We now understand hangi cooking

30 Jun 2018

Our very first hangi experience I am ashamed to say, is the one we needed to create when Monique Fiso was here. She may have sent thru a list of what tools and accessories we needed, but other detail was somewhat limited, and wanting to get things right, we turned to local friends for advice. We got lots!! And amidst all the shaking of heads and chats was the promise that when it was all over they would cook us a hangi their way. One that would involve us doing nothing except watching and enjoying... and so we did, and it was a really special day, and I now have a much more rounded handle on the notion of pit cooking.

There is nothing immediate about hangi - you need time for the stones to heat up and time for the food to cook. Roughly 3 hours for each stage. So for our late lunch ( made later to suit our daughters timeline who was heading home from a race in Rotorua and didn't want to miss out on the eating part!), the whole process began at 8.30am in the morning, and we pretty much spent the rest of the day mooching and chatting and chilling. A markedly less stressful undertaking to what had surrounded our previous hangi experience!

Willy doesn't bother with wood! Lesson no.1. How much money did we spend trying to source manuka or other hangi appropriate wood?!

The hangi pudding, as with Monique not actually cooked in the hangi - to be revealed later...

The only part of the prep that I had any actual input into - peeling a few potatoes. Sitting in water in their muslim bag waiting to go in the pit.

And Rick was on bread duty...

The hangi master and his apprentice!

No fancy, shmazy seasoning allowed here. Salt and only salt - but Carol wanted Rick to season the meat, so he's somewhat warily acting under instruction!!

And into the pit it all goes - including the stuffing which it was noted with disbelief had not been part of Moniques lineup.

Final cooking technique before the dirt gets shovelled...

Anna,I think it was Anna, commented when she arrived that it looked like a termite home! 

And then a few hours later when numbers of people have increased, and there's been lots of sitting around and chat we start the lifting process..

And the basket, with the much anticipated stuffing on top gets carried into the kitchen...

To my utter delight chips from a certain burger joint across the road were bought for the younger generation because apparently they don't like hangi potatoes or kumara. 

The feast!! I'd gone over to our storage with Lexey to find some nice service platters, but that's not the way it's done. Stainless all the way...

Our replete hangi master - hopefully planning the next one!!

Late as usual, but there was never going to be a problem with running out of food...


And the other mastermind - Carol. Hid every time I took a photo - so this one felt kind of appropriate when she finally sat down and relaxed. 

All told a pretty awesome experience, and one we sincerely hope to repeat- on an annual basis maybe?!!

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