This recipe illustrates two points: that nothing edible was ever wasted by our forefathers, and that they were incredibly creative, sometimes combining the most unlikely ingredients to make a delectable dish. Saffron, a favoured spice, not only imparts a reddish yellow colour but also adds pungency to soups. It is expensive, but turmeric makes a good substitute.


4 large snoek heads

30 ml softened butter of sunflower oil

2 large onions, thinly sliced

1 small piece root ginger, crushed

3 cloves garlic, crushed

125 ml thinly sliced celery

2 large potatoes, diced

125 ml cake flour

10 ml salt

1,5 litres water

5 ml turmeric or 2 ml saffron threads

15 ml curry powder

1 - 2 chillies, seeded and chopped


Wash and halve the snoek heads, retaining the flesh behind the neck. Heat the butter or oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onions for about 5 minutes, or until transparent. Add the ginger, garlic, celery and potatoes. Remove the saucepan from the stove and blend in the flour, stirring to form a smooth paste. Add the salt and water, stirring constantly. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Mix the turmeric or saffron and curry powder to a paste with a little water. Add to the soup, stirring constantly, then stir in the chillies. Add the fish heads and simmer, covered, for about 1˝ - 2 hours, adding more water if necessary. Remove the fish heads and serve the soup at once with brown bread and Moskonfyt.


Serves 6.


country : South Africa

course : soup


source : A Taste of Tradition : South African country recipes / Magdaleen van Wyk & Pat Barton