Modern Australian cuisine has every right to claim to be one of the most exotic and eclectic in the world. To date, it is an incredible variety of hearty, healthy, and also very tasty dishes that have “migrated” to the Green Continent from all over the world and have since coexisted quite peacefully there.
Australian cuisine was influenced by English, Chinese and Italian, combining Western and Eastern traditions, the very strange eating habits of the natives, as well as the nostalgia of emigrants for the dishes of their abandoned homeland.
Culinary traditions of Australia are closely connected with the history of this country. It was the features of the historical development of the Green Continent that played a decisive role in the formation of Australian cuisine.
The first inhabitants of Australia were Aboriginal people, about whose food preferences there is very little information. However, over time, immigrants from around the world began to come to Australia, who communicated with each other and exchanged recipes for their favorite dishes.
It was the end of the twentieth century, according to experts, that became the period of the maximum flowering of Australian cuisine. This period was marked by the appearance in different parts of the country of restaurants that specialized in traditional dishes of the Green Continent. At the same time, thanks to more than democratic prices and a wide range, these establishments quickly gained popularity among the population.
To date, experts have a twofold attitude towards the phenomenon of Australian cuisine. On the one hand, there is an opinion that it is on the basis of today's culinary traditions of Australia, which united "raisins" from different countries and continents, that the cuisine of the twenty-first century will develop.
At the same time, some experts generally deny the existence of such a phenomenon as "Australian cuisine". They motivate this by the fact that British, German, French, Chinese and Italian cuisines simply coexist in the country at the same time. They interact with each other, new dishes appear, which are still based on well-known recipes from a particular country. Thus, adherents of this theory insist, there is no separate “Australian cuisine” as such - there are “fantasies on the Australian theme” based on the national culinary traditions of other countries.
Analyzing the characteristic features of Australian cuisine, we should dwell on some of its most significant characteristics.
- Australia is very fond of meat. Moreover, this is not only the usual chicken meat, beef, veal, lamb, pork or ) turkey. On the Green Continent, the meat of opossums, kangaroos, crocodiles and emus is actively eaten.
- Australians love fruits and vegetables. Moreover, due to the favorable climate, a wide range of gifts of nature are grown on the Green Continent: from potatoes, tomatoes and cucumbers and ending with such exotic things as limes, avocado, papaya, quandong desert peach, Tasmanian pears and more.
- Due to the fact that Australia is located on the border of two oceans and is surrounded by several seas, seafood is present in the diet in abundance. Fish of all kinds, oysters, crabs, shrimp, lobsters, scallops and many more, not to mention about shark meat - quite a familiar food for Australians.
- Dairy products are also popular here. These are milk in its pure form (both cow and sheep), and various yoghurts, and cheeses.
- Australian Aboriginal cuisine is absolutely original and original, making an indelible impression on tourists. Many delicacies of the indigenous population of the Green Continent may seem simply inedible to Europeans.
- Almost every Australian state, as well as in some cities, has its own "signature" dishes. So, Sydney is considered the place where the most delicious oysters are served. Tasmania has the best salmon in Australia, and Prince of Wales Island makes the best cream.
As noted above, the assortment structure of the Australian diet boasts an incredible variety.
Among all types of meat, the most popular among Australians is beef, and fried. However, kangaroo meat has no less fans. Kanguryatin is marinated for a long time before use, because it is quite tough in itself. Meat is not only stewed, baked and fried, but also used as a filling for pies and dumplings. From the tail of a kangaroo, which is considered the most delicious part of the carcass, a real delicacy, a rich, very fragrant broth is prepared.
In addition, the diet of the inhabitants of the Green Continent includes ostrich and crocodile meat and less exotic chicken, turkey, and pork. One of the most common dishes on the Green Continent is Melbourne chicken. These are chicken breasts and hams fried in olive oil, and then stewed in white wine and tomato juice.
Barbecue is the most popular method of preparing meat dishes. Almost every Australian family has equipment for its preparation, and in places of mass recreation of people - for example, in parks and beaches - there are stationary gas appliances on which you can cook your favorite delicacy.
Australians eat a lot of seafood: different kinds of fish, lobsters, oysters, octopuses, crabs, lobsters and other inhabitants of the underwater world. One of the main fish delicacies and at the same time symbols of the country is the Australian barramundi perch. It is baked stuffed with vegetables and fragrant herbs, and served sprinkled with lemon juice.
The menu of some restaurants has even more exotic - sous vide barramundi, or "in a vacuum". The perch carcass is placed in a special sealed bag made of polyethylene. After that, water is heated, which, according to the recipe, is taken from the Pacific Ocean, from a depth of 900 meters. In this case, the water is not brought to a boil. The fish is immersed in water for about an hour. Gourmets say that such a strange way of cooking allows you to save absolutely all the beneficial properties and nutrients. In addition, the dish has a very delicate taste.
Vegetables and fruits
Vegetables are always served with meat and fish dishes. It is noteworthy that fried or stewed meat can be accompanied not only by the usual tomatoes, cucumbers or lettuce leaves, but also by fried bananas. Pineapple juice is often used as a marinade for both meat and fish.
