Snoek koekies with mustard dressing

The mouth-watering snoek koekies served with salad and mustard dressing.

With the hot summer weather here, it’s time for those recipes that can be enjoyed hot or cold, as an evening meal, or for those al fresco lunches around the pool, or on the picnic trail.

As much as I love fish, I’m a trifle doubtful about fishcakes, but this recipe that dear sweet Elspeth and I crafted, settled that doubt once and for all.

You can happily use whatever fish you prefer (hopefully on the SASSI green list), often dictated by what is available, so we used smoked snoek because it is so flavourful, and quite freely available, and even if frozen, works really well.

Ingredients, selection and preparation

In preparing the ingredients, it’s a good idea to ensure that the pieces are more or less the same size.


400g smoked snoek: flaked, with bones removed. The most finicky part of this recipe, is flaking and deboning the fish, but it is vital. There is little worse than having to contend with a fish bone while munching your way through a delicious fish cake.

1 cup (250ml) cooked corn kernels

½ cup (6-8) dried apricots: chopped

¼ cup (60ml) roasted peanuts: chopped roughy

2 spring onions: sliced

½ a red onion: finely chopped

handful of fresh coriander: chopped

2 tsp (10ml) garam masala

1 tsp (5ml) ground cumin

1 tsp (5ml) ground coriander

2 eggs: beaten

Crumb mixture

2 cups (500ml) breadcrumbs: For a gluten-free option, use two cups of crushed corn flakes

1 tbsp hulled sesame seeds

2 tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp salt

2 eggs: beaten

Mustard dressing

½ cup (125ml) mayonnaise

½ cup (125ml) full cream Greek yoghurt

¼ cup (65ml) whole grain mustard

1 tsp (5ml) mustard powder

1 tsp (5ml) crushed garlic/chilli OR crushed garlic

1 tsp (5ml) crushed garlic/ginger

1 tbsp (15ml) honey

juice and grated rind of one lemon


Make the fishcakes first by combining all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and mixing well. Set aside.

Combine all the mustard dressing ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Decant into a bottle with a lid for storage in the fridge.

Add mustard dressing to the fishcake mixture a tablespoon at a time, mixing well, until the mixture is damp enough to hold together, but not sloppy. You’ll need between a ¼ and ½ a cup.

Set out the crumbing ingredients in two shallow bowls – beaten eggs in one, and the dry ingredients combined and mixed well in the other.

Make the fishcakes in the desired size: smaller for picnic food, larger for a sit-down meal.

Wet your hands and shape the fishcakes so that they are flattened top and bottom.

Dip each fishcake in the beaten egg and coat well with the crumb mixture.

To shallow-fry the fishcakes, pour sufficient canola oil into a frying pan so that it is about 3mm deep and heat it.

Place about five or six fishcakes in the oil, and fry for about two to three minutes a side, or until cooked through. Be sure to not burn the crumb coating. Set aside on kitchen paper towel to drain.

To oven-bake, place the fishcakes in a muffin tin and bake in mid-oven at 180ºC for about 30 minutes, or until crispy and golden brown.

Serve with a crisp green salad garnished with the mustard dressing, or cold as picnic finger-food with the mustard dressing as a dip.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 20 – 30 minutes

Yield: 6 – 8 large or 12 – 16 medium fishcakes