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August 2, 2021

Traditional South-African Fish Frikkadels

Posted on July 9, 2021 by in seafood

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Traditional South-African Fish Frikkadels

Traditional South-African Fish Frikkadels are nothing new on the Cape Town culinary scene. Many of us know it as fish cakes, but in Cape Town they are “fish frikkadels”. It is served with dhal and a “smoortjie”. A “smoortjie” for those who don’t know, is a chunky tomato sauce. Whilst growing up, Friday’s in our house was fish frikkadels or fish cake days.

Traditional South-African Fish Frikkadels are perfect for this time of the year. It is comfort food that will warm you up on a winter’s night.

Traditional South-African Fish Frikkadels

What fish do I use for the Traditional-south-african-fish-frikkadels?

My mom used pilchards to make her fish cakes. We grew up in the platteland so fresh fish was hard to come by. Other alternatives are hake, tinned tuna, smoked snoek, smoked mackerel (my favourite) or any other white fish you can get. I made these cute fish cakes for kiddies using smoked snoek. The kids loved them.

What can I serve with the fish frikkadels?

As mentioned earlier, traditionally it is served with dhal and smoortjie. I love making potato wedges or chips with the frikkadels, but in winter my family loves coconut rice with their frikkadels.

Traditional South-African Fish Frikkadels

Traditional South-African Fish Frikkadels

serves 4-6


2 x 200 g hot-smoked salmon fillets ( you can use hake or even pilchards) – flaked

1 medium onion – grated

250 ml/1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

About 1⁄4 cup chopped coriander

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

2 eggs

1 t/5 ml salt

1t/5 ml freshly ground pepper

1-2 T/ 15-30 ml oil for frying

For the sauce

1 medium onion – finely chopped

15 ml/1 T freshly grated ginger – about 1 thumb-size piece

2 cloves garlic – finely grated

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 tin coconut cream

15ml/1 T fish masala

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh coriander for serving

traditional south-african fish frikkadels


Place all the ingredients for the frikkadels in a bowl and mix with your hands. Rub a little oil on your hands so that the mixture does not stick to your hands. Make golf ball sized frikkadels and fry on low-medium heat in a little oil until golden brown on both size. The frikkadels burn easily, therefore keep the heat low-medium. Keep aside until needed.
In the same pan, sauté the onions until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 2 more minutes.  Now add the tomato sauce and fish masala and bring to the boil. Add the coconut cream. Turn the heat to low and let the sauce simmer until it has thickened slightly. Add the frikkadels and simmer for another 10 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add the chopped coriander just before serving.
Serve with fluffy basmati rice.

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