Traditional Food – Kookii (Shark Liver Sausage)
by Davis Apiti

Kookii (pronounced “core-key”) is made from the liver and stomach lining of a shark and was a part of our ancestors’ traditional diet since kai moana (seafood) was in abundance. Preparing Kookii was another form of preserving food as it could hang for three days to as long a six months . It had to be cooked before eating and a favourite method was cooking it in a hangi (pit oven).

Kookii is still made today but with less frequency, as kai moana is not so plentiful anymore. These days popular methods of cooking the Kookii include frying and baking.

The following steps describe how we were instructed by our kaumatua (elders) to prepare Kookii:
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Take one mango (shark)
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Cut down in front of the fin down towards the stomach and along the belly to expose the entrails (guts).

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Pull out and separate the liver and the stomach lining. Clean out and rinse the stomach lining thoroughly.
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Look carefully for a green pouch in the liver and remove it. It this is not removed the Kookii will be very bitter.
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Open the stomach lining and push in the liver until the stomach lining is full.

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Tie off with dried flax. Dried flax is preferable since the taste will be affected if fresh flax is used.
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Make sure that flax is fastened securely so that pouch will not fall when it is hung.

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Fasten to a tree, or suitable place, facing towards the sun, which will help dry the Kookii. Can be usually can be eaten with in three days or left to dry for six months.
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Kookii hanging on a tree