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Ethnology of Manihiki and Rakahanga

Food Preparations

Food Preparations

1. Whakaehu mata. The grated flesh of the ni mata muri coconut is eaten uncooked (mata) by itself after drinking the fluid of the nut or with the fluid mixed with it. As a flavoring agent, the grated husk (mokomoko) from the base of a green mangaro nut may be mixed with it.

2. Wai-tahi. The grated material of the whakaehu mata may be cooked in an oven in its own shell by itself or with the husk flavoring. The preparation is then termed wai-tahi.

3. Whakaehu pana puraka. The puraka is cooked whole and the whakaehu preparation made from ni mata muri is eaten with it. It is really a combination and not a single preparation.

4. Takarari. The flesh of the ni mata muri is grated dry and worked (oi) with the hands. The difference between it and whakaehu is simply that of fluid. Both are eaten uncooked.

5. Verovero puraka. The ni mata muri is wet-grated and raw puraka is cut into thin slices (tipu rahirahi). A layer of grated coconut is placed in the bottom of a coconut shell and alternate layers of coconut and puraka made until the shell is filled. The mixture is then cooked.

6. Romanga. The full name of this mixture is whakaehu pana ota romanga. As the name implies, the grated green coconut flesh (whakaehu) is mixed (pana) with the dry gratings (ota) left after expressing the oil from the grated mature nut (hakari). The grated mature nut is treated with heated stones to bring out the oil. The mixture prevents waste and supplies the whakaehu with a different flavoring agent.

7. Whakaehu pana nenu. The ripe fruit of the Morinda citrifolia (nenu) is squeezed in a wooden bowl with the hands to express the juice. The fluid from a green nut is poured in over the fruit to assist the extraction of the juice, as the fruit is fairly dry. The flavored fluid is then put in the empty shell of a green nut with the shell cover over it and cooked. The cooked mixture will remain good for two days. This is used as a flavoring agent with the whakaehu preparation of uncooked grated green nut (ka kahiro ki te whakaehu).

8. Tupere. The apical end of a ni mata matua is cut off, some of the fluid drunk, and the flesh wet-grated in coarse pieces. It receives its name from the coarse grating (tupere) as compared with the finer grating (varuvaru) of the whakaehu preparations which are made from ni mata muri or ni mata mua. The tupere preparation is largely used by nursing women to increase the milk flow, for which it is said that the ni mata muri of the whakaehu preparations is useless. Tupere is also used as a food complement (ninaki; Maori, kinaki) with fish.

9. Pana mokomoko. The ni mata mua is finely wet-grated, and the gratings of the mokomoko husk of a green bitter nut page 98 (ni kava) are mixed with it. The mixture turns reddish in color. The mokomoko by itself is bitter, but when mixed with the grated coconut flesh it turns sweet.

10. Huripaka. The flesh of a ni mata matua is dry-grated with the husk of a green sweet coconut (ni mangaro). The two are mixed, placed in a specially made coconut leaflet container (rarau), and cooked in an oven. The cooked preparation is very dark in color.

11. Puraka pana ota. Cooked puraka is pounded (tukituki) and mixed with the coarsely grated flesh of the ni momoto.

12. Wai ta. The grated flesh of a ni momoto with its fluid is put into a wooden bowl and mixed with grated husk of a green bitter nut. The mixture is then squeezed through a strainer to separate the flesh. The strained fluid is termed wai ta and is used medicinally by adults for pain in the back. The dry ota flesh is used for the puraka pana ota.

13. Roro. The roro is the creamy fluid from the mature nut grated on a standgrater and expressed through a stipule strainer. The cream may be used uncooked (roro mata), or a hot stone may be dropped into the bowl to heat it (roro hehengi). The roro mata may be used as a laxative. The preparation did not assume the social importance that it did in Tongareva, and no special bowls were made for it.

14. Uto kai mata. The uto is cut up and eaten raw.

15. Uto tupere. The opened shell is held in the hand and with a hand grater the uto is coarsely grated within the shell, as is katinga flesh. The two are mixed with the hand grater, which also acts as a spoon in conveying the mixture to the mouth. The person does not wait to grate the whole quantity but eats as he grates.

16. Turu uto. The uto is cooked in the shell in the oven. The mata ends are cut off with a hand grater and eaten by the family. The other ends are arranged around cooked puraka in the middle of a bowl and conveyed to the eating place (whainga) where guests are assembled.

17. Uto haehae. The uncooked uto is shredded (haehae) with the fingers, placed in a bowl, and the grated hard flesh of the nut is strained over the shredded uto. The fluid is very oily.

18. Oveke. Cooked uto is pounded (tukituki) in a wooden bowl and the grated mature flesh of the nut is mixed with it.

19. Pitei. A ni mata nut is dry-grated, put in a pite (coconut leaf container) and cooked in the oven. The uto is also cooked in the shell and afterwards pounded in a wooden bowl. The cooked coconut gratings (takarari) are mixed with the pounded uto, and the resulting mixture is pitei.

