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Winter is such a perfect time of year for a beautiful and tasty seafood chowder!

Chowders are those sorts of soup that when dining out it can be a wonderful or terrible eating experience! I for one was put off seafood chowder for a long time when I had to judge a seafood chowder competition. Only to find out after they had all been made from a packet!

Seafood chowder is a wonderful soup but it has to be made with fresh seafood not leftover old pieces of fish on a Monday.

My first true experience of a great chowder was whilst working at Kermadec restaurant in the late nineties, the head chef at the time used about 10 kg of clams, Tua Tuas and roasted kumara as a base! It was amazing but very expensive!

If you are looking for a true Chowder experience then you have to travel to San Francisco. Some people say the home of the chowder (others say New England) and also the sourdough bread.

What you do is head down to the fisherman’s wharf area and choose from a number of great restaurants. The most famous and the true home of the sour dough is Boudin Bakery & cafe. Here for $7.19, you can order a clam chowder in a sour dough bun.

The great thing about this is you first eat the soup then you eat the crispy soup soaked sour dough bun after!

Mike’s spiced fish chowder

serves 6

  • 2 fresh Hoki fillets
  • 500 ml of milk
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 agria potato ( medium sized )
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 pepper corns
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons of plain flour
  • a small handful of chopped Italian parsley
  • a teaspoon of butter

Cut Hoki in half and place them in a deep pan with the milk, bay leaves and peppercorns. Bring the milk to the boil and leave to infuse with the heat off and the lid on. Chop the onion into a rough dice and fry in the butter in another deep saucepan. Finely chop the carrots and potato and add to the onion, fry for 5 to 10 mins till lightly golden in colour.

Stir in the mustard seeds and turmeric and cook for 5 minutes.
Remove the Hoki from the milk and reserve the milk. Scatter the flour over the vegetables and cook for a few more minutes, stirring as you go. Pour the infused milk into the pan and cook, stirring continuously until you have a thick sauce.

Place the Hoki quickly into the pan to warm through.
Top with chopped parsley and serve with crusty warm bread.


Please note; other fish that can be used are Monkfish, Snapper, Gurnard, smoked Kahawai