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Maori Language Week Cook Off recipes - Round 1: Aotearoa kai

Crumbed eel with poached piko piko and bacon
Brendon and Politicians

This recipe fuses the bold flavours of bacon and eel with succulent flavours of the piko piko, the bush asparagus. The native fern frond is a delightful counterpoint to the eel and pork. Wild food at its best!

One pre-nailed eel

6 Piko Piko fronds
2 rashers of bacon, chopped 
One onion
Horopito or pepper to season


Preparing a freshly caught eel can be a daunting prospect to the uninitiated, but with care can be successfully accomplished. Take your pre-nailed eel and with a sharp knife, score a cut right around the base of the head of the eel and peel back about a 1cm flap of skin.
Using long-nosed pliers, grip the flap and pull the skin away from the body. It should come off like a sock. If splits occur, lift the skin with the knife and re-grip with the pliers and continue.
Remove the head.
Cut into fillets about 2.5cm thick and about 8cm in length.
Coat fillets in flour seasoned with horopito, then dip in egg and finally coat in breadcrumbs.
Fry in hot oil until tender - about 2-3 minutes each side.

Wash the piko piko fronds and remove prickles. Poach them in salted boiling water for about 30 seconds.
At the same time, sautee chopped bacon and onions, and toss together with the piko piko fronds. Season generously with horopito or pepper and salt.

Drain eel and serve with lemon and plate with the bacon and onions and piko piko.

Kina Fritters with tasty Watercress salad and mustard dressing
Sarah and Sports Stars

Kina is an acquired taste from the salty deep, but for those that love it there's nothing better. Today it's strong flavour and strange texture is matched by the tangy mustard dressing and salad. A real Kiwi dish this one!

Kina Fritters
1 cup of Kina roe
100g flour
1 egg
1/2 cup water
1 tsp baking powder
Salt and pepper

Mustard dressing
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
2 tablespoons of prepared mustard (Dijon style)
1 clove of garlic, crushed (optional)

Bunch of watercress
Pine nuts
Macadamia nuts
Diced paw paw
Diced rock melon

Kina Fritters
Take the kina and insert two spoons back to back into the eye of the urchin.
Squeeze them outwards to open the kina, and scoop out the roe using spoon. By this method, obtain one cup of roe.
Discard the shells and set roe aside.
Mix dry ingredients and add beaten egg and water to make batter.
Add roe last and mix gently. Heat pan, add butter and melt.
Drop in tablespoonfuls of batter into pan and fry on each side until golden.

Mustard Dressing
Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tightly fitting lid. Shake until well blended and use.

Watercress salad
Prepare, wash and chop all ingredients, the nuts may be fried if desired. Toss together and serve with mustard dressing and the kina fritters.

Creamed Paua & Risotto
Hadyn and Sports Stars

This delicious classic paua dish is a real treat and is served on a luscious comforting risotto.

Creamed paua
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper
1 large onion, sliced thinly
500g paua, minced /finely sliced
1/2 cup cream

1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/8 cup olive oil
2 cups cooked Arborio rice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup fish stock
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Flat leaf parsley to garnish the final dish

Creamed Paua
Shuck paua from shell using spoon or thumb. This is best achieved by placing the thumb in the open end of the paua and feeling for the hinge. "Cut" the hinge with thumb. Alternatively a spoon can be used.
Cutting the hinge will release the flesh. Remove the flesh and discard the puku (stomach).
Find the tooth which is located at the hinge and squeeze out tooth with thumb.
To soften the flesh, wrap the paua in a tea towel and place it on bench on a firm board. Take a heavy mallet and bash the wrapped paua.
Cut paua finely, then melt butter and gently sautee onions. Add paua and sauté over low heat.  Add flour and seasoning and cook for 1 minute. Slowly add the milk and bring to the boil, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens.
Add the cream, bring to boiling point and set aside.

In a pan, cook onion in oil over medium heat until tender. Season with salt and pepper
Add the cooked rice and stir to coat well; Add wine and fish stock and cook until absorbed. Rice should be slightly firm in centre and look creamy.
The amount of liquid to add will be a judgement call in order to achieve a classic risotto texture. Remember you've only got a few minutes for absorption.
Remove from the heat; stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately, spooning the creamed paua on top. Garnish with the parsley.