LET’S GO NATIVE AND WILD: DELICIOUS BUSH TUCKER MEALS
If you haven’t tried bush tucker meals, it’s time to upgrade your craving palette. From a unique meat selection of kangaroo, lizard, possum, among others and seafood and edible plants, enjoy delectable meals using native ingredients. To get you started, here are three delicious bush tucker meals for your next outdoor adventure.
SALTBUSH AND MOUNTAIN PEPPER SQUID
This meal is a spin on the classic Chinese salt and pepper squid. Instead of the usual ingredients, this dish uses native Australian ingredients such as dried saltbush flakes and dried lemon myrtle.
• 4 squid or calamari hoods
• 1 tsp dried lemon myrtle
• 1 cup tempura flour
• 20ml macadamia oil
• 50gm butter
• 1½ tsp dried saltbush flakes
• 1½ tsp ground mountain pepper
• 1 tsp Tanami fire seasoning
• 100gm mixed lettuce leaves, chopped
• 2 tomatoes, deseeded, chopped
• 1 telegraph cucumber, deseeded, chopped
• lemon wedges, to serve
• Remove the backbone and skin of the squid or calamari hood. Cut the hoods into squares or triangles.
• Mix the lemon myrtle and flour in a bowl to create a mixture, then roll the squid pieces through it.
• To make the salad, toss the lettuce, tomato and cucumber in a bowl.
• Heat the macadamia oil and butter in a pan. Add the mountain pepper, saltbush and Tanami fire seasoning. Cook for 30 seconds.
• Add the squid and cook until they curl.
• To serve, place enough salad on each plate, top with squid and add a lemon wedge.
BRAISED WALLABY SHANKS WITH OLIVES AND BUSH TOMATO
Another one to add to your list of bush tucker meals is this dish of wallaby shanks with vegetables cooked in wine and stock.
• 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tsp butter
• 8 med. Wallaby shanks
• ½ cup flour for dusting
• 1 large carrot, peeled
• 1 large celery stick
• 4 peeled garlic cloves
• 1 large onion, peeled
• 1 cup (200ml) red wine
• 1 lt beef stock
• 500ml tomato passata (puree)
• 1 tsp wild thyme
• 1 tsp pepper leaf (or black pepper)
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 100gm kalamata olives
• 2 bay leaves
• 35gm bush tomatoes, chopped coarsely 3-5mm
• Dust the shanks with flour, then cook in the butter/oil in a pan until brown.
• Cut the vegetables into large pieces (3-4cm). Add them to the pot and wait until they caramelise lightly.
• Pit the olives, then add all these ingredients to the pan. Cover and let it boil.
• Let it simmer very gently for about 1-2 hours until shanks are tender.
• Best to serve with mashed potato, polenta or even risotto. Optionally, garnish with sea parsley gremolata.
OYSTERS WITH KAKADU PLUM AND MIGNONETTE PEPPER VINAIGRETTE ON CUCUMBER
For the more adventurous palette, try these tasty rounds of cucumber holding fresh oysters. It’s so refreshing, you’ll never look at bush tucker meals the same way again.
• 2-3 shallots (eschalots), peeled and fine diced (50gm)
• 1 lime, juiced (about 30-40gm)
• 1gm (1/2 a tsp) each white and black peppercorn
• 24 oysters freshly shucked
• 1 thin continental cucumber
• Lime wedges, optional for the vinaigrette
• 250gm chardonnay (or good white wine) vinegar
• 100gm Kakadu plum (frozen)
• 30gm sugar
• Slice most of the flesh from the plums.
• Boil the stones of the plum with the vinegar and sugar to soften the remaining flesh. Strain and work the pulp through a mesh. Add the other flesh and puree.
• Grind the two peppers coarsely. Stir into the vinaigrette with the lime juice and shallots.
• Cut the cucumber into one-centimetre lengths. Make small hollows on each to cup the oysters.
• Top each cucumber with an oyster and then the vinaigrette.
• Serve with a wedge of extra lime.
From native animals, edible plants and seeds, to insects and honey and nectars, bush tucker meals have a lot to offer that won’t disappoint your adventurous taste buds. Bush tucker cooking is simple cooking with simple ingredients, but it makes for extraordinary meals.
Is there anything you can add? Share your thoughts below.