Golden seafood stew with Bandari spices

Golden seafood stew with Bandari spices

Mark Roper

The Persian Gulf is teeming with prawns of all sizes, including my all-time favourite, king prawns. I find that smaller prawns can sometimes be a little mushy, but these whoppers are always meaty and firm and have a fabulous sweet flavour. They combine really well with molluscs, such as clams or mussels, to make this lovely stew. It would make a great dinner-party dish, or could just as easily be served as a simple supper dish with warm flatbread and perhaps a few extra fresh herbs. There’s no need for rice, as the potatoes and chickpeas are pretty filling.

The spice mix given here makes more than you need for this dish. It is hard to make in smaller quantities, though, and it will keep reasonably fresh if stored in an airtight jar. It’s a brilliant all-purpose spice mix for any seafood.


Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 purple onion, finely chopped
200g cooked chickpeas
or 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
300g waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
6 baby carrots, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
200g tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 orange, zested
500ml water
500g clams, scrubbed
12 king prawns, peeled
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup chopped tarragon leaves
1/4 cup chopped chervil sprigs flatbread, to serve
3 tablespoons Saffron liquid
3 teaspoons Bandari spice mix


  1. To make the spice mix, combine all the ingredients, then transfer to an airtight jar.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan or casserole dish over a low heat. Add the onion and fry gently until soft and translucent.
  3. Stir in the 3 teaspoons of the spice mix and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the chickpeas, potato, carrot, tomato, zest, saffron liquid and water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 8 minutes, or until the potato is just tender.
  4. Turn up the heat and add the clams and prawns. Cover and cook for 1–2 minutes until the clams open.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir in the fresh herbs and serve straight away with warm flatbread.
Middle Eastern
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