Clones' Hangi, Geonosis
A Social Event Before the Clone War
Those of you who realize Jango Fett was played by New Zealander Temuera Morrison would have come to see that the clone army is staffed by Kiwis! Hopefully, not shades of Gallipoli ...
The multitude of clone troopers battled admirably on Geonosis, all but destroying the assembled 'droid army under the control of Darth Tyrannis, ironically the man who drafted Jango Fett, the template for the clones. At the end of battle, they were all hungry! How to feed so many?
The answer: a hangi -- a pit-cooked meal, very much like a luau. The word "hangi" refers to the food, the pit and the social event surrounding the cooking and preparations. What did they use? The reek and akla, the beasts used for the executions of Obiwan, Anakin and Padmé. It was an enormous amount of meat, and slow pit-cooking would make it tender. In addition, the Geonosians had starved the animals, so they would be keen to kill, thus the animals had been adequately purged for cooking.
The clones made quick work of digging the pit in the sands of the desert planet. There were no trees to make a fire, but they made use of the white-hot ingots from the underground 'droid foundry -- instant heat! -- lining the pit with the ingots themselves. The animals were trussed, baskets of vegetables were lowered in, then the whole covered over with sand and tarps, to keep the resulting steam within the pit to ensure tender food.
While waiting, they made a variety of snacks and drinks, according to what they had been taught on Kamino. A hangi is a social event, and the clones broke out guitars and sang songs, making them up as the night grew merrier. They danced and sang, inviting the Jedi to join them. By the time the reek and akla were deemed fully cooked, everyone was cheerful and hungry. What a way to start a war!
This is more a general description of a hangi, rather than anything specific. It depends on what meats, vegetables, tubers are available, as well as what materials you may be able to find to conduct heat. Some sedimentary rocks -- like mudstones, shales, and sandstones -- can explode on heating. Maori's test the rock by hitting them with a hammer. Only those with a good, ringing, deep tone are selected. Apparently, "hangi rocks" are so rare in some areas, that a set of good stones could be given as a wedding present! You can also use, as the clones did, metal ingots, or bricks. If you use ingots, try not to let it touch the food, or it might taste metallic.
The wood used should be a hardwood, and nothing painted or treated, and avoid oil-rich woods like pine. The food will end up tasting like old paint and turpentine, and some of the chemically treated wood is poisonous to humans. The wood needs to burn down to ash, heating the stones around it, like a brick oven.
Meat animals should be butchered into serving size pieces, to reduce cooking time in the hangi. Some more delicate vittles, like birds or fish, can be wrapped in foil. Stuffing, steamed puddings, etc. can also be foil wrapped, though its traditional to use a water-soaked muslin cloth and cover it with that.
Baskets made by weaving flax are traditionally used to hold the food on the stones. This makes lifting the food out much, much easier. Wire baskets made of unadorned chicken wire are popular. Food items typically include: mutton, pork, poultry, deer, fish, shellfish, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, taro (the Polynesian root used to make poi in Hawaii), and stuffing (baked in a bowl).
The dimensions of your pit should be about 18 inches deep by 36 inches across (a circular shape is fine). Be sure not to dispose of the dirt that came out of the hole. Line the pit with stones or bricks or ingots (also called pig iron). Build a pyre-style of fire over the stones and let burn for at least an hour. They are ready when the embers are a glowing red hot and the pyre has collapsed. Test by flicking some water into the fire. If the water jumps around as globules, the fire is hot enough. If steam rises, let it heat some more.
Layer bracken fern, seaweed and wetted burlap sacks over the stones. Line the food baskets with cabbage leaves, then put in the food. Cover the baskets completely with wet sacking. Lower onto the steaming bracken and sacks, the cover with more bracken, wet sacks, seaweed, etc. If you have extra stones heating, roll them on top of the hangi to provide heat from the top. Cover with the reserved earth you'd set aside.
Small hangis for 12 to 20 people take two or three hours to cook. If your meat was left as a large single roast or joint, it can double the cooking time. Scrape off the dirt, again, reserving it to refill the hole when you are done, remove the sacking, etc. and lift out the baskets. Cut them open at the table in front of the guests! Food should be served quickly.
Note that there will always be an indent where the hole had been dug -- the dirt you return to the hole will have less air in it than when you first dug it up. For this reason, don't dig a hangi pit in your lawn unless you plan to re-landscape anyway!
