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Herbed Hake Polpettes With Dill Yoghurt & Homemade Pickles

A cousin of haddock, hoki and cod, hake is South Africa’s favourite fish. This deep-water species has delicious flaky white meat with few bones, and is a great sustainable choice in these little fish balls.

See the full step-by-step recipe here:

Serves 4


600g MSC hake fillets
Or any other MSC flaky white fish e.g. haddock or cod


  • 1 shallot or small onion (chopped)
  • 3 sprigs of fresh dill
  • 3 springs of flatleaf parsley leaves
  • 1 sprig of fresh mint leaves
  • 150g mashed potato (at fridge temp)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

Dill yoghurt:

  • 250ml thick Greek yogurt
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh dill (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 of a lemon (zested)
  • 1 clove of garlic (peeled and finely grated)

Pickled cucumbers (makes 500ml):

  • 400g small cucumbers
  • 150ml water
  • 10g white sugar
  • 10g salt
  • 250ml white vinegar
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 5g yellow mustard seeds

Make the pickled cucumbers at least a week ahead or you can use store-bought pickled gherkins in the dill yoghurt.

To make the pickles, use a pin to prick each cucumber a few times. Heat the water, vinegar, sugar, salt, bay leaves and mustard seeds, not letting the mixture come to the boil. Pack the cucumbers tightly into a large, sterilized jar and pour over the brine, ensuring the cucumbers are completely covered. Tightly close the lid and leave the cucumbers to pickle for a week. Refrigerate after opening.

For the polpette, place the hake, shallot and herbs into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. In a bowl, combine the hake mixture with the cold mashed potato, egg and flour. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Use a spoon to shape the mixture into small balls, arranging them on a lined baking sheet. Refrigerate the polpette for an hour to firm up.

Pour about 1cm of olive oil into a heavy-bottomed frying pan and carefully lower each polpette into the oil. Fry the polpette over medium heat until brown on all sides, usually 5-8 minutes.

To make the dill yoghurt, combine the chopped dill, lemon zest and grated garlic with the Greek yoghurt. Finely chop two pickles and add them to the yoghurt, along with a 10ml of the pickling brine. Season with salt to taste and serve alongside the polpette.

Recipe by: Georgia East, South African cook, food stylist, cookbook author and founder of East Afternoon. Georgia is quite the seafood enthusiast.  |

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