Wednesday, September 23, 2009

An Excellent Hangi ..

Some of the men uncovering the hangi pit - the soil is quite hot at this stage

Last evening Ellena and I went out for dinner - to a hangi - what is a hangi you are thinking ??

It is a meal cooked under the ground in a pit with stones that are heated to a high temperature by fire, then the fire is put out, the food in wire baskets is put on top of the stones and the whole lot covered in cloth and then the soil from the pit - left to cook in the steam all afternoon.

With the cloth drawn back and steam let out of the cooking pit.

The last layer of cloth is sacking which is very good at keeping the heat in - the smell by this stage is something else.

The veges are wrapped in tin foil

Some of the 100 people there !! Stew and Leah who put this feast on ,own 2 very trendy cafes in Hamilton, Ellena works at `Jacks` on the weekend, hence our invite - this evening was a `thankyou` to staff, clients, family and friends who have all helped to make their business`s so successful - a really nice young couple ..

One of the 6 baskets of meat !! Pork, lamb and chicken were wrapped in cabbage leaves to keep the salty juices in and cooked to perfection - the meat actually fell off the bones

Stew, the chef, busy cutting the meat - there was so much food plus salad followed by brownie and cream - all very yummy. I hadn`t eaten hangi food for many years and had forgotten the `special` taste the food has, a mixture of earth and steam if you can imagine that ? Maori cooked in hangi, there are many old pit sites around the country with shells and bones in them. Other Pacific Islands have their own version called an Umu, which is run the same way. Any fat in the meat tends to run out the bottom onto the rocks. Maori still cook in this way especially if there is a big event on, in Rotorua a tourist centre, the food is placed in baskets and left in the thermal hot pools to cook, tends to have a slight sulpher taste then !


Lynn said...

That's a fascinating way of cooking. I could almost taste and smell the meat. We used to do a lot of camping and there's just something special about food cooked over a campfire!


Makes me hungry looking at your pictures!