Maori Hangi

In New Zealand most people will traditionally have their Christmas dinner outside. It may be a barbecue or a full traditional British style turkey dinner. But some people will make a traditional Maori hangi cooked in the traditional stone and earth oven ; the umu.

The amount of each ingredients needed will depend on how many people are at the party:

* A loin of pork, rolled and secure with a roasting string

* A Boned leg of lamb rolled and secured with a roasting string

* Chicken legs

* cabbage, washed and cut in four

* Kumara*

* Pumpkin, cut in large dices

* some thyme and rosemary

* Salt and pepper

* Bread Stuffing, a traditional bread, sage and onion stuffing

* Steam Pudding, usually most people would use the traditional Christmas pudding


Usually most of the preparation is done the night before so that everything is ready for the morning for the lighting of the Hangi.

It is very important to place the food in the correct order in the baskets as everything will be cooking together. So place the large roast meat on the bottom of the baskets with chicken on top. Put the potato's and kumara in next and cabbage quarters to fill in any gaps. Finally place the stuffing in an oven bag or mutton cloth on top. Salt


Make the hole a bit bigger than your basket size so you can tuck the sacks and mutton cloth

down the side. The hole doesn't have to be very deep, just enough to hold for the stones and about a third of the depth of you pots.

Some people differ in this next part as to preference but most Maori build the fire over the hole. Now that you have dug your hole, you need to fill the hole with screwed-up newspaper as this will be used in the morning to ignite the fire. Next place the small log of wood on top of the paper and build a typical fire placing the wood in increasing size order, criss-crossing by layer until all the wood is used. Then stack the rocks on top of the wood.

Place a protective cover over the fire-stack to protect it from the morning dew and to ensure a dry start in the morning.

The next morning, light your fire allow to burn until all the wood has burned down. Then, use a shovels and rakes to scoop out any smoking embers so that there is only rocks left in the hole. Make sure to do this carefully.Get rid off the ashes left around by a quick spray of the hose on the rocks.

Making of the Hangi

Flatten out the rocks as much as possible and place the basket on the stones. give the stones and basket a quick spray with the hose to create some steam, then immediately place the cloths over the basket allowing the edges to go down the sides of the hole. Place a potato on the top of the cloth as an indicator of the state of the cooking process. Place the wet sacks on this, layering them as to cover the basket but dot allow them to go down the side of the basket so that they lay on the top of the ground. Place the dirt on top of this stack of cloth. Make sure to seal off any places where steam is escaping.

Cooking time for one basket is around 2 1/2 - 3hours.

Taking out the Hangi

Uncover dirt from the sacks and peel back the sacks being careful not to spill any dirt into the basket. Check the potato to see if it is cooked. Remove the cloth and use the sacks as protection to hold the hot basket. Take to the kitchen and serve.

* Kumara is the Maori name for the common sweet potato.

Information thanks to "the Whanau show".

Suitable or pregnant women, nut free, lactose free, gluten free.