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No. 50 (March 1965)
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Kua piki ake te tini o te paua,
Kua piri ki te niao o te waka.

These shellfish are found clinging to the underside of rocks, and under rock ledges in deep water. Insert a sharp knife between the paua and the rock and lever off quickly.

To Prepare for Cooking

Wash and scrape the surface of the paua. Remove from its shell with a sharp knife. Cut away the pewa or soft part of the paua (do not throw it away, as it is delicious made into soup, savoury fillings, or added to paua fritters). Press out the teeth, of which there are two, from the mouth. The paua is now ready to be used as desired.

Fried Paua

Prepare the desired number of paua. Prick the white or central underside of paua with a fork, or else hammer to soften (as for steak). Roll in flour, then fry quickly in hot fat. Drain on absorbent paper, and serve while hot.

Paua Fritters

6 medium-sized paua with pewa intact

1 cup flour

½ cup milk

½ teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 teaspoon baking powder

Squeeze teeth from paua but do not remove pewa, as this adds to the flavour of the fritters. Mince. Mix dry ingredients together; add beaten egg and milk to make a smooth batter. Add minced paua and pewa to batter and stir well. Fry spoonfuls in hot fat. Drain on absorbent paper. Serve hot, garnished with parsley or wedges of lemon.

Stewed Paua

6 large paua

1 large onion (sliced)

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups boiling water

2 tablespoons butter

½ teaspoon salt

Prepare paua, remove teeth and pewa. Dice paua. Fry onion in butter till cooked. Add diced paua, cover with two cups boiling water and simmer gently till cooked. Mix salt and flour with a little water to make a smooth paste and thicken.

Paua Tahu

These are paua preserved in fat.

Prepare desired number of paua, following instructions given above (see ‘to prepare for cooking’). Cover paua with cold water and bring to boil, turn down heat and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes or until paua are cooked. Remove paua from water and drain. Have ready a half-filled container of boiling, salt-free, pork fat. Drop drained paua into fat, one by one, so that each paua is completely covered by fat. Store in cool place when fat has set.

Points to Note


Do not add paua to boiling water as this makes them tough and stringy. Use cold water as stated above.


Draining is best done in a moderate oven, 350 deg. This is to ensure that the cooked paua is absolutely dry and free of moisture, an important factor in the keeping quality of the finished product. If any droplets of moisture adhere to the paua when it is dropped into the hot fat, these do not sink to the bottom of the container but form pockets between the paua and the fat. This causes tainting.


Do not pack paua into the container first, then cover with fat. This method does not completely cover each paua, and they will not keep.


Do not salt. This will also cause tainting (see number two above).

This is the first of a series of articles on Maori cooking which the Turanganui Branch of the Maori Women's Welfare League is contributing to Te Ao Hou.

The M.W.W.L. hopes in the future to publish a book on Maori cooking, and it is with this in mind that the Turanganui Branch has collected these recipes. It would be much appreciated if M.W.W.L. members with favourite recipes were to contribute them to the League's collection by sending them either to the Dominion Secretary, Maori Women's Welfare League, P.O. Box 5158, Wellington, or to the Secretary of the Turanganui Branch, at 5 Endeavour Street, Gisborne.

two noted maori musicians of some years back, the singer Deane Waretini and the pianist Molly Meihana, are together to make a long-playing record for H.M.V.