Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Kai Time - Maori Food and Recipes

Maori Fried Bread

E Ihowa
Whakapaingia ēnei kai
Hei ōranga mo ōu mātou tinana
Whāngaia hoki ōu mātou wairua
Ki te taro o te ora
Ko Ihu Karaiti tōu mātou kaiwhakaora
Ake ake ake
-(Maori prayer before meals) 

Last week we celebrated Maori Language Week here in New Zealand. Maori- the indigenous people of New Zealand have rich culture and traditions. We had the opportunity to learn more about their language and culture. I learned to wield a taiaha - a traditional weapon, which was absolutely fantastic. Also, as part of the Maori Language week, I attended a cooking class and learned to cook Maori favorites - Boil Up, Ika Mata and Fried Bread. It was loud, it was fun and we cooked up a delicious feast!

Maori Boil Up

Our teacher, Wepiha Melbourne, received his formal training as a chef in the NZ Navy for 20 years having earned his City and Guilds qualifications. It is not everyday you learn how to cook authentic Maori dishes from a Navy chef! Wepiha is one of the “children of the mist”, hails from Te Urewera and is of Tūhoe and Ngāti Porou descent. He is a bit camera shy, but I got him in the end ( and got his his lovely wife's permission to use his photo on the blog)

Of the three dishes I mentioned before, I am sharing with you the recipes for fried bread and Ika Mata. 

Ika Mata is a dish of marinated fresh raw fish. The traditional way to prepare it is by using plenty of coconut cream. We made enough for a hungry army, but you can scale the recipe down. Wash your hands because you're going to be getting them in to the food very soon!

Yield - Serves 8 - 12

Prep Time - 20 Minutes + 1 hour marinade


1 Kg Firm fleshed Fish
2 Onions
3 Tomatoes
1 bunch Scallions
2 Lemons
2 can Coconut Cream


Cut the fish in a small even dice and add to a large bowl.

Chop the onions and tomatoes and slice the spring onions. Combine with the fish. Season with salt and combine. Really well.

Add sliced scallions (spring onions) and pour in the coconut cream. Juice the lemons and add it in. Give it a stir and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Cashy and I take a break to learn our Maori words for the day. We're both pointing at "tunu" meaning "to cook"

Next up - Fried Bread. I'd eat it every single day for the rest of my life if there were no consequences! 

Yield - Makes 6-7
Prep Time - 15 Minutes
Cook Time - 15 Minutes


1 cup All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
Salt, a dash
Water, for mixing
Oil, for deep frying


Sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl. This is important for fluffy fried bread.

Now, add water to it slowly while combining (with a butter knife). The dough should be a bit on the wetter side. Do not knead it too much. This dough needs minimal handling. When touched it should be very soft.

Roll the dough out to a floured surface and flatten gently with your hands.

Cut it into 2 inch pieces.

Heat oil in an electric fryer or a pot. Oil should be quite hot. Fry the cut pieces till they float up and turn golden.

Fried bread is best enjoyed sliced in the middle, buttered with golden syrup.

Many thanks to Violet Hape, Casey Box, Tangimeriana Rua and Wepiha Melbourne for contributing to this post.


  1. Ugh. Where do you get off being so beautiful? How dare you.

    I was actually arguing about raw marinated fish with someone in the chemistry department just the other day! We were talking about ceviche, but ika mata fits the bill too (and is something I've never tried, so maybe I can justify it as 'an experiment'-- if I tell people about the chemistry involved in the marination, it's part of the curriculum and no one can tell me not to do it).

    I wish Australia was more proactive in celebrating Aboriginal languages and customs.

    1. Aww thanks Pug! It is funny you mention ceviche because I was describing this to someone the other day and I said "it is kinda like ceviche but not really..." Also, high five for taking chemistry - I am a former geochemist!

  2. I have never tried anything like this before. But loved reading the post, Bach! /looks like you had great time!


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