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A Hāngi is a traditional New Zealand Maori method of cooking food using heated rocks buried in a pit oven. To prepare for a hangi a fire is lit; and large stones are then placed on the embers of the fire. While the stones are heating a pit is dug in the ground – this is the ‘oven’. Once the stones are hot they are placed in the pit.
Traditionally the rocks were then covered by leaves and vegetation to minimise the food having direct contact with the hot rocks. The food, meat and vegetables, were then placed on top with another layer of vegetation used to protect the food from the soil that covers the oven.
In recent times sacking and cloth have been used rather than vegetation, and food is usually placed in metal or wire baskets before it is lowered into the earth. The baskets are covered with wet cloth and then wet sacking, and the sacks are then covered in a mound of soil to prevent heat escaping. The water in the wet cloth turns into steam, and because this steam can’t escape it heats and cooks the food.
All types of food can be cooked in a hangi: lamb, pork, beef, chicken, fish, shellfish and vegetables. Hangi food has a delicious smokey flavour.
Te Puia let you experience a traditional hangi as part of their indigenous experience Te Pō, an evening of storytelling, entertainment and Māori Cuisine.
Visit Rotorua Superpases to see our amazing package deals that include the Te Pō cultural experience.