Australia is a melting pot of innovative food and culture due to its diverse and multicultural roots. Australia’s history of immigration is long, which started during the British colonization. The followed by different waves of immigrants from Europe, China, Asia and Latin America.
Because of large scale immigration, Australia has adapted many diverse cultures including European, British, Asian and Middle Eastern.
Indigenous Australians were known to be hunter-gatherers which reflected on the diet, also known as Bush tucker or bush food. Bush tucker is usually derived native flora and fauna used for food. Animal meat includes emu, crocodile, kangaroo and other local animals. Simultaneously, fruits and vegetables such as kutjera, lemon myrtle, quandong, warrigal greens and other local vegetables are common in indigenous Australian Dishes.
But the subsequent colonization and immigration of Australia added to the rich diversity of dishes. British immigrants introduced cattle beef, wheat and sheep in Australia, making it a big part of the Australian diet.
The subsequent immigration from China, East Asia, South Asia, and the Mediterranean also added to Australian dishes’ richness and diversity. Modern Australian food is best described as a unique fusion of different multicultural influences, traditional ingredients, local produce and global flavours. Here are some of the iconic favourite Australian recipes that reflect these diverse influences.
Aussie Meat Pies
The Aussie Meat Pie is an Australian food icon; it is a classic pie with minced beef gravy and a shortcrust base. It’s so popular that Australians love to eat them on the go and is always available on every corner bakery, bakeshop and supermarket. It is prepared by sauteing the minced onion and other ingredients over oil in a medium-heat saucepan. I have the best pie ever when I was visiting my friend at tilers Wollongong a few years ago. It was in a tinny corner shop in Wollongong.
A mixture of cornflour, stock, sauces, and vegemite is mixed and simmered to medium-low heat until it becomes thick. A shortcrust pastry is then cut into a circle to form the based and then filled with minced meat, other ingredients and sauce. The assembled meat pie will then be placed onto the oven and baked for 20-25 minutes.
The flaky meat pie is the epitome of Australian food and is always part of the menu in every sporting event, house party, important family events and celebrations.
Vegemite on Toast
Vegemite looks very similar to Britain’s Marmite, but locals will usually say that it’s different since its more savoury than sweet. Vegemite is a dark brown paste created from yeast extract, which is different from a Marmite from a vegetable extract.
Vegemite is slightly bitter, malty, salty and rich in glutamates which gives it an umami flavour. Vegemite is usually placed on bread or toast, and not everyone may like the taste. However many locals love it and sometimes would be accompanied by melted cheese, avocado or tomato.
Anzac biscuits are an Australian classic with its roots in World War 1 when military wives baked for their husbands who went to war. Australian and New Zealand soldiers know as ANZAC fought together during World War 1. These biscuits are made of coconuts, oats and golden syrup.
Anzac biscuits are prepared by mixing oats, flour, sugar and coconut in a large bowl. A mixture of golden syrup and butter is then mixed with water and bicarb soda and stirred over low heat.
The dry ingredients are then mixed with then combined with the golden syrup mixture. The mixture is made into balls and pressed to form the biscuit. Baking takes around 12 minutes until the biscuit is golden brown. This delicious biscuit is traditionally made to commemorate ANZAC day celebrated every 25th of April.