Chef Rewi above checking in on his Hangi feast on this hot summer day at A Taste of Auckland
How It’s Done
Hāngi cooking is the most widely used method of cooking by the Maori culture of New Zealand for over 200o years and dates back across other cultures, though it is referred to by different names. Foods cooked in the hāngi style are placed underground on a bed of hot rocks and vegetation, while steam cooks the food over a slow period. In New Zealand today, it is still a popular practice for the Maori people, who are dedicated to keeping their cultural ancestry alive and well.
It is traditional for hāngi cooking to take place in a whanau or kauta; specially built sheds used for cooking, though it is also occasionally cooked out in the open. Foods are prepared in 3 sections; meat, vegetables and pudding, with everything added together. Stoned are heated white, untreated wood is placed on top, followed by the meats first, then the rest of the foods. The food is covered with leaves or flax matting and left to steam cook under the pressure from the leaves and soil. The cooking process alone takes several hours, so several tribe members are usually on hand to help build the hāngi and remove the food.