Where it’s found: A vermin hopping throughout Australasia
Uses: Delicious as a low fat steak.
Serving suggestion: Drench in oil and eat as a steak or burger grilled on the Barbie.
Taste: Cross between beef and game.
Don’t think of: Skippy.
Australian cuisine is a rich melee of food from the vast number of different cultures that have settled on the continent in the last 200 years, as well as traditional Aboriginal foods which, like kangaroo, are native to the bush. Asian and European dishes are popular in the cities, where ethnic communities continue to cook in the traditions of their homelands. The Aussies have also invented a new kind of cuisine called Mod Aus, which combines Asian and European styles of cooking with indigenous ingredients.
Bushtucker is Aussie slang for the edible plants, herbs, animals, insects and vegetables that are native to Australia. Many of these ‘edible’ delights might turn the stomach of a city dweller but to the aborigines and non-native bush people they are a means of survival.
Origins and History
When the first settlers arrived in Australia not only were they perplexed by the strange new flora and fauna they found there, but they were also repulsed by the eating habits of the Aboriginal people. They had to adapt quickly, however, because if you’re 80 thousand miles away from home with not a Yorkshire pudding in sight you’ve got no choice but to eat as the locals do.
The kangaroo may be the national symbol of Australia, but it’s also been a staple of the Australian diet for 50,000 years.
Kangaroos carry few of the diseases which often afflict livestock. Their meat is tasty, nutritious, and is becoming increasingly popular in fancy restaurants all around the world.
Because of the low fat content kangaroo meat should really be cooked with care to avoid drying out. You can roast it, grill it, fry it or kebab it, but it’s advisable to let it soak in cooking oil for about 15 minutes beforehand, then sear it on both sides in a very hot pan to preserve the moisture. It tastes quite like beef, but has a distinctive gamey flavour. Check out our links below for traditional and innovative recipe ideas.
Cyber tour of Australian cuisine
A practical site containing sound information about the kangaroo industry in Australia
In Celebration of the New Australian Cuisine, Alan Saunders et. al.
Fusions: A New Look at Australian Cooking,Martin Webb & Richard Wittington
By Jess Halliday