How to cook with native Australian bush flavours

Interested to try your hand at cooking with native Australian flavours? Here's how.

Like many lands, Australia is a multicultural society and we are able to enjoy food from varying cultures. But unfortunately, until recent times our very own naturally occurring foods – Australian native food or bush tucker – have been largely overlooked by the mainstream, non-Indigenous culture.

Although much of our continent looks barren and infertile, there has always been an abundance of food which our first peoples knew where to locate in each particular region.

Bush tucker is not only a wonderful taste adventure, but contains an array of health benefits. The majority of the ingredients are wild harvested and have not been subjected to insecticides.

Where can you find bush ingredients?

You could forage in the wild but you do need to identify 100% before consumption and to be aware that some foods require preparation to make them safe to eat. That means unless you absolutely know what you’re doing, it’s easiest and safest to buy from a specialty bush food supplier.

We stock a range of bush food ingredients in our online shop and despatch every week day to all parts of Australia and the world. Our aim over the past eight years has been to source as many ingredients as possible from all parts of Australia.  We currently have approximately 40 ingredients.

Homemade rye bread with seeds

“Wattleseed has a beautiful, nutty, mild coffee flavour, and is full of nutrients.”

7 easy ways to use native flavours

You can use native herbs in your flavour base for a huge range of dishes – curries, stir fries, sauces, marinades and more. The easiest way to start is to add bush flavours in with your garlic and chilli.

Add herbs like wattleseed, native thyme, saltbush and pepperberry halfway through cooking, and add more delicate herbs (such as lemon myrtle, aniseed myrtle, cinnamon myrtle, strawberry gum or peppermint gum) at the end, or even after you remove from heat.

Here are some other simple ways to incorporate native Australian ingredients into your cooking.

1. Wattleseed bread

When making homemade bread, add a teaspoon of roasted and ground wattleseed to the mix. Wattleseed has a beautiful, nutty, mild coffee flavour, and is full of nutrients.

2. Bush tomato pasta sauce

Add a teaspoon of crushed bush tomato to your pasta sauce for a rich, exquisite flavour – imagine a blend of sun dried tomato, caramel and tamarillo.

3. Breadcrumbs with lemon myrtle

Lemon myrtle is one of the most popular native Australian herbs. Mix it with cinnamon myrtle and chilli and add to your breadcrumb mix.

4. Quandong dessert

Quandongs, also known as wild peaches, have a brilliant scarlet colour and a tart taste that is sometimes described as similar to rhubarb, or as a combination of apricots and peaches. For a delicious dessert, soak dried quandong in water overnight, cook until soft, then sweeten as desired. Serve with ice cream, cream or custard, or use as a pie filling. You could also puree with the cooking juice and use as an ice cream topping.

5. Easy wattleseed ice cream

Here’s a simple way to add a rich and nutty flavour twist to vanilla ice cream. Put two teaspoons of wattleseed into a cup and just cover with boiling water – this will swell the wattleseed and release the flavours. Allow to cool. Slightly soften a litre of vanilla ice cream. Stir through the wattleseed slurry, then refreeze.

6. Lemon aspen puree 

Lemon aspen is a pale yellow fruit with a tart, lemony taste. A great way to use lemon aspen is to cook it out with a little water in a saucepan, then puree it and cool it down. You can now use this in a dressing, cheesecake, marinade or just about anything.

7. Native thyme marinade

Try native thyme as a baked potato spice, BBQ marinade or a red meat rub. When used in dishes featuring chicken, turkey, pork or lamb, a small amount goes a long way.

Learn more about native bush food and buy ingredients at bushfoodshop.com.au


Image credit: Quandongs (main image): JennyKS [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Recommended reading - Travelling in Asia

Travel

3 ethical conservation projects to check out in Malaysia

From elephants to orangutans, get close and personal with majestic rainforest creatures.

Read more
Travel

5 tips for enjoying Malaysian street food (without getting sick)

Sample delicious Malaysian flavours to your heart's content.

Read more
Travel

2 days in Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia’s capital blends modernity with rich culture. Here’s why colourful, chaotic KL’s a must-see

Read more
Travel

6 things to do in Singapore

Bright, clean and colourful, the island city-state of Singapore is full of contrasts.

Read more
Travel

Singapore: Ecotourism in the big city

Go beyond the skyscrapers and discover rainforests, wetlands and a unique night safari.

Read more
Travel

Cloud Forest: The tropical rainforest inside a city

Enter the world’s best greenhouse – like no garden you've seen before.

Read more
Travel

Best places in Asia to watch the sunrise

Brave the early start and be rewarded with some of those breathtaking moments in travel.

Read more
Travel

Discovering Tokyo’s neighbourhoods

An intricate network of punctual trains and subways makes exploring Tokyo’s neighbourhoods a breeze.

Read more
Travel

Inside Intramuros: the walled city of Manila

Intramuros, the walled city at the heart of the current day capital, Manila, was the birthplace of Filipino independence.

Read more
Travel

Meet my city: Yokohama

Discover the thriving, colourful port city of Yokohama, Japan. Local Eling shows us her top places.

Read more
Travel

The best places to ski in Japan

Chasing powder in Japan’s hottest ski spots.

Read more
Travel

The 10 best places to eat and play in Tokyo

Blogger Hello Sandwich shows us her top picks of Tokyo.

Read more
Travel

The best ski resorts in China

Hit the slopes at these fantastic destinations.

Read more
Travel

How to access Facebook and Instagram from China

It’s not illegal – it just takes a little know-how.

Read more
Travel

Lombok: Bali’s quiet cousin

Indonesia’s Lombok and Gili Islands are perfect holiday destinations for a relaxed, authentic tropical break.

Read more
Travel

Why you should visit Lombok

Away from the crowds of Bali, Indonesian island Lombok is a colourful, pristine land of treasures.

Read more
Travel

Travelling to India for the first time

Bright, majestic India can be a culture shock. Here's how to prepare.

Read more
Travel

Top tips for visiting the Taj Mahal

It's one of the most spectacular sites in the modern world. Here's how to make your trip seamless.

Read more
Travel

Dragon spotting in Indonesia

Komodo National Park is perfect for snorkelling, diving and exploring – and discovering these amazing creatures.

Read more
Travel

The 10 best travel destinations for yoga lovers

Rejuvenating travel destinations, perfect for practising your warrior pose.

Read more

For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.