Ka hua ki tai, Ka ora ki uta – A bountiful sea will sustain us

coverPaua, with their spectacular shells, feature strongly in many areas of life in Aotearoa New Zealand; from artworks and souvenirs right through to the kitchen where we find the inside of the paua is just as good too!

The secret to good paua eating is all in the preparation. Once you have collected your correctly-sized quota from your special spot, scoop them from their shells and beat them with a stone or hammer (or anything else hard that you can get your hands on) until they are slightly misshapen. It is a messy job so on the sea-shore is one highly recommended place to do it so you can rinse off straight away. However, you may wish to save them for later, in which case keep them wet at a steady temperature of 5 to 7°C.

Once you are back in cooking territory (kitchen, BBQ, fire-pit…) marinate the paua for at least an hour in some oil, garlic and a bit of soy sauce. Heat the cooking surface to a high temperature, cook the paua very fast (about a minute) until it is just cooked through, add lemon and chopped coriander and serve immediately. This is the most tender and mouth-wateringly delicious way to eat paua.

You may have your own special paua tips to share – comment below if you do.

  • If you want to know more about Maori food, check out these recipes.
  • There are also several books on Maori cooking at the library.
  • Lastly, check out the beautifully illustrated children’s storybook Tangaroa’s gift – Te koha a Tangaroa – the story of how the paua got its beautiful shell.