Bokkems, a salted, wind-dried fish, usually haarders (mullet) or maasbankers (horse mackerel), once formed an important part of the diet of Cape farm labourers.
Because the fish were well preserved, they were easily transported inland from the coast. However, with more sophisticated means of keeping fish fresh, dried fish has become far less common than in the past.
To prepare bokkems (alternate spelling = bokkoms) in the traditional manner, layer freshly caught and gutted haarders in a large wooden vat and generously sprinkle each layer with coarse salt.
Leave the fish to pickle in the salt for 24 hours, before hanging them out to dry on open racks.
They will take up to a week to dry, depending on the size of the fish and the weather.
Like most dried fish worldwide, bokkems are very strong-tasting and must be soaked in cold water before use.
Category: South African Cuisine
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