Hu-Hu Grub Logs
There is a larvae called a huhu grub found in rotting wood. You cook it by heating up a metal plate and rolling the still-live puffy white grubs across the surface back and forth till it toasts and browns. You eat it by holding it by the head and biting off the body; toss away the head and chew. Tastes very much like peanut butter! Here's our version.
In America, we called these "deviled eggs" -- deviling, of course, refers to the sharp mustard flavor in any concoction. There are deviled egg recipes in the Appetizer section of Hut Cuisine. These are a New Zealand version, where they use softened butter rather than mayonnaise, and no mustard, so technically NOT deviled eggs! As the Kiwi clones might say, give it a go!
Cut the eggs in half length-wise and pop the yolks into a bowl. Mix with softened butter and "enough" milk to make a smooth paste. Add more milk if you would like a softer or runnier filling. Stuff the yolk back into the whites and garnish before serving.
Season with salt and pepper if you feel it's required; many of the garnishes are salty, to be careful not to over-salt.
These are popular everywhere -- essentially tiny cocktail sausages, presented with a ketchup-like dipping sauce. Many women in New Zealand still make their own "to-mah-to sauce" or plum sauce, and its thinner and less spicy than American ketchup. The sausages are likewise less spicy, with a high wheat content, making them very soft. The other half of the recipe typically consists of pork and chicken; the smoky flavor is added as a liquid flavoring. They come in an alarmingly colored red/orange casing.
Serve piled on a platter or in a bowl, with toothpicks and napkins. Put the dipping sauce(s) nearby.
You must used canned asparagus, well-drained, in this dish! It seems like nothing, but people love these attractive appetizer sandwiches.
Chicken Liver Pâté
Interestingly, most Kiwis have a strong aversion to liver in any form -- except for a smooth, rich pâté. This is a popular version, but remember that it will not freeze well. Chill in the refrigerator, but if it becomes cold enough to go rock solid, it loses all flavor. Serve on crackers, with cut vegetables or toast.
Serve with melba toast, crackers, vegetables sticks, corn chips, etc. Makes about 4 cups.
Fruit Salad & Ice Cream
In a land as fertile as New Zealand, almost any fruit will grow. Many simply eat this salad as their whole dinner on hot summer nights. This isn't a formula or a recipe, more a description, or a few ideas. Use whatever combination of fruits are seasonal, good, cheap and on-hand.
Some examples: banana, cantaloupe, grapes, apples; cherries, strawberries, watermelon; figs, apples, passionfruit, oranges. You get the idea!
Cut the fruits into similar sized pieces; in the case of fruits like cherries, you might opt to leave them whole. Feel free to use a combination of fresh, canned, and dried fruit. Sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent the fruit from browning. Cover and refrigerate till ready to serve.
Serve with ice cream. Some people like to soften the ice cream to use as a cold sauce over fruit salad.
Said to be named for the ethereal ballerina Anna Pavlova, this meringue is very sweet and slightly chewy or marshmallowy, rather than dry and overly hard. It's the national dessert of New Zealand, making it the ancestral dessert of clones everywhere.
Place foil or cooking parchment on a cookie sheet. Using a cake pan, pie plate or medium sized plate as a guide, indicate a circle about 8 inches wide. Spread the egg whites to within an inch of the edge of the circle. Smooth the top surface, and indent it a little in the center. Place the pavlova in the oven and immediately turn the oven down to 200°F (100°C). DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR.
Bake for an hour, then turn off the oven completely. Open the oven door a bit and let the pavlova sit in the oven till completely cold. Carefully life the pavlova onto a serving place. "Frost" with whipped cream and garnish with fresh fruit. Traditional in New Zealand are strawberries, kiwifruit, and passionfruit pulp. To serve, cut with a serrated knife, dipping in hot water between cuts.
Peach Raspberry Trifle
The clones traveled with some foodstuffs, of course. Their mess supplies included canned peaches and raspberry jelly, as well as custard powder (the GFFA is veddy veddy British, apparently!). Since Geonosis is so dry, any cakes made would dry out and go stale immediately as it was cooling. So a trifle is the perfect thing on a dry world!
Make the custard: Mix together the milk and the custard powder or cornstarch. Use a whisk to ensure no lumps, if necessary. Whisk in the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Cook over a double boiler (in a hot water bath) with constant stirring till thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Allow to cool a bit, then pour over the peaches and cake in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly.
Serve covered with whipped cream and garnish with toasted slivered or sliced almonds, if you wish.
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