How to Cook a Hangi


How to Cook a Hangi

A hangi is a traditional Maori cooking method in which food is roasted in a pit oven. The hangi is typically cooked with hot rocks, and the food is usually wrapped in leaves and placed in a pit in the ground. This traditional culinary practice has been around for centuries and is still popular today. In this detailed step-by-step guide, you will learn how to cook a hangi.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

First and foremost, you need to gather the necessary materials for cooking a hangi. You’ll need some large stones for the hot rocks, a pit in the ground, some large leaves to wrap up the food, the food itself, and a shovel or spade for digging the pit. You may also want to have an extra bucket or container of water handy, as you’ll need it to dampen the hot stones before putting them in the pit.

Step 2: Dig the Pit

Once you have all the materials you need, you can start digging the pit. It needs to be deep enough that the hot rocks can fit in the bottom of the pit, and wide enough to fit the food you’ll be cooking. The pit should be about a foot deep, and the width should be about twice the size of the food. Once you’ve dug the pit, it’s time to move on to the next step.

Step 3: Prepare the Rocks

Once you’ve dug the pit, it’s time to prepare the hot rocks. Take the large stones and heat them up until they are red hot. You can do this over a fire or in an oven. Once the stones are hot, you’ll need to take them out of the oven or off the fire and put them into a bucket or container with some water. This will help to dampen the rocks and prevent them from being too hot for the food.

Step 4: Place the Rocks in the Pit

Now that you have the hot rocks dampened, you can place them in the pit. Make sure to place enough rocks so that the bottom of the pit is completely covered. Once you’ve done this, you’ll want to cover the rocks with a layer of wet leaves. This will help to insulate the food and make sure it doesn’t burn.

Step 5: Place the Food in the Pit

Now it’s time to place the food in the pit. Take the food and wrap it up in the wet leaves. Once it is completely wrapped, place it in the pit, making sure that it is completely covered by the wet leaves. Once you’ve done this, you can move on to the next step.

Step 6: Cover the Pit

Once the food is in the pit, it’s time to cover it. Take a few more wet leaves and place them on top of the food. Then, take some more leaves and cover the entire pit. This will help to insulate the food and trap the steam for cooking. Make sure that the pit is completely covered and that there are no openings for the steam to escape.

Step 7: Let it Cook

Now it’s time to let the hangi cook. The cooking time will vary depending on the type of food you’re cooking, but it typically takes between four and six hours. You can keep an eye on the pit to make sure the food is cooking evenly and not burning.

Step 8: Uncover the Pit

Once the hangi is done cooking, you can uncover the pit. Be careful when you do this, as there may still be hot rocks and steam coming from the pit. Once the pit is uncovered, you can take out the food and enjoy it. Your hangi is now ready to eat.


Cooking a hangi is a fun and unique way to enjoy traditional Maori cuisine. With this step-by-step guide, you now know how to cook a hangi and can start experimenting with it. Keep in mind that the cooking time and process may vary slightly depending on the type of food you’re using, but the basic principles remain the same.

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