Kia ora, Raffies!
Today we are going to New Zealand. We are going to this beautiful country with its incredibly culture. And since the natives in New Zealand and the Māori people, we are going to pay tribute to their culinary history, we are going to make: Hāngi.
In this traditional cooking method, the ingredients are cooked on heated rocks, that are buried in an excavated pit oven. This is a dish you eat on special occasions and that requires a long preparation, or well, cooking. The food gets cooked through steaming. This method is very old and is used all over Polinesia, all the way to Latin America known by the name of Umu.
It all starts with digging the hole in the ground. You then place stones in the pit and heat them with a big fire. Once the fire has died out, you throw water on the stones to make steam. You then place baskets of food or food wrapped in leaves on top of the stones, cove with vegetation and earth and leave it to cook for several hours.
The following article describes the procedure in detail: genuinemaoricuisine.com.
Nowadays, you can buy gas heated stainless steel machines, to make hāngi at home, without the need of a pit, fire and stones.
Unfortunately, our landlady did not like the idea of digging up half of the garden for a hāngi, we cooked it in the oven over rocks for 2 hours.
I chopped up the ingredients, placed them on cabbage leaves, wrapped them in aluminium foil and placed them in the oven with some water next to my stone. Otheriwse, if you have a crock pot, you can cook it in it too.
For your hāngi you’ll use different vegetables and meats. I used lamb chops, chicken thighs, salted pork, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and cabbage.
Actually anything is allowed.
Even though I missed the pit, I really enjoyed my hāngi. The ingredients had an intense flavour. Next step will be enjoying a real one in New Zealand!