20. Pupu. Cooked puraka and uto are pounded and the takarari preparation from ni mata is prepared. The directions are as follows: “Oti, kua pana te puraka ki te uto, kua pana te takarari ki te puraka e te uto. E teru mea kua pana.” (When finished, the puraka is mixed with the uto, the grated coconut is mixed with the puraka and the uto. Three things are mixed.) “Raranga teraurau kapukapu. Kua hua ki roto, kua ruruku. Kia pu te umu, kua to. Huke ake, kua kai.” (Plait the kapukapu basket. Place within and fold up. When the oven is ready, cook. Open up the oven, eat.)

21. Uto whakapapa. The cooked uto is placed on a piece of katinga (hard flesh of the nut) and the two are eaten together, just as one would eat bread and butter.

22. Puraka mata. The puraka is eaten uncooked.

23. Puraka to. The puraka is scraped to remove the skin and cooked in an oven. It is eaten with uto, hard coconut, and fish. It is also dipped into roro. The puraka is grated on a coral slab to provide a number of dishes. When grating, the slab is placed on a kurei mat made of coconut leaflets so as to catch the grated material.

24. Papa puraka. The grated puraka is mixed with coconut cream (roro) and folded up in a puraka leaf. This is placed in the oven, with the end of the folded leaf below to prevent the parcel's unraveling. The cooked preparation is papa puraka.

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25. The raw grated puraka is kneaded (oi) with the hands in a wooden bowl, placed in a pite (container made of coconut leaflets), and cooked. Sometimes only the outer parts of the puraka are grated off, when the preparation is termed oro, and the middle inner part (tahi) is cooked separately in another pite container. (Pite ke to ti oro, pite ke to ti tahi). When cooked, both the oro and the tahi are put in a wooden bowl, coconut cream is poured over them, and the contents of the bowl are stirred up and mixed (karo) with a piece of coconut midrib or a wooden pounder. The heat brings out the oil in the cream and the preparation is exceedingly sweet. (Kua mea te hinu, kua none whakarere).

26. Poke. The raw grated puraka is kneaded with the hands in a bowl and then placed on a plaited coconut platter termed a papa. The material is placed near the midrib edge and the far edge of the papa is folded over and tied. When cooked, the puraka is again kneaded and stirred up in a bowl, as the under part is somewhat harder from its position on the heated stones. The cooked puraka is made up into balls (popo) about the size of oranges. Heated coconut cream (roro hehengi) is then spread over the balls. The preparation is termed poke.

27. Mahu. The raw puraka is pounded. A receptacle is formed by placing a close kurei in a coconut leaflet basket (kete). The puraka is placed within and the kurei folded (whatuwhatu) over it. The basket is closed (tia) with two-ply twisted sennit (whauhoto) and laid aside (ka tuku ki waerenga) until the puraka becomes soft (whakape) and emits an odor (haunga piropiro). When required, some is taken out, kneaded in a bowl, placed in a pite (container) and cooked. When cooked, it is served with coconut cream. The food is fermented in the same manner as breadfruit but is kept in a closed basket instead of a pit.

28. Whakarikoriko. The puraka is pounded raw, placed in a large coconut shell container (ipu) with coconut cream, and cooked.

29. Verovero. The puraka is cut into very thin slices. Commencing with the puraka, alternate layers of puraka and grated coconut (whakaehu) are used to fill a coconut container. A topmost layer must be of coconut to prevent the puraka from becoming too hard. When cooked, the slices of puraka are removed with the layer of grated coconut above it and both are eaten together.

30. Puraka whakapara. Puraka is cooked whole in the oven and while still hot is placed in baskets which are closed with ties (tia more). All is laid aside until the puraka is dark, when it is recooked after any mould that may have appeared has been washed off. When being eaten, the puraka is dipped in coconut cream. The preparation is sweet.

31. Turoro. Puraka is cut very thin (kotikoti rahirahi) and laid in a coconut shell container. Coconut cream is expressed over the sliced puraka. The oven stones are covered with the husk (kainga) of the ni mata. The vessels are placed upon the husk and the oven closed. When cooked, the preparation forms turoro.

32. Popo puraka. Cooked puraka is pounded and mixed with heated coconut cream in which the oil is brought out.

33. Turu puraka. Large-sized puraka called tahua are cooked, placed in a wooden bowl with the larger ends uppermost, and heated coconut cream is poured over them.

34. Reru. The puraka is cooked whole and pounded after the skin is peeled off (teretere). Heated coconut cream is mixed with it and the mixture rounded off (popo) into dumplings. The separate dumplings are placed on pieces of puraka leaf which are brought together at the top and tied. They are then cooked and served.

35. Puraka pana whakaehu. The pounded cooked puraka is mixed with grated green coconut (whakaehu).

36. Penu whara. The keys of the hala (Pandamis) fruit are pounded off the central core, and the inner soft ends are grated on a special instrument into a container. The penu whara is sweet-smelling as well as palatable.