South African Recipes

South African Snoek Pate Recipe: History, Tips & More

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Howzit, food lovers? Today we’re all about the ocean’s treasures as we whip up a real South African classic – Snoek Pâté. Rich, smoky, and super easy to make, this hearty spread is going to be your new favourite. Let’s dive in, shall we?

south african snoek pate

Snoek Pate Recipe

Gianpiero Rusconi
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings 4


  • Food Processor
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Serving Dish
  • Knife and Cutting Board


  • 400 g Smoked Snoek flaked
  • 200 g Cream Cheese
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 Spring Onions finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Dill chopped
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter softened


  • Grab your food processor and put in the flaked snoek, cream cheese, lemon juice, spring onions, black pepper, dill, and softened butter.
  • Switch on your food processor and blend the ingredients until you've got a smooth and creamy pâté. You might need to stop the processor a few times and scrape down the sides with your rubber spatula to make sure everything is well blended.
  • Once it's smooth enough for your liking, transfer your Snoek pâté into a serving dish. Smooth it out and pop it in the fridge for a little while to firm up.
  • Take it out when you're ready to serve, and present it with some warm, toasted bread or crisp crackers.

Snoek Pâté History

The story of Snoek Pâté starts with the snoek fish itself. Snoek, a staple in South African cuisine, especially in the Cape, is a type of snake mackerel. The word “snoek” is of Dutch origin and literally translates to “pike” in English, despite the two fish species being quite different. The smoky, firm flesh of snoek lends itself to a variety of dishes, but it’s the Snoek Pâté where it truly shines. The pâté, a technique largely associated with French cuisine, was likely adapted in South Africa to suit local tastes and the availability of snoek. And boy, are we glad for it!

Tips & Tricks

Ah, making Snoek Pâté is as easy as pie, but a few tricks won’t hurt, right? Start with good quality, smoked snoek for that authentic, robust flavour. And don’t skimp on the lemon juice. It brightens the flavour and cuts through the richness. Use fresh dill if you can, it makes a world of difference. And finally, give your pâté some time in the fridge to firm up before serving. It’s worth the wait, trust me!

Best Occasions to Serve Snoek Pâté

Looking for a showstopper at your next braai (barbecue)? Or maybe you want to impress at the picnic? Snoek Pâté is your answer. It’s a fantastic appetiser, a crowd-pleaser on a cheese board, and makes a delightful snack with some crackers on a lazy weekend. Truly, any occasion is a good occasion for Snoek Pâté!

Recipes & Sides That Go Well With Snoek Pâté

Melba Toast: A crunchy companion to the smooth pâté.
Cucumber Sticks: Adds a fresh, crisp contrast.
Grilled Asparagus: An elegant pairing, perfect for a fancy brunch.
Fresh Figs: For a delightful sweet and salty combo.

Ingredient Alternatives for Snoek Pâté

Trout: A more widely available substitute outside South Africa.
Chives: If you can’t find spring onions, chives work well.
Lime Juice: Can replace lemon for a different citrusy twist.

Nutritional Facts

Here’s the nutritional scoop for a four-person portion of Snoek Pâté:

Calories: 350
Carbs: 3g
Sugar: 1g
Fats: 25g
Protein: 30g
Fibre: 1g
Snoek Pâté is a protein powerhouse! It’s relatively low in carbs but high in fats, mostly from the cream cheese. Remember, moderation is key, and balance it out with some veggies on the side.

Troubleshooting (Common Problems)

Too Runny: Add more snoek if your pâté is not firm enough.
Not Creamy Enough: A few more seconds in the food processor should do the trick!

Snoek Pâté Alternatives and Similar Recipes

Smoked Salmon Pâté: A luxurious twist on the original.
Mackerel Pâté: Another great use of oily fish.
Chicken Liver Pâté: A classic choice for pâté fans.

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