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NZ Style Maori Boil Up – Pork Bones Soup

Easy as traditional Kiwi style Māori boil up recipe, with pork bones, dumplings and lashings of both root and leafy vegetables.
Create a hearty and warming meal that is healthy, easy to make and delicious to eat.

Dumplings, also known as “doughboys”, usually accompany the boil up to soak up the soupy goodness of what some do call pork bones soup.

What is a Boil Up?

A boil-up is a a one pot meal where starchy vegetables such as sweet potato, potatoes, greens such as puha, watercress or cabbage leaves, are boiled together with meaty pork bones.

It is a traditional way of cooking most commonly associated with the Maori people of New Zealand.
The end result is similar in texture to a thick soup or a thin stew.

Try this delicious and healthy one pot meal, you can whip up and let the stockpot do all the hard work!
You can make it the day ahead because it’s even better the second or third day re-heated.

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Boil Up Recipe

Here's my traditional boil up recipe using pork bones that will warm your soul and tantalise your taste buds.
Learn how to create this hearty and flavourful dish with inexpensive cuts of meat, starchy vegetables and leafy greens.
4.88 from 8 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine New Zealand
Servings 6 Serves
Calories 621 kcal


For the Boil Up

  • 1 kg meaty pork bones
  • 1 bacon hock
  • 4 medium-sized potatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 large kumara
  • ½ pumpkin
  • 4 cabbage leaves
  • 1 large bunch watercress
  • ½ tsp salt

For the Doughboys

  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup water


Prepare the Boil Up

  • Peel and dice potatoes, pumpkin and kumara into 2cm cubes.
  • Wash and roughly chop the watercress and cabbage.
  • Slice onion and place with pork bones and hock in a large stockpot.
  • Pour in just enough water to cover bones and hock, season with salt and then gently simmer for 1½ hours.
  • Skim off any fat from top and remove bones, scraping off any remaining meat off the bones back in to the pot.
  • Peel the hock, chop the meat then add it in.
  • Add all root vegetables vegies to pot and simmer a further 20 minutes.
  • Add all green vegetables vegies to pot and cover.

Make the Doughboys

  • Lightly season the flour with salt.
  • Gradually add water to form a dough.
  • Break off small bits of dough and form 2-3cm balls.

Finish It Off

  • Place doughboys on top of boil-up, cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Don't lift lid while cooking. Larger doughboys will take a bit longer.



When shopping, try to get the freshest and best quality produce and ingredients you can.
This pork bones soup is one of those dishes that seem to taste even better on the second or third cook.

Ingredient Substitutions

For the ingredients, they are easily found at your local fruit and vegie market and butcher.
If you are having a hard time finding particular ingredients, then here are some substitution ideas.
  • Kumara;
    Kumara is simply the Maori word for (Purple) sweet potato. You can replace with any root vegetable you like.
  • Pork bones;
    Pork chops or Pork ribs, such as spareribs are a good substitute for this recipe.
    You can substitute with most kinds of meaty bones including beef, lamb, mutton or goat.
  • Bacon hock;
    Smoky bacon or pork neck can be a substitute for bacon hock in this recipe.
  • Watercress;
    Substitutes for Watercress could be Puha, Bok Choy, Spinach, Silverbeet, Kale or Nasturtium Leaves.

What To Eat With Boil Up

Boil Up is a hearty and comforting New Zealand stew traditionally made with meat, vegetables, and dumplings simmered in a flavourful broth.
It's a versatile dish that can be enjoyed with a variety of side dishes.
Here are some delicious suggestions:
  • Plain Scones:
    Plain Scones are a neutral canvas
    Fluffy, buttery scones act as a blank canvas, soaking up the rich flavours of the boil up broth and vegetables without overpowering them.
    Think of them as delicious sponges for the savoury goodness. Here is my recipe for easy scones recipes.
  • Cheese Scones:
    A savoury Symphony. Cheese scones add a delightful cheesy counterpoint to the boil up's savoury broth.The richness of the cheese complements the meaty flavors, creating a symphony of savory goodness in your mouth.
    Try my recipe for Cheese scones.
  • Buttered breadsticks:
    Buttered breadsticks are a classic accompaniment to any stew, and they're no exception with boil up.The soft bread soaks up the delicious broth and is a great way to mop up any leftovers.
    Try my recipes for Breadsticks.
  • White rice:
    Serving over steamed rice is another good option for soaking up the broth and adding a bit of bulk to the meal.
  • Fruit skewers:
    While fruit skewers might not be the most traditional way to finish a boil up, they offer a surprisingly delightful ending for several reasons.The beauty of fruit skewers after a boil up lies in their contrast and delightful surprise.
    They offer a light, refreshing, and healthy way to finish a hearty meal, leaving you feeling satisfied and revitalised.
    So next time you whip up a pot of boil up, don't forget to make fruit skewers – they might just become your new favourite ending to the meal!
  • Salad:
    Salads and boil up might seem like an unlikely pairing at first glance, but hear me out!
    They can create a harmonious balance that makes for a truly satisfying meal.The beauty of the salad and boil up pairing lies in their contrasting yet complementary nature.
    One provides richness and warmth, the other offers lightness and refreshment.
    Together, they create a well-rounded, satisfying meal that's both delicious and nutritious.
    So go ahead, take your pick of for salad choices here and embrace the unlikely duo and discover a new dimension to your favourite New Zealand stew!
  • Mashed potatoes:
    Creamy mashed potatoes are a perfect starchy partner to the savoury broth and meat of the boil up.
    They can also act as a scoop for the delicious vegetables and dumplings.
  • Kumara mash:
    A slightly sweeter alternative to mashed potatoes, kumara mash adds a touch of sweetness and a beautiful orange colour to the dish.
Ultimately, the best side dish for your boil up is whatever you enjoy the most.
So get creative and experiment with different flavours and textures to find your perfect pairing!

For a healthier Maori Boil Up

This recipe is already healthy but you can always;
  1. Lower Sodium
    Eliminate salt from boil up ingredients.
  2. Add more vegetables such as sliced carrots.
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8 thoughts on “NZ Style Maori Boil Up – Pork Bones Soup

  1. 5 stars
    My Grandma used to make this. I haven’t had it for years. I didn’t no it was soo easy

  2. 5 stars
    This dish looks like a Chinese boiled soup dish to me, it’s amazing how different cultures have different adaptations to a similar dish! This looks delicious!

  3. 4 stars
    This is a great recipe. I’ve never dealt with bacon hock before so I was a bit unsure. Turned out lovely tho

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