Rooibos-smoked Angelfish

He’s the man behind our National Braai Day initiative. Now try Jan Braai‘s Rooibos-smoked Angelfish recipe…

Serves 2 (as a main meal) or 4 (as a starter)

Notes from the chef: Fresh angelfish is frequently available at South African supermarkets and fishmongers. It’s on SASSI’s green list and is quite affordable, so both from a financial and environmental point of view, it is something that you can braai sustainably. The texture and taste of angelfish make it perfect for the braai fire as well. My favourite way of preparing angelfish is to smoke it. It’s a very easy process to do at home, especially when you’re smoking only one fish (two fillets). That’s correct: fish, like beef, chicken and lamb, have two fillets each! You don’t need any fancy or special smoking equipment.

Two things to note:

  1. You do need some skewers that are longer than your braai bowl is wide.
  2. The other thing you need is rooibos tea leaves (not the bagged variety). This is widely available in most supermarkets.


  • Jan Braai-Republic-Setting-FA_split.indd2 skin-on angelfish fillets (about 750 g in total)
  • 2 cups dried rooibos leaves
  • salt
  • a normal braai bowl with lid
  • 8 skewers (longer than your braai bowl is wide)


  1. Put the 2 cups of dried rooibos leaves into the bottom of the braai bowl.
  2. Skewer the 2 angelfish fillets, skin side down, so that they are suspended over the bottom half of the braai bowl. Note from the chef: In my experience 750 g weight in total for 2 skin-on fillets is an ideal size for smoking them. The skewers need to be long enough to go all the way across the width of the braai bowl. Cocktail sticks will not suffice.
  3. Grind salt onto the flesh sides of each fillet (these will be facing up if you’ve got everything right so far). Place the lid on the braai bowl. It will not fit tight due to the skewers. This is fine.
  4. Put the braai bowl onto a bed of coals. The heat of the coals will cause the rooibos leaves in the bottom of your braai bowl to start smoking. Let the fish smoke for about 15 minutes. Using 2 cups of rooibos leaves and coals as your source of heat means you have a margin for error here, so it’s fine to lift the lid and check if the fish is cooked all the way through after about 12 minutes. If it’s not, simply replace the lid and wait a few minutes more.
  5. Serve.

Chef’s tip: This exercise will give your braai bowl quite a bit of character but most of that character can be washed and scrubbed off. Nonetheless, it’s a good idea to use your oldest braai bowl.

Recipe by Jan Braai – The Democratic Republic of Braai

Photograph by Matthys van Lill

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