The Paua Palace

My royal blog, life, opinions and me, it’s all about ME.. Right?

Seafood Kiwi Style- Kai Moana

Posted by pauaprincess on March 15, 2007

My friend Bee asked me to write a little something for her Cricket World Cup series of Countries.  Seeing as there is a lot about food on her blog, I thought I would write a little something on seafood or kai moana as it’s called here.  Kai means food, Moana means sea.

So, my very favorite memories growing up are of Pipi’sspec_pipis_narrowweb__300×4500.jpg steaming open on the bbq.  The smell of them cooking brings back golden summers at the beach with a single whiff.   It’s a great Kiwi tradition to go to the beach for the day, you catch your Pipi’s on the turn of the tide and have a bbq or campfire in the evening watching the sun set.

What is a Pipi? A Pipi (pronounced Pippy) is a shell fish found commonly on New Zealand’s sandy beaches.  Compared to the likes of Oysters, Mussels and Paua, the Pipi is fairly humble and simple.  However it’s bite sized, sweet and when cooked right, tender.

Catching Pipi’ is the fun part.  On the turn of the tide, that is when the tide is about to go out, go down to the beach with a bucket, this is when the Pipi’s are closest to the surface.  Half fill your bucket with water to keep the Pipi fresh.  Now the best part, wade about knee deep into the water, feel in the sand with your toes and fingers, you’ll feel the hard shells of the pipi’s about 5 inches down, then you pull them from the sand and toss them into the bucket, be quick though, they have a strong tongue which they use to dig themselves down and they can vanish from your grasp within seconds.  Watch out for crabs too, the shells feel remarkably similar and you might get nipped, nobody ever said hunting Pipi’s wasn’t without it’s dangers.

Now you have your Pipi’s, lug them back to the shore, if you are going to transport them home a wet sack is in order, otherwise if you are camping or planning to eat at the beach, keep them in the water filled bucket in the shade, your Pipi’s are alive at this point.  Let them settle and hopefully spit out some of their sand.  Now people differ on this point so it’s up to the individual, you can either fill your bucket with fresh water and drown them or let them live until you cook them.  I think drowning is a more pleasant way to go, so I generally do the fresh water thing, it helps get rid of more sand too.

Ready to cook? Again there are schools of thought.  Some people like to put a little water in the pot, chuck in the Pipi’s and boil, not too long though or they go tough.  You are steaming on open the Pipi’s and as they open, you pull them out and let them cool.  Eaten straight from the shell, salty and sweet they are delicious.  Left overs can be put into a bowl with vinegar and pickled, they are delicious in salads or on fresh crusty bread with real butter.  The other way to cook them is to throw them on the bbq grill, pull them off the minute the shells pop open and using a cool shell, scoop them out.  This is the best way of all to eat them in my humble opinion, unadorned and simple.

Of course there are other ways with Pipi’s as with any other shellfish, they are great with chilli sauce, steamed with a little wine, in a creamy garlic sauce, make a nice chowder or soup and go great with other seafood,  but my favorite is still on the side of the bbq 🙂

Pipi’s should never be refrigerated, they will die and never cook a Pipi that is already open, it’s dead and will make you sick.


8 Responses to “Seafood Kiwi Style- Kai Moana”

  1. Hi! Great RECIPES, congratulations for the blog too…

    Many many greetings from the 1st italian barbecue fans community and good luck to all BBQ lovers!

    carne al fuoco – tutto per il barbecue ricette grigliate consigli

  2. Many thanks I will visit 🙂

  3. […] post was written for and first published here. All pictures by Paua […]

  4. Rao vặt nhà đất…

    […]Seafood Kiwi Style- Kai Moana « The Paua Palace[…]…

  5. mark said

    can you refrigerate pips after cooking them though?

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