Saturday 11 February 2023

Maori Fry Bread (Paraoa Parai)

Today I'm sharing my recipe for this traditional Maori fry bread, also known as "rewena bread". This is a traditional bread recipe that originates from my ancestors, the native Maori people of Aotearoa (New Zealand). It's a simple bread that has been a staple in Maori cuisine for generations. In addition to its cultural significance, this bread is also a popular street food and is often sold at fairs / festivals / markets in NZ.

These mini bread pieces are crispy on the outside and soft inside. They are delicious on their own of with savory or sweet toppings such as butter, jam, honey or cheese. They can also be used as a base for sandwiches and burgers or as a side to any stew or soup.

My recipe makes around 20-25 pieces 


  • 3/4 cup of boiling Water
  • 1 cup chilled Milk (ideally dairy milk but can be substituted) 
  • 1 tbsp dried active yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp oil (ideally vegetable oil but can be substituted for other frying oils) 
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 4-4 ½ cups of flour (ideally white flour but can use gluten free)
  • More oil for frying


  1. Combine the boiling water and chilled milk in a large bowl. 
  2. Test temperature with finger to make sure it's not too hot (will kill yeast), or too cold (yeast won't activate).
  3. If okay, add sugar, oil, and yeast, and stir.  Set aside somewhere warm for around 20 minutes until the mixture bubbles.
  4. Once bubbled, add 4 cups of flour and the salt and fold together gently, being careful not to overmix. Add more flour if it's still too sticky.
  5. Gently knead together for 15 seconds into a ball, then leave in bowl, covered with a tea towel.  Leave to proof somewhere warm for around 1 hour until the ball doubles in size.
  6. Remove the risen dough ball from the bowl onto a lightly floured bench (see photo below). 
  7. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle, around 2cm thick before cutting into roughly 6cmx6cm squares. This should make around 24 pieces.
  8. Spread the small pieces out onto a floured surface and cover them with a tea towel and leave to proof for another 15 minutes.
  9. In the meantime, fill a medium size pot with oil to around 20cm height and 170°C. To check the oil is hot, place the end of a wooden spoon in the oil, if the oil bubbles then it is hot enough.  Make sure the oil isn't too hot however, as the inside of the bread pieces won't cook.
  10. Cook the pieces in batches.  Once a batch is cooked, drain them on a paper towel and let them rest for 5 minutes before serving.


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