At the same time, the favorable climate allows Australians to grow not only vegetables, fruits and crops familiar to Europeans, but also exotic ones, such as papaya, inyam, taro (edible taro), pineapples, figs, etc.
Tea in Australia is used both locally and imported, most often from New Zealand. Milk and sugar are added to it, as in Great Britain.
Some restaurants serve Billy Brew. It is cooked on an open fire. Tea leaves are poured into a metal container and boiled until the infusion becomes absolutely black and incredibly bitter. Before serving the drink, sugar and leaves of eucalyptus are added to it.
Also popular is chai latte: a very strong loose leaf black tea with milk, sugar and lots of Indian spices.
Desserts typical of Australian cuisine may seem extremely strange to many Europeans.
So, for example, “elven bread” is very popular among Australian children. This delicacy is served at all children's holidays on the Green Continent. In fact, according to the Australians, the elves eat ordinary bread, buttered and sprinkled with nonpareil - small and hard multi-colored sugar beads, which are used in Europe to decorate baked goods.
Also incredibly popular in Australia is the chocolate biscuit known as the lamington. It got its name in honor of Baron Lamington, who in the nineteenth century was the governor of Queensland. According to legend, the baron himself did not approve of the dessert, but today Australian housewives love to cook this delicacy. Its recipe is quite simple: the biscuit is covered with thick chocolate icing and sprinkled with coconut flakes. Sometimes two cakes are fastened together, using lemon jam instead of cream.
Frog cake is another popular delicacy in Australia. It owes its name to its shape - pastries really resemble a frog's head. A frog cupcake is a cream cake topped with colored fondant. The first such desserts were green, but today they are prepared in a variety of shades.
The most popular cake in Australia is Pavlova. It got its name in honor of the great Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, who in the twenties of the last century came on tour to Australia and New Zealand. Pavlova is prepared from meringue, whipped cream and fresh berries - most often strawberries and passion fruit.
Australian Aboriginal cuisine, also known as "bush food", has preserved recipes that have remained unchanged for many centuries. This is a damper - a special bread that is fried on coals, kanguryatin in all forms.
Grilled witchetti larvae, an insect known to entomologists as the gypsy moth, are considered a special delicacy. Gourmets claim that this strange dish tastes like scrambled eggs with nuts and mozzarella. In addition, Aboriginal cuisine uses wild potatoes and burravon peanuts, as well as crocodile tails and stingray meat.
Useful properties and contraindications
An interesting fact: despite its eclecticism, Australian cuisine is considered one of the healthiest in the world. No wonder the Green Continent was included in the top 10 healthiest countries according to The Global Burden of Diseases project, ranking sixth in terms of life expectancy and quality of life for men and ninth in terms of similar criteria for women.
Note that one of the healthiest ingredients in the Australian diet is kangaroo meat. Firstly, it is considered an environmentally friendly product, since animals are not exposed to any chemical attack. In addition, the mass fraction of fat in it is only 2%, while in beef this figure reaches twenty percent. Also, kenguryatin boasts a complete absence of “harmful” cholesterol and a high content of very healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids.
At the same time, most Australian dishes have no contraindications. Nevertheless, nutritionists recommend that tourists, at least at the initial stages of their stay on the Green Continent, not get too carried away with local exotics - manifestations of individual intolerance are likely.
Cooking Australian Meat Pie
To prepare a traditional Australian pastry, you will need the following ingredients: 1 kg of ground beef, 800 g of puff pastry, three tablespoons of wheat flour, onion, 100 ml beef broth, 50 g ketchup, two teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce, half a teaspoon of oregano, a pinch of nutmeg and ground black pepper.
Chop the onion and fry it with the ground beef until the rings turn golden. Pour in the broth, add ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and spices and fry the mixture for a quarter of an hour.
Mix the flour with 25 ml of water and pour it into the meat mixture.
Grease a baking dish with oil and place puff pastry in it. Lubricate it with an egg and pour the meat mixture into the mold. Send to the oven preheated to 220 degrees for a quarter of an hour, then lower the temperature to 180 degrees and bake for another half hour. The Australian meat pie is served hot.
Cooking Australian pumpkin soup
To make pumpkin soup, incredibly popular among Australians, you will need: a kilogram of pumpkin, peeled, without seeds, cut into large pieces; a tablespoon of freshly chopped rosemary; two tablespoons of olive oil; small potato; large onion, cut into rings; two minced cloves of garlic, a teaspoon of paprika, one crushed hot red pepper, three cubes of chicken stock, a liter of water. Salt and pepper add to taste.
Preheat oven to 220°C. Cut potatoes and pumpkin into cubes with a side of three centimeters.
Place pumpkin, potatoes, rosemary in a large skillet and add 20 ml of oil. Bake in the oven for half an hour.
Heat 20 ml of oil in a large saucepan. Add chili, paprika, garlic and chopped onion to it. Cook for ten minutes. The onion should become soft.
Add fried pumpkin, potatoes, water and stock cubes to the onion mixture. Bring to a boil and then simmer for ten minutes. Don't forget to stir from time to time. When the mass has cooled, send the mixture to a blender to turn it into a puree soup. After that, pour it into a saucepan and heat over low heat, adding salt and pepper.
Serve pumpkin soup in a deep bowl, with sour cream and a little chopped parsley.