Australia Day is the official national day of Australia. Celebrated annually on 26 January, it marks the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales in 1788.
In present-day Australia, the celebrations reflect the diverse society and landscape of the nation and are marked by community and family events. It is also a time to reflect on Australian history, give out official community awards and hold citizenship ceremonies to welcome new members of the Australian community.
While a classic sausage sizzle may be the obvious choice for the day, here are a couple of Asian options to reflect the diversity of the modern Australian community. From BBQ prawns to meat pies, we show you how to add an Asian twist to your Australia Day menu.
1. Crispy Pork Belly Bao with Sriracha Mayo
Fire up the coals, find someone with tong stealth, and make it the BBQ of the summer with this crazy crispy pork belly served with a soft bao bun. One won’t be enough!
- 500g Boneless Pork Belly
- 8 Frozen Bao Buns
- 260g Spicy Sriracha Mayonnaise
- 1 Carrot, grated lengthways
- Thinly sliced Spring Onions, to serve
- Coriander leaves, to serve
- Chopped Unsalted Roasted Peanuts, to serve
- Score the pork belly skin at 5mm intervals. Place on a plate and chill uncovered, overnight. Remove from fridge and stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before roasting.
- Preheat oven to 260°C. Rub pork skin with fine cooking salt. Place pork on a baking tray and roast for 20 minutes or until the skin is crisp. Reduce heat to 160°C and roast for a further 20 minutes or until pork is tender and cooked through. Rest for 20 minutes, then cut into thick slices.
- Place buns in a large steamer and set over a wok of boiling water. Cover and steam for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through.
- Spread buns with Sriracha mayonnaise and top with pork, carrot, spring onion, coriander and nuts.
2. Korean BBQ Chicken Fried Rice
Who doesn’t like Korean BBQ Chicken? Add it to fried rice and you get a wok and grill dish that’s hard to beat! Serve with spicy Korean BBQ sauce and your guests will be hooked.
- 100ml Peanut Oil
- 2 Eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 BBQ Chicken, meat shredded
- 1 Long Red Chilli, finely chopped, plus extra to serve
- ½ bunch of Spring Onions, white and pale green parts chopped
- ¼ Savoy Cabbage, outer leaves discarded, finely shredded
- 2 Garlic cloves, chopped
- 120g Rice
- 1 bunch of Coriander, leaves picked
- 1 tbsp Black Sesame Seeds
Korean BBQ Sauce
- 60ml Light Soy Sauce
- 60g Brown Sugar
- 2 Garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 tsp Chilli Paste
- 3 tsp Grated Ginger
- 1 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
- 2 tsp Sesame Oil
- For the BBQ sauce, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and season with pepper. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok or large frypan over high heat. Add the egg and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until softly scrambled. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add another 2 tbsp oil to the pan with the chicken and half the barbecue sauce. Stir-fry for 5-6 minutes until caramelised. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add remaining 2 tbsp oil to the pan with chilli, spring onion, cabbage and garlic. Stir-fry for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the rice and remaining barbecue sauce, and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes to warm through.
- Increase heat to high and cook for a further 6 minutes or until rice begins to crisp around the edges. Remove from heat and stir through the reserved chicken, egg and half the coriander.
- Divide rice among bowls. Serve topped with sesame seeds, extra chilli and remaining coriander.
3. Steamed Whole Barramundi
Nothing wows like a whole cooked fish. This whole barramundi cooked with Asian spices brings aromatics up to the next level.
- 1 tbsp Whole White Peppercorns
- 2 tbsp Grated Fresh Turmeric
- 1 heaped tbsp Grated Fresh Ginger
- 2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped, plus 5 thinly sliced cloves
- Juice of 2 Limes, plus wedges to serve
- 5 Coriander roots (from a fresh bunch)
- 1.5kg Whole Barramundi, scaled and cleaned
- Sunflower Oil, to deep-fry
- 1 Onion, halved, thinly sliced
- 10 Dried Long Red Chillies
- 24 Fresh Curry Leaves
- Pound peppercorns, turmeric, ginger, chopped garlic, juice and coriander roots into a rough paste using a mortar and pestle (or small processor). Score fish on both sides at 1cm intervals, then rub in paste.
