Christall Lowe’s Kaimoana Chowder Recipe

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25 November 2022

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Serves: 4 as a main

I’ve tried many seafood chowders in my lifetime – it’s become a bit of a thing to do when I see one on the menu. There have been a few disappointments, but also some absolute standouts. I believe a -good chowder is hearty, creamy, and absolutely steeped in the flavour of kaimoana. It should really be a celebration of the sea, and I like it loaded! You can use whatever kaimoana you can get, so long as you keep the general quantities the same. Using shellfish as well as the fish and prawns or shrimp adds another dimension to that kaimoana flavour, and really epitomises what a good seafood chowder is all about – a celebration of kai from the sea.


1 cup water

1 cup white wine

800g shellfish, cleaned

1 tbsp butter or olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 large leek, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed/finely chopped

2 tbsp flour

1 carrot, diced

1 small kūmara, peeled and diced

250g raw fish 2-3cm chunks

250g raw prawns or shrimp

1 cup cream or coconut cream

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground black pepper

Small bunch parsley, chopped or torn

Lemon wedges, to serve

Fresh crusty bread, to serve


1. Put the water and wine in a large stockpot and bring to the boil. Add the shellfish. Cover with a lid, and steam until the shells are at least 5mm opened. 

2. Using tongs, lift the shellfish from the pot into a large bowl. Pour the liquid through a sieve, then reserve liquid. 

3. In a heavy, deep saucepan or large stockpot over a medium heat, melt the butter or oil, and sauté chopped onion, leek and garlic, stirring until tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. 

4. Stir in the flour to make a roux, and slowly add the reserved shellfish broth, while stirring, until combined. Add carrot and kūmara, cover with a lid and simmer until vegetables are tender, stirring every minute to prevent it sticking on the bottom of the pan. Add more water if necessary. 

5. Add the raw fish and prawns or shrimp, and continue to simmer until just cooked through. Add the cream or coconut cream, stirring until combined into a creamy chowder. Season with salt and pepper and add the cooked shellfish.

6. Serve in bowls with parsley, lemon wedges and fresh crusty bread to mop up the sensational, creamy chowder.

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