Hāngī Pit Masters

Rewi Spraggon enlists six of the best chefs in Aotearoa and gets them to add their expertise, tastes and techniques to a traditional Māori hāngī under the gaze of thousands at one of the biggest food shows in Aotearoa, Taste of Auckland. Available On Demand.

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Send us your Hāngī Pro Tips

Here are some of our additional ‘Hāngi Pro Tips’ that could be handy when building your hāngi. Got your own hāngi pro tip to share? Let us know yours in the form below and we’ll add to the list!

Pro tip 1
When picking your wood, go for hard woods as they keep the heat better. If your chosen wood emits a strong smell when lit then avoid it – the smell will taint the food, and can also be poisonous. Blue gum and Kowhai should be avoided for that reason. Don’t be that guy who uses tantalized timber either!

Pro tip 2 
Use a couple of thin pieces of squared pine to put across the top of your baskets, like rails, to help stabilize the next layer of baskets. You can notch them for a better fit.

Pro tip 3 
There are many different approaches to building a hāngi – heat stones in the cooking pit, or not – both are right. But if you are putting a hāngi down in winter, heat your rocks in the pit. This seals the earth which is colder and damper than usual, and makes sure that your rocks maintain temperature which would otherwise be lost if transferring hot rocks into a cold pit. Do remember to take most of the ash out before you lay in the food though – you want the flavor but not the ash.

Pro tip 4
Puka leaves can be used to wrap your kai into parcels and put straight into the hangi. To do this, wrap your kai in the leaf and tie with flax or cabbage tree leaf. This little package can then be placed straight into the embers before covering over with sacks and soil to steam.

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