Hangi take 2 – Part 2

You can read about the making of the hangi itself in the previous post. After having the food in the hangi for slightly less than three hours we noticed that the temperature in the pumpkin started to decline. It had then reached 69 °C which was slightly below our trial run that we did in the oven at home, where we concluded that a temperature of 90 °C was definitely sufficient. We left the food in the pit for another 40 minutes however, at which point we made the call that the food would probably be done and that if we left it in longer we would eat food with nice texture but which would be cold.

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Dinner with grilled venison topside and tomatoes served together with the hangi vegetables a herb salad fresh from the garden and some herb butter.

Uncovering the hangi

When deciding that the food was ready we uncovered the hangi. The method we have devised for this, after some trials now, is to fold the burlap towards one of the sides of the pit and then roll it off that side. Then we lift the sheets one at a time to avoid any spare dirt to fall in on top of the food.

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The uncovered hangi in the background and the ready vegetables straight out of the hangi.

The wire baskets with food are then lift up from the pit and placed in a wheelbarrow for handy transportation to the dinner table.

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The finished vegetables ready to be transported to the dinner table.

Serving dinner with the hangi vegetables

Together with the hangi vegetables we grilled some venison topside and tomatoes on the regular grill. We also picked some herbs from the garden and made a herb salad as well as some herb butter.

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Hangi vegetables and venison topside served on a bed of herb salad and topped with some herb butter with fresh herbs.

So, how was the vegetables this time? They were almost perfect! Really, really tasty and just perfect al dente. The Hokkaido pumpkin couldn’t have been better. The whole turnips however would have required a slightly higher temperature to bring them over from hard to nicely al dente. The white cabbage was also a delight!

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The perfect al dente vegetables.

How to improve the hangi

We feel that we have found the recipe for success, but there are still room for improvements. The key elements that we have identified for making the hangi a success are:

  1. Make a large fire with a lot of fire wood and keep it burning for at least three to four hours.
  2. As soon as the fire has started to be stable place the large rocks on top of it. Don’t be afraid for them falling down and extinguishing the fire. Rather make sure to add sufficient with fire wood in order to keep the fire going anyways.
  3. Use a large amount of stones to capture as much heat from the fire as possible and keep them on the fire for as long as possible to accumulate as much heat as they can carry.
  4. When the stones have captured enough heat and the fire starts to burn out, quench the embers with water until there are no other heat sources but the stones themselves.

It should be mentioned that the stones that we use tend to crack due to the heat. Ideally one should use volcanic rocks, but that is slightly difficult to find here in Sweden (surprisingly, right?). They will still get the job done and cook the food, but one might have to go for a hunt for new rocks every now and then, since it is just quite inefficient to place small rocks on the fire. Both because they can’t take as much heat and because they are much more difficult to remove from the hangi once it is finished.

Happy hangi-making!

Cecilia & Magnus

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