Join 3,557 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


What's vegetarian Australian cuisine?
November 5, 2012 9:39 AM   Subscribe

I'm staying with a family in Kenya who have requested we make them an Australian meal one night. Problem is, what's an Australian meal? There's more restrictions inside that further complicate our choice of food.

Further complicating things is there's no oven so it's stovetop cooking only. Also, my friend is vegetarian so no meat. Fortunately she's the easy going kind so if it's something where I can make the meat part separate she'll be cool with that. Lastly, going by the meals they've made, and East African food in general, anything too spicy won't go over well!

At this stage we're thinking of pulling the multicultural card and making a stir-fry but I'm hoping there's a better option!
posted by Silentgoldfish to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Damper bread, or variant thereof?
posted by MuffinMan at 9:54 AM on November 5, 2012


What do you like to cook at home in Australia? I'm assuming your guests don't mean "make us some authentically Australian cuisine that you can't get anywhere else and is TOTALLY 100% Australian" and what they probably mean is "make us something you would make that we would consider exotic."

What did you mom cook you when you were a kid? What's your favorite comfort food? For example being an American, if I was in your situation I'd probably make macaroni and cheese, or maybe some regional variation of beans (chili, black eyed peas with cabbage, red beans and rice, etc). Or grilled cheese sandwiches, because are grilled cheese sandwiches not the best thing in the WORLD? None of those foods are "American Food". They all exist in other places and have roots in other cultures. But I'm an American, and those are the foods I grew up with. So they're American Food to me.
posted by Sara C. at 9:54 AM on November 5, 2012 [8 favorites]


As a non-Australian, I would expect an Ozzie meal to consist of beer and something off the barbie.
posted by apparently at 10:21 AM on November 5, 2012


The food I miss most from Australia is the Asiany fusion stuff they do so well so a stir fry might not be a bad idea.

Other ideas.
Pumpkin scones.
Maybe make the deserts more Australian with pavs or lamingtons or the like.
You could make a pie with a vegetable or meat substitue filling instead of a meat pie.
A nice lamb roast with lots of roast veggies, Yorkshire puddings and lots of gravy, you can eat the meat and roast veggies are delicious. (OK this is a bit English but that's what I am craving my mum to make when I get home to visit).
Sausage rolls with vegetarian sausages in.
Soft Boiled eggs with Vegemite soldiers.
Macadamia nut pesto pasta.
posted by wwax at 10:22 AM on November 5, 2012


I would think a western-style meal would fit the bill; I don't know whether it's radically different from how they eat in East Africa or Kenya, but I suspect a weeknight meal of any kind would work-- soup with sides, sandwiches and salad, pasta family-style with veggies, etc.
posted by Sunburnt at 10:49 AM on November 5, 2012


Pumpkin scones.
Maybe make the deserts more Australian with pavs or lamingtons or the like.
You could make a pie with a vegetable or meat substitue filling instead of a meat pie.
A nice lamb roast with lots of roast veggies, Yorkshire puddings and lots of gravy, you can eat the meat and roast veggies are delicious. (OK this is a bit English but that's what I am craving my mum to make when I get home to visit).
Sausage rolls with vegetarian sausages in.


wwax, there is no oven. Stovetop only.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:04 AM on November 5, 2012


What about a savoury mince using tpv? Season using Vegemite and serve with buttered toast.
posted by insomniax at 11:10 AM on November 5, 2012


For dessert you could do golden syrup dumplings with custard. That's all stove top as well.

Alternatively to get around the lack of oven - could you light a fire and get hold of a camp oven to cook outside?
posted by insomniax at 11:14 AM on November 5, 2012


you can "bake" using a dutch oven on the stove top or grill, provided you have a dutch oven. here is how.
posted by wocka wocka wocka at 11:22 AM on November 5, 2012


Speaking as a Kenyan (although I don't currently live there) , I wouldn't do a basic pasta dish, unless you're pulling the multi cultural card. It's not considered exotic or different. (I am assuming your friend lives in an urban area with reasonable access to restaurants etc). And if you're doing multi-cultural, i'd recommend the Asian fusion options

I know this is going to sound stereotypical, but when I was growing up, if someone had asked me to describe Australian food, I'd have said barbeque. I know that's not easy for vegetarian items (and also you didn't say if you had access to a BBQ) but figured I'd mention it.

Are there any Australian spices or ingredients that would be added to western foods to make them more Australian? that might be an option too
posted by darsh at 11:33 AM on November 5, 2012


If you have access to a ready-made vanilla cake from a bakery or supermarket, you could make Lamingtons for dessert.

Vaniilla cake, cut into 2" cubes
2 cups of icing (confectioner's) sugar
1/3 cup of cocoa powder
3 tbs of butter
1/2 cup of milk
Dessicated coconut


Place the icing sugar, cocoa powder, butter and milk in a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.

Stir the mixture until it is smooth but still a bit thick. You don't want the liquid to get too thin otherwise the sponge cake won't absorb the coating.

Now it's time to assemble the Lamingtons. Put out some newspaper under wire racks to catch any mess. Place the cake pieces on the racks and have your chocolate icing and desiccated coconut ready.

Quickly coat the sponge cake on all sides in the icing mixture and then gently roll the cake in the coconut.

If you don't have wire racks, put the cake cubes on a fork and dip them in the icing.
posted by essexjan at 11:36 AM on November 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I couldn't think of anything, but actually darsh's idea of bbq seems great. You can grill stuff on the stovetop (probably?), and at my family bbq's we certainly cater to a few vegos. We tend to do strips of zucchini, grilled asparagus, sometimes skewers of pineapple for dessert, or marinaded skewers of pineapple/capsicum/mushrooms as part of the main course. Eggplant and haloumi also work on a grill, and then we have a few nice salads as well. And then do lamingtons for dessert if you're feeling energetic :)
posted by jacalata at 11:45 AM on November 5, 2012


When I think of quintessentially Oz food, I think of pies...
What about:
veggie pies for dinner (or veggie burgers with pickled beets and fried eggs)
Lamington or Anzac biscuits for dessert
posted by LittleMy at 11:58 AM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


erm ... I thought the Australian National Dish was, without any close competition, :

Thai Green Curried Chicken on Steamed Rice, with a side of spring rolls, takeaway from the local Thai

Here is an Australian recipe
posted by jannw at 12:03 PM on November 5, 2012


Nyama choma's pretty typically Kenyan, though - I don't know if barbeque would be sufficiently different?
posted by ChuraChura at 12:32 PM on November 5, 2012


ChuraChura , you're right, but the thing about Nyams is that it's always goat, and specifically cooked w/o spices and served without fancy sides, which is different from the western style of barbequing. Also, if Silentgoldfish's friend is vegetarian, a veg bbq may well be sufficiently different.
posted by darsh at 12:44 PM on November 5, 2012


A traditional Aussie burger with the works. Use a meat substitute instead of the pattie (or leave it out altogether, but any self-respecting Aussie would disdainfully call that a salad roll).

Pineapple and beetroot are mandatory. You hear me? MANDATORY!
posted by malibustacey9999 at 12:48 PM on November 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


How vegetarian is she? If she'll eat prawns, then surely you almost have to marinate and grill some prawns and have a salad, surely?
posted by thylacinthine at 2:47 PM on November 5, 2012


Don't forget the Fairy Bread.
posted by unliteral at 9:32 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't do bbq just cause of lack of equipment - it's pots only unfortunately! It's a pretty basic setup all things considered: they're letting us break out the gas stovetop instead of using charcoal because it's a special occasion!

I hadn't even considered hamburgers - but beets on burgers is as Australian as it gets! Plus the ones you get in restaurants here suck so I may be broadening some horizons... And I can sub something for the beef in my friend's one. I'll see how I go on shopping this afternoon, if I fail on ingredients I may have to go stirfry anyway.

Glad asian fusion is seen as Australian!

Thanks all!
posted by Silentgoldfish at 1:02 AM on November 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Don't forget the Fairy Bread.

posted by unliteral


And if you can't get real fairies, sprinkles will do in a pinch.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 2:24 AM on November 6, 2012


Homemade chiko rolls (substitute beef with tofu or other veg protein, and use veg stock)- http://mattcancook.blogspot.com.au/2012/11/homemade-take-away-holy-grail-chiko.html?m=1
posted by travellingincognito at 5:45 AM on November 6, 2012


« Older I love Canyon House 7 grain br...   |  Portland-area getaway, Thanksg... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.