“Food is our common ground, a universal experience” – James Beard, American cook
Regardless of what language you speak or where you call home, food is something that is appreciated (and needed!) by all.
With refugees arriving in Australia from all corners the world, each one is bound to bring with them the familiar recipes and traditions that have been loved and passed on through generations.
Read on for delicious recipes for you to enjoy that originate from the top four countries that migrants in Australia have arrived from.
A popular festive dish, full of ingredients that hails from IRAQ
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 70 minutes
- 1 chicken, cut into 4 pieces
- 8 cups of water
- 3 cups basmati rice
- 2 medium size potatoes, cubed and deep fried
- 2 carrots, cubed
- 1 cup peas
- 1 peeled medium onion
- 1 cup vermicelli
- 2 bay leaves, one lumi (black lime), 4 pods of cardamom
- 1 teaspoon, grounded, of each: cinnamon, turmeric, clove, black pepper, cardamom, cumin, cubeb
- 5 tablespoons oil
- 1/4 cup of raisins
- 1/3 cup of halved almonds, fried
- Salt to taste
- In a deep pan, sauté the onion and chicken in 2 tbsp. of oil. Add the bay leaves, cardamom, lumi and salt, and then braise with 7 cups of water for 25 minutes. Add the carrots and peas and allow to cook for another 10 minutes.
- In a separate pan, stir fry the vermicelli in 3 tbsp. of oil. When it turns golden brown, pour in 1 cup of water, bring it to a boil, and then let it simmer over low heat until all the water is gone and the vermicelli is soft.
- when the chicken and vegetables finish cooking, remove the chicken and place it aside. Strain the vegetables from the broth.
- Add the rice to the broth and cook over high heat until the rice absorbs most of the broth. Lower the heat and allow it to simmer until well done.
- Add the strained vegetables (peas and carrots), potatoes and raisins to the vermicelli and then season with the ground spices. Mix well and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Fry the chicken on all sides to give it crispiness and a nice golden brown colour.
- Pour the rice into the serving platter. Put the vermicelli mixture and chicken on top. Garnish with almonds.
*Recipe courtesy of Recipes of Arabia
Koosa Mahshi (Stuffed Zucchini)
A delicious dish from SYRIA which features zucchini stuffed with lamb, rice and mint – the perfect addition to your table!
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
- 10 small Lebanese zucchinis, approx. 10cm long
- 2 heaped tablespoons of tomato paste
- Natural yoghurt, to serve
- 1 cup long-grain rice, washed
- 250g lean minced beef
- 1 medium tomato, finely diced
- 1/2 onion, finely diced
- 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/3 cup chopped mint
- 1/3 cup chopped coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon baharat or allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 20g butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Thoroughly combine the stuffing ingredients.
- Cut off the zucchini stalks, then slice off the dried tips at the opposite ends without removing too much flesh. Carefully hollow out the zucchini from the stalk end by pushing and turning a manakra into the flesh. The tool will remove thin fingers of flesh at a time; keep hollowing until you have a generous cavity.
- Fill a bowl with water and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Wash the zucchini in the salted water (this helps to keep them firm when cooking), then drain.
- Fill each zucchini with the stuffing, leaving 1cm free at the top to allow the filling to expand. It is easiest to fill the zucchini by hand, tapping them on the bench every now and then to settle the stuffing down. (If you have any leftover stuffing, shape it into meatballs).
- Fill a large saucepan with water and add 2 tbsp. salt and the tomato paste. Add the stuffed zucchini and meatballs and bring to the boil. Simmer over low heat for about 1 hour, allowing the sauce to reduce.
- Serve the stuffed zucchini with a little of the sauce and a dollop of yoghurt.
*Recipe courtesy of SBS Australia
Lahpet Thoke (Tea Leaf Salad)
In MYANMAR, tea leaves aren’t just for drinking, they are also used in many amazing dishes, including this incredibly flavoursome salad.
INGREDIENTS (for the ‘Fermented’ Tea Leaves)
- 1/2 cup loose leaf green tea
- 3 gloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons finely diced ginger
- 1/2 shallot
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
INGREDIENTS (for the salad)
- 2 handfuls sliced romaine lettuce
- 1/2 cup toasted peanuts
- 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup toasted toor dal (split pigeon peas), or other lentils of your choice
- 4 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
- Vegetable oil, for frying garlic
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
INSTRUCTIONS (for the dressing)
- Prep your tea leaves at least 1 days in advance. Pour loose leaves into a medium bowl. Pour boiling water over the leaves and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Strain and rinse with cool water. Pick through the unfurled leaves and discard any obvious twigs or woody stems.
- Return to bowl and cover with cold water. Let sit for at least 1 hour. Drain again and rinse.
- Squeeze out the tea leaves to get rid of excess water. Place leaves into your food processor or blender.
- Add garlic, ginger, shallot, sesame oil, vegetable oil, lemon juice, vinegar, fish sauce, and salt.
- Process until mixture is similar to the texture of pesto. You may need to scrape down the sides of your processor a few times.
- Pour mixture into a storage container and place in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours- dressing is best after 2-3 days of refrigeration.
INSTRUCTIONS (for the salad)
- To prepare the salad, start by frying the garlic. Pour about ¾ cup vegetable oil in a cast iron or 10-inch frying pan. Place sliced garlic into the cold oil. Turn heat to medium low, and fry until garlic turns a light brown toasty colour. Remove with a slotted spoon or spatula to a paper towel to drain.
- To assemble- mound your lettuce on a serving plate. Pour your crunchy toppings and fried garlic around the lettuce.
- Place 3 tablespoons of the tea leaves in the centre of the salad.
- Just prior to serving, squeeze 1 lemon wedge over the entire salad and toss all the ingredients together; mix well to coat with the tea leaves.
- Serve immediately with extra lemon.
*Recipe courtesy of The Gourmet Gourmand
A simple dessert from AFGHANISTAN that your guests will definitely want the recipe for!
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
- 440g sugar
- 500ml water
- 440g full cream milk powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
- 1 tablespoon rosewater
- 100g walnuts, chopped
- 1 tablespoon pistachios, ground
- Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan and place over low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
- Increase the head to medium and boil without stirring for 12-15 minutes or until thickened but not coloured. It is ready when you drizzle a little down the side of a bowl and it almost holds without running.
- Meanwhile, combine the milk powder, cardamom, rosewater and walnuts in a large bowl. Pour over the hot syrup and quickly mix together until well combined. Pour into a shallow dish and sprinkle the top with the ground pistachios.
- Set aside for 1 hour to cool and set before cutting into diamonds or squares.
*Recipe courtesy of Carla Grossetti
Written by Ariana Maric