SSI News Blog

Welcome to the SSI Food Blog. Whether they are SSI employees, volunteers, refugees or people seeking asylum, the people featured here all share a love of food.

One of the many benefits of multiculturalism is delicious food, so let’s enjoy! 

Suresh Babu Tagarapu

As a once-in-a-decade storm battered Sydney in late April, up to 120 people seeking asylum in Australia braved the conditions to get to SSI’s Community Kitchen in Auburn. Having just worked a night-shift, Suresh and his team were on hand at the Community Kitchen volunteering their time to prepare a delicious lunch for everyone.   

Suresh's biryaniSuresh, second from left, with his two daughters and two friends who helped him in the kitchen.

“I am 42 years old, from India, and have been a professional chef for 22 years. Cooking is my passion and my hobby, as well as my profession, so I enjoy my work. I like feeding people with different and interesting foods that I like. I have worked with people of 52 different nationalities and have been in 40 countries all over the world. Finally, I wanted to settle down with my family and came to Australia in July last year.

“When I started cooking in India I did a three year degree in hotel catering and then two years of hotel management, followed by one year of food production.

“At Community Kitchen, I cooked biryani with lamb. This is a dish of meat marinated in spices cooked with basmati rice. It’s a dish people in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh like. And this meat and rice dish is also popular in Middle East countries. Because the Community Kitchen also has people from Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran, I knew this dish would be comfortable for everyone to eat.”

Lamb or goat biryani

Lamb biryaniSuresh's lamb biryani, as prepared at Community Kitchen.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

1 kg lamb or goat cut in to pieces

1 kg of basmati rice (seems like a lot of rice for just one kilo of meat and to serve just six people)

100 gm ginger garlic paste  

250 gm  fried onions

250 gm  yoghurt 

6 x green chillies

Juice of 2 x lemons

10 gm whole cardamom   

10 gm whole cinnamon 

10 gm  whole star anise 

5 gm whole black cardamom

10 gm cloves 

½ gm saffron200ml ghee 

150 gm fresh mint leaves, chopped

150gm  fresh coriander leaves, chopped 

Salt to taste

Prep time: 20min. Cooking time: 3 hours.

Method: 

Keep rice separate. Mix all of the ingredients and marinate the meat. Cover and let site for 3 hours.

In a separate pot, soak the rice for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, bring water to the boil to cook the rice. You can add a little of any leftover spices to the boiling water. Add the rice