Oct 06
by Doug Piper

Multicultural Meals

What is a traditional Australian cuisine today? The meals many of us grew up on have changed, the flavours have become more advanced since gravy and brown onion sauces or the good old honey soy marinated that we drowned chicken pieces, beef strips and anything we thought would sell in our shops and called it “something new”.

We still eat those meals that are meat and three veg however they have become a lot more technical, the flavours we have adapted from all over the world have become “Modern Australian Cuisine.” Meat and three vege is now known as a stir-fry, fresh, tasty and easy to cook.

Australia is a melting pot of various nationalities, with strong Asian/ Indian influenced cuisines, after all Australia is surrounded by some of the best tropical island paradises and popular holiday destinations the thirst for our neighbour’s flavours is savoured by many Aussies. Let`s face it, who does not like a great Chinese meal? The majority of us would have a favourite Chinese restaurant close to home or like me happy to drive to the next suburb to pick up my favourite delicious dishes.

It is not just Chinese anymore, we have Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Singapore, Korean, and Japanese there are other cuisines that fall into that category. I remember my first Thai experience many years ago in Sydney, I had no idea what I was ordering, I tried a soup to start with and it had all this green herb swimming in it and it stunk like smelly socks, I didn’t finish it but I will never forget my first encounter with Coriander…. I love it today but boy; it did not make a good first impression.   

Spicy, zingy, fresh flavours along with a range of herbs represent those Asian cuisines and the dishes are usually chicken or pork. Butchers often find using chicken as the main protein in quick cook dishes convenient, it is tender however; it is the sauce that gives the dish its flavour. Beef and lamb also make a great quick cook meal; beef and lamb primals can add more flavour and texture and a great substitute for chicken.  

Australian lamb has a delicate sweet flavour that will stand out in many dishes, using any of the leaner leg cuts for the quick cook stir fry`s, then using the shoulders for those Malaysian / Indian curries where they are cooked for a few hours.

Australian beef is also widely used for stir fry`s and slow cooks. MSA graded butt cuts such as knuckles, rumps and insides are perfect for stir fry`s. Blades are also a great alternative but a little more work seaming out the sinew and silver skin. You could even try using the heel muscles (mouses ear), once you remove the tendon and separate the silver skin the meat is easy to slice and very tender. If you want to use rumps for a stir fry, look out for the Rostbiff (HAM 2110) it’s the rump with the cap removed, little fat on top and reasonably priced, otherwise use whole rumps and pull the cap off and sell it separately as a Rump cap or Picanha (Brazilian name) for roasting or steaks.

Asian butchers have a great way of packaging fresh and frozen thin sliced meats. Usually on a 7 x 5 tray sliced a couple of mm thick and each tray weighing roughly 200grams. Thin sliced meat goes a long way in traditional Asian meals, having the thin sliced meat neatly layer packed and ready to go along with the fresh vegetables that accompany these dishes, lots of green Bok Choy, beans, carrots, bean sprouts, celery, capsicum, and broccoli or a pack of rice noodles and do not forget the sauce!!


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