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Traditional Smoorsnoek – Cook and Enjoy – a Cape Classic

Posted on July 11, 2011 by in seafood

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Cook and Enjoy-Traditional Smoorsnoek

“Cook and Enjoy” is a South African treasure as much as Table Mountain, Nelson Mandela, rugby and of course Traditional Smoorsnoek which I will deal with in the latter part of this post. In South Africa this recipe book was and is part of the right of passage to many a Afrikaner girl and aspiring wife. In its original form it was called “Kook en Geniet”  and its author was a name well-known before the likes of Julia Child and Jamie Oliver hit the scene…

Cook and Enjoy-Traditional Smoorsnoek

Cook and Enjoy was first published in 1951 by S.J.A De Villiers and at the moment I am holding the 24th edition in my hand. Over 1 million copies have been sold. Other than the Bible, this complete cooking manual, was the only book my mom read. It has been used  to make family favorites such as Hertzoggies, Sago Pudding, Bobotie and the book even taught her the fine art of baking bread. Although my mom loves me and would move mountains for me, she is not ready to part with her copy which, by now is tattered, torn and covered in blotches and spots, so when Food 24 sent me this copy, I was overjoyed. I do not always have time to do book reviews, but since this book has been a part of my cooking heritage, I felt comfortable to write my two pennies worth about it.
I think Cook and Enjoy could be seen as the South African peer of Julia Child’s Master the art of French Cooking and is a comprehensive collection of recipes, menu  plans, nutritional information and general cooking information. It should be the first cookbook you buy as a young aspiring cook and in my opinion it would still make a wonderful  gift for an about-to-get-married couple. No cookbook collection will be complete without it.

Cook and Enjoy-Traditional Smoorsnoek

One of the dishes that my mom used to make from her “Kook en Geniet”, is Smoorsnoek. ( a typical Cape Malay dish made with smoked or fresh snoek, potatoes, onions and  spices.) Traditionally served on rice with a slice of wholegrain farm bread and jam)

Cook and Enjoy-Traditional Smoorsnoek

Coming from a family that clearly loves food, it is almost inconceivable to think that we would buy smoked snoek, so on our recent trip to Hermanus, I stalked my dad while he so carefully and lovingly smoked a snoek for my mom to make smoorsnoek.

Cook and Enjoy-Traditional Smoorsnoek

Before I give you the recipe for smoorsnoek, here are my dad’s handy and helpful hints to help you smoke your own snoek.

1. Use Kaapse Akker sawdust – I think the English version would be Old Oak.
2. Use only a light sprinkling of  herb salt  – too salty or too fresh is no good.
3. The snoek need no more than 20 minutes in the smoker. Longer than that and the smoky taste will be too overpowering.
4. The above applies to a free standing counter top smoker.

Cook and Enjoy-Traditional Smoorsnoek


500gr smoked snoek  – flaked and bones removed
1 large onion – chopped
½ of each green pepper, red pepper and yellow pepper – chopped
2-3 large potatoes – peeled and cut in chunks
lemon juice and zest – optional
fresh parsley – chopped
olive oil
about 125ml chicken stock

Heat the oil in a pot and add the onion and peppers. Saute until it becomes transparent. Add the potatoes and the stock. Place the lid on the pot and allow the potatoes to cook until soft. By now there must be very little(if any) liquid left in the pot. Add the flaked fish and warm through. Add the chopped parsley and lemon zest and juice. Taste and season accordingly.

Serve with steamed fluffy white rice , thick slices of farm loaf and jam

Cook and Enjoy-Traditional Smoorsnoek

Before I end off for today, allow me to be a bit nostalgic. My parents are currently touring through Namibia and for us as a very close family, not seeing each other at least once a week is terrible. So to work through these photos this morning, just made me realize what an invaluable part of my life these hands have always been – nurturing, comforting, guiding, protecting and helping hands always. I am indeed blessed beyond measure, thank you!

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10 Responses to “Traditional Smoorsnoek – Cook and Enjoy – a Cape Classic”

  1. That Girl 11 July 2011 at 4:36 pm #

    how fun. I never thought about the fact that different cultures would have different food bibles.

  2. PinkPolkaDot 11 July 2011 at 10:23 pm #

    I love snoek and this is a beautiful post, Nins!

  3. bongaan 12 July 2011 at 7:26 am #

    Thanks Nina! I am however curious, smoorsnoek without "smoor"? I'm not a smoorsnoek expert but isn't that suppose to be the two main ingredients: snoek plus "tamatie smoor" = smoorsnoek? Can it still be called smoorsnoek if there is no tomato in the recipe?

    • Reuben 30 July 2018 at 8:10 pm #

      Cabbage, onion and peppers with cube sized potatoes are the smoor

  4. Nina 12 July 2011 at 7:48 am #

    that girl – trust me, this one is as thick and comprehensive as a Bible.

    Pinkpolkadot – thanks lovie!

    Bongaan – Thank you for visiting. The word smoor refers to the cooking method and not to whether you add tomatoes or not. Tomatoes however are optional, so if you like them, add them. We prefer without though….

  5. Raenette Taljaard 12 July 2011 at 10:22 am #

    I still use the 'Kook en Geniet' and have got my original publication (bible-sized) that my Mom gave me at my 21st. My Mother in law recently visited us in New Zealand and brought me a newer version – large and with colour photos. It's just as well, because my little one is falling apart. I've had a few chuckles at my Kiwi daughter trying to figure out what a 'middelslagui' and a 'geelwortel' are! She says we only have orange carrots in the fridge, and she can's see any 'slaguie'.

  6. Jeanne 14 July 2011 at 3:40 pm #

    I want a fish smoker!! :o)) We can actually get snoek here in the UK – frozen of course – but at least we can get it for the braai. Nick loves smoorsnoek so will have to make it for him sometime. I have my mom's old copy of Kook & Geniet from the 60s – I treasure it.

  7. Christine 14 July 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    THe traditional jam to serve with smoorsnoek is "MOSKONFYT"

  8. Marisa 18 July 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    Agree – Kook & Geniet is a must-have. And on that note, I must buy myself a copy (my mom has the only copy).


  1. Smoked Snoek and mussel Parcels - July 3, 2014

    […] off the rocks, but I am not brave enough for that! Smoked Snoek on the other hand is used in my Smoorsnoek recipe and it is one of our favorite suppers. You could also try my easy Smoked Snoek Paté, […]

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