- Invert 2 small heat proof plates in the base of a fish kettle or a large flameproof roasting pan. Pour about 2.5cm of boiling water into the fish kettle (you’ll need to place it over 2 burners). Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Place fish on kettle rack and lower onto plates, ensuring fish isn't touching the water. Cover with a lid or foil and cook for 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of the fish (topping up the water if necessary) until cooked through. Carefully remove fish and place on a long platter.
- Meanwhile, half-fill a small heavy-based saucepan with oil and heat to 190°C (a cube of bread will turn golden in 30 seconds when hot). Add onion and fry for 1-2 minutes until golden, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Repeat frying process with sliced garlic for 20 seconds until golden, then with chilli and curry leaves for 30 seconds until crisp. Carefully place the fish on a platter, top with fried ingredients and 2 tbsp of the hot oil, then serve with lime.
4. BBQ Thai Garlic Prawns
This grilled garlic shrimp in the shell is super delicious and so easy to make. They are marinated in a very quick and easy garlic sauce and then quickly grilled. Makes a perfect appetizer or main course.
- 12 Tiger Prawns, preferably with shells on.
- ¼ cup Soy Sauce
- ¼ cup Oyster Sauce
- 1 tbsp Fish Sauce
- 2 tbsp Brown Sugar
- 6-8 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp Lime Juice
- Garnish: ½ cup Fresh Cilantro
- Garnish: 1 Lime, cut into wedges
- Mix the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.
- To grill the shrimp in their shells, you need to open the shrimp so they lie flat in their shells on the grill. Leaving the shell in place, hold the prawn in your hand so that it curls naturally into your palm. Or hold the prawn on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, make a cut from the start of the tail through the middle of the "belly" and down to the head of the prawn.
- Now turn the prawn over on your cutting board (so that its back is facing up). Use your palm to flatten it out by pressing down gently. When you're done, the prawn should lay fairly flat (don't worry if the shell loosens slightly).
- Place the prawns in a flat-bottomed bowl or dish. Pour over the garlic sauce. Allow prawns to marinate in the sauce while you warm up the grill.
- If your prawns are large enough that they won't fall through the grates, place directly on the grill. If your prawns are smaller, spread a piece of aluminium foil or banana leaf on the grill first, and then place prawns on top. Or skewer the shrimp with satay sticks. (If using wood skewers, soak in water first.)
- Baste the prawns the first time you turn them with a little of the leftover sauce. Grill 3 to 5 minutes each side. Prawns are done when the flesh turns from translucent to pinkish-white (and the shells turn a very attractive bright pink).
- Serve immediately with fresh lime or lemon wedges on the side and a sprinkling of fresh cilantro. They are equally excellent on their own or with rice.
5. Vietnamese Meat Pie
Meat pie is one of the most traditional Australian foods. Using minced pork, coriander and black fungus, this Vietnamese version lends and interesting twist to the usual Aussie meat pie.
- 50g shredded Dried Black Fungus
- 50g Dried Bean Thread Noodles
- 500g Minced Pork
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Ground White Pepper
- 1 tbsp Fish Sauce
- 10g Coriander, finely chopped
- 10g Spring Onion, thinly sliced
- 1 Carrot, finely chopped
- Frozen Puff Pastry Sheets
- 1 Egg
- Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Place the pork mince, sugar, salt, pepper, fish sauce, coriander, spring onions, carrot, fungus and noodles into a large mixing bowl. Use a spoon or your hands to combine the ingredients well.
- Using a round cookie cutter, cut rounds from the puff pastry to desired size.
- Place a ball of the meat mixture in the middle of a pastry round, leaving a 1.5-2 cm border. Brush the egg around the border and place another pastry round on top, stretching the pastry to meet the sides of the bottom. Press the edges down with a fork and place on baking sheet. Repeat until meat mixture is finished.
- Cut a small slit on the surface of each pastry, and brush the top with egg wash.
- Bake for 20 mins or until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly and serve.
We hope this list will help give you some idea of what you can cook for the upcoming feast!
Happy Australia Day to you all!