Fynbos flavours: Tasty Rooibos rub for sustainably sourced fish

Fynbos flavours: Tasty Rooibos rub for sustainably sourced fish

With the world’s fish stocks depleting rapidly as global fish production outpaces world population growth (ref), it’s up to us as discerning and empowered consumers to make wise seafood choices. Agreed, it’s not always as easy or simple as one thinks – especially if fish frequently appears on your local supermarket shelves or restaurant menus – but there are ways to continue enjoying seafood without contributing to the massive strain that’s currently being put on our oceans’ resources.

WWF’s Green-Listed Alternatives Table is a great place to start. This useful list provides sustainable alternatives for some of the common orange or red-listed species of fish that we often eat out of habit, with little thought given to their conservation status. Next time you’re about to cook a meal or order a dish that you suspect might fall into the orange or red columns, have a quick look over this list to see what sustainable alternatives might be available. Trying something different is a small compromise, but the collective change in habit could save many of our fish species from over-exploitation and, ultimately, collapse.

The below recipe by Phillipe Wagenfuhrer originally called for Kingklip, but the alternatives list told me that Hake would be just as tasty – and it was. Pair it with WWF Conservation Champion wine, Backsberg Sauvignon Blanc, which has gooseberry and passion fruit aromas and a luscious lime and nettle palate.


Hake with Rooibos rub

by Phillipe Wagenfuhrer (adapted)


Rooibos Rub


  • 100g Rooibos tea leaves
  • 20ml honey
  • zest of 3 lemons
  • 5ml coarse salt
  • 40g dried apple, finely chopped


  • Place all the ingredients for the rub in a blender and process to form a fine powder/paste.




  • 4 x 180g hake fillets
  • 45ml olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • juice and zest of lemon



  • Just before cooking, rub one side of the fish fillets with the Rooibos rub. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Place the fish, rub side down, into the pan. Make sure that the pan is not too hot, as you may burn the rub and make it very bitter.
  • Cook for 3 minutes, then turn the fillets over and cook for a further 3 minutes or until the flesh flakes easily when tested with a fork. One minute before removing the fish from the pan, add the lemon juice and zest.

Kate Black

As the daughter of a wildlife filmmaker, Kate spent her early childhood in the Okavango Delta. Over the years, she has been fortunate to explore many of Southern Africa’s other wild places, contributing to her keen interest in African wildlife conservation. With a career grounded in digital marketing, Kate recently made the decision to work as a freelance communications specialist, with a particular focus on environmental NGOs. An avid trail runner and hiker, she loves the outdoors and the incredible natural diversity that the Western Cape has to offer.

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