Tag Archives: Prawns

Seafood Chowder

I learnt this easy seafood chowder from watching Masterchef Australia. Fleur Sullivan, the chef, is from NZ!

This seafood chowder is made with roux, a mixture of flour and butter. I’ve modified this recipe a bit to reduce the amount of butter to make it lighter. You can pretty much add any seafood in as you like, using any in season, fresh produce you can find locally. Choose a firm type of fish, like Hapuka, which is a grouper in NZ. You can also use little neck clams, scallops or mussels.

150g butter
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
150g plain flour
100ml white wine
140g tomato paste (equivalent to 1 tub of tomato paste)
2 litres seafood* or fish stock, warmed
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 bay leaves
Celery stalk, 10cm piece
1 stalk fresh thyme
300g Harpuka or Basa, diced
20 prawns, shelled and deveined
2 squid tube, cleaned and scored, cut int strips

*The seafood stock is one I’ve made earlier with the heads of scampi heads boiled down with “the holy trinity” vege trio – onions, carrots and celery (Mirepoix in French). This vegetable mix is a very common starter for soups and stews. They are usually finely diced and then sautéed in oil or butter.


In a large heavy based saucepan melt butter and add diced vegetables. Sweat for a few minutes but do not allow to colour.

Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes or until mixture has a sandy texture.

Slowly pour in the wine and tomato paste and bring together as it thickens to remove all the lumps.

Add the warmed stock slowly, stirring continuously, and drop in the herbs and spices.

Allow the chowder to come to the boil, and stir to keep the ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Add all the fish and shellfish and simmer until the shells begin to open and the fish is cooked through.

Serve with sourdough or ciabatta.

Prawn cocktail

Upon realizing J is not allergic to prawns, this dish has appeared on our dinner menu at least once a week. Why? It is quick, completes in under 10 minutes, can be made in advance and is delicious.

Good quality prawns were hard to find in New Zealand many moons ago, and you’ll have to pay a premium for them. In the last few years, the market has opened up and it is now very easy to buy good quality and affordable prawns even in the supermarket.

All you need here are the prawns, some ice, and thousand island dressing. For this dish, I prefer using the frozen, shelled but uncooked ones. It offers an easy start for my dish and saves me time. Flavour wise, it does not make a significant difference. It does however make a huge difference in cost when compared to fresh prawns!

It can be served as an appetizer, or like any Asian meals, as part of a wider array of dishes shared amongst the diners. This is a dish S and I had many years ago at a restaurant, when we were still dating. In the end we decided that we didn’t need to order that from a restaurant when we can easily do it ourselves ( yes indeed this is one even S can achieve !!!)

300g Prawns, shelled, uncooked
1 cup of ice
3 tbsp thousand island dressing

Defrost the prawns by rinsing them in water, leave it to drain in a colander.


Bring a pot of water to a boil. Salt the water with 1 tsp of salt and add the prawns in.


Once the prawns has changed to a pink colour, leave it to cook for a further 30 seconds. Then, strain it and put it in a bowl with the ice. This stops them from over cooking and retains a nice crunch when you bite into it.


Mix the prawns with the ice and leave it to cool.


J likes to stir them from time to time.


Drain the water off and dry the prawns by lightly patting them with a paper towel.
Add the thousand island dressing in, mix to coat evenly.

Refrigerate until service time. Just like macarons, they taste better the next day – but who can wait that long?