Tuesday, December 29, 2009

How to make a hangi

I photographed a wedding in the Catlins, which is about 2 hours south of where I live and I was so lucky that it involved a hangi - which is the traditional Maori way to cook a whole lot of food underground. Traditionally, women are to prepare the food and men are to prepare the pit.

I arrived at 11am to see this fire burning - it's heating up large rocks that will be put in the pit.

Then hours later (about 1pm), they put out the fire and push the very hot rocks inside the pit. It was boiling hot with the heat from both the sun and the fire.

Meat, potatoes, pumpkin, kumara and cabbage are wrapped and put into wire baskets. Then, these baskets are laid into the pit.

Then water is poured over the food and it is covered with fabric and sacks that have been soaked in water overnight. This is covered with dirt.

While the hangi cooked - there was a lovely wedding ceremony and some photos taken on the beach and a beautiful ferny walking track. At 5.30pm, the men dug up the dirt to reach the cooked food.

The hot, heavy baskets are then lifted out of the ground.

The cooked food is then transported up to the dining room.

Some people really hate the taste of the food - it is really different. I LOVE the steamed, smoked flavour. YUM!

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