Fish head chowder

1 vote

Peter Gordon's main dish as seen on Three and ThreeNow's Food Rescue Kitchen.


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  • 3kg fish heads and frames (heads take about twice as long to cook as frames)
  • 2 – 3 litres water – enough to cover the fish
  • 2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons grated or chopped ginger
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, then sliced, diced or coarsely grated
  • 2 sticks celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups rice
  • 12 kawakawa leaves, washed and patted dry, shredded 5mm thick (or replace with 2 tsp thyme or oregano leaves)
  • 2 x 400ml cans coconut milk
  • 300g silverbeet, shredded 3-5mm thick
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, deseeded and cut into 1cm dice or thereabouts


  1. Boil the fish heads and frames in the water until the flesh is cooked – around 8 minutes for frames and 15-20 minutes for heads – so if you have a mix cook them separately.
  2. Remove from the pot and strain the liquid – you’ll use this as the stock to make the soup from. Once the meat is cool enough to handle, pick the flesh from the bones and put to one side making sure no scales end up in the mix.
  3. Sauté the onions, garlic and ginger in the oil till slightly caramelised.
  4. Add the carrot and celery and cook a few minutes to soften the veggies Add the rice and kawakawa and cook a few minutes, stirring as it warms up.
  5. Add 2 litres of the reserved fish stock and the coconut milk and bring to the boil Cook until the rice is almost fully cooked, then add the silverbeet and cook another few minutes.
  6. Taste the soup and adjust as needed – adding salt, freshly ground black pepper or lemon juice to taste.
  7. Ladle the soup into your warmed bowls, scatter on the fish flesh and then the cucumber.
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