) shopped parsley
  • 5ml(1t) salt
  • 12 freshly grounded black pepper

Fish extraction
Aromatic fish extraction is a necessary ingredient in the most fish dishes


  • 1.5 Liter of cold water
  • 1 kg clean pieces of fish
  • 1 onion cut in quarter pieces
  • 1 carrot cut in quarter pieces
  • 1 small piece of seller cut in slivers
  • 1 big dry bouquet garnish
  • 1 small laurel leaf
  • 1 small lemon peel
  • 12 black peppers

Mix all the ingredients in a big pot cover it and let it simmer until boiling. Let the extract boil for about 30 minutes and remember to skim the surface for foam.
Use a sieve to draw the fish extraction and press the ingredients to produce a strong fish residue and use this as the base for your fish soup.


A Cape Town Favourite – Barbecued Snoek


traditional snoek braai

There is nothing as delicious as a snoek on coals. Snoek is available everywhere and can even be bought along the highway in our coastal towns.  You can use the following recipe for many other South African fish like – Galleon, Steenbras, Geelbek, Kob, and white Stompneus.

For this recipe you will need one whole snoek of approximately 3 kg.
For the Garlic Butter

  • 200 Grams of butter
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 15ml Garlic crushed (approximately 1 Table spoon)
  • Fresh Black-pepper

Olive Oil

For the Garnish
Lemon quarters and some fresh herbs

How to braai a traditional South African Snoek

First you need to start by making a fire. Cut the fish through its spine column and in halves – clean it thoroughly. Rub the barbecue grill and the fish skin both with some olive oil. Place the fish skin side on the grill on the open grid. Mix the butter and garlic in a small saucepan on the stove or on the coals. With a clean brush, brush the garlic butter mixture onto the fish and place on the warm coals with the fish side down for 5 min, now it ought to be brown, turn the grid and braai for another 10min.
In the meantime, brush the garlic mixture onto the fish a couple of times while you are braaing. Be careful not to overcook the fish otherwise it dries out and it would lose it flavour.

Lay the table beforehand as when the fish comes of the grill it should be eaten immediately – call the guest! Place the fish on a large platter and serve.

On our West Coast in South Africa we serve this fish with brown bread, real butter and sometimes a dollop of grape jam, otherwise just a squeeze of lemon will do. The wine will be white, cold and from South Africa.

I have added the Youtube movie below of a different snoek braai recipe. I have tried this recipe and found it to be awesome.