Get healthy in 2015 with recipes considered to be power food by different ethnic New Zealand communitiesJapanese studies have shown that the shellfish is more than an aphrodisiac
Even before the arrival of Pakeha and other migrants, Maori had their own superfood - and they came straight from the sea, says Stuart Te Tamaki.
"Shellfish has always been part of our Maori diet, paua [abalone], pipi, tuatua and mussels, but for many oysters is a favourite," said Mr Te Tamaki, manager at Clevedon Coast Oysters.
"Our ancestors also probably knew shellfish were good for health, but we didn't have any scientific studies to back that up then."
Seafood and shellfish has been a major component of the Maori diet since pre-European times, he said.
New Zealand had two types of oysters - dredge oysters and rock oysters - that had been harvested locally since the 1800s.
The Pacific oysters, like the ones harvested at Clevedon, were believed to have been introduced into New Zealand waters from a Japanese source in the 1950s.
Oysters are a source of health-promoting minerals, including iodine and essential amino acids, according to the Clevedon Coast Oysters website. It said research had shown that its serum had cholesterol-lowering ability and that Japanese studies also found consuming oysters had "considerable positive effects on heart disease".
"Oysters have long been thought to be an aphrodisiac, but we now know there's a lot more benefits to eating them," said Mr Te Tamaki.
He says the best way to eat oysters is raw, when they are fresh, or with a coriander dressing (see recipe, below).
Oysters with coriander dressing
• 36 oysters on the half shell, well-chilled
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
• 1 tablespoon finely snipped chives
• 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
• juice of 1 large lime or lemon
• half teaspoon sugar
• quarter cup oil
• freshly ground black pepper
1. Make the sauce by combining all the ingredients, adding the oil last.
2. Season well with plenty of pepper.
3. Arrange the oysters on a serving platter, drizzle each one with a little coriander dressing and serve.
• Clevedon Coast Oysters is at 914 Kawakawa Bay Rd, RD5, Papakura. Ph: (09) 292-8017.
• Monday: Kitfo (Ethiopian)
• Tuesday: Haejangguk (S Korea)
• Wednesday: Bheja fry (India)
• Thursday: Herbal duck (China)
• Friday: Rainbow stir fry (Thailand)
• Today: Oysters with coriander dressing (NZ fusion)