One of the best things about living in South Africa is the wide selection of local foods we can choose to make. One of my favourite range of foods is what I call "Bo-Kaap" food which is essentially Cape Malay and usually bursting with spices and flavours.
Fish is high up on the list of Bo-Kaap food, mainly I suppose because for many years the residents of the Bo-Kaap and District Six not only lived close to the sea but worked the sea as fishermen, ships crews, fish vendors and fish market operators.
And seafood — and even our very own lobster, or kreef as it is better known as — used to be really cheap compared to meat and poultry so it was the staple diet for many.
Of the Bo-Kaap fish dishes I particularly enjoy are smoorsnoek (a type of fish kedgeree), Kerrie Vis which is a delicious pickled fish and onion delicacy, bobotie (which is made from mince topped with a layer of spicy custard) and today recipe, which is fish kebabs, or sosaties, as they are also known.
Unlike meat sosaties which are normally marinated in a spicy vinegar sauce, the fish kebabs are made with a spicy paste which is easy to prepare and delicious whether you grill it in the oven or roast them slowly on a barbeque.
To serve four portions of fish kebabs you need:
1kg firm fish, filleted and skinned (tuna, kingklip and yellow tail work well)
8 kebab sticks (if you use wooden ones, marinate it in water for at least an hour to prevent them from burning during the grilling process)
3 onions, peeled and cut into thick wedges
1 red and 1 yellow pepper, sliced into same sized wedges as the onion
For the paste:
1/3 cup cooking oil (not olive oil)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon coriander powder
½ tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon ground cardamom seeds
1 tablespoon of leaf or fish masala
1 tablespoon brown vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely crushed in coarse salt
2 chillies, seeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon tomato paste or ketchup
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Pat the fish dry and place in refrigerator for an hour before cooking to firm up.
Mix all the paste ingredients well together in a bowl, adding a few extra drops of oil or vinegar if it is too pasty.
Slices the peppers, onion and fish into in cubes of about 3-4cm.
Paint the fish well with the spicy paste and then thread on to the skewers, alternating the fish, peppers and onion wedges.
Distribute the fish and the onion and pepper wedges so each person gets two smaller wedges, rather than one large kebab.
Place over hot coals or under a hot grill, turning regularly during the cooking process until done.
Fish cooks very quickly, so take care not to overcook.
Serve with salad, pickles, rice or couscous.
Wine recommendation from Wine Concepts
Hartenberg Weisser Riesling 2009 – Stellenbosch – R66.00
Jasmine-scented, juicy apricot flavours fill the mouth with a delicious tang.
To order this, email Wine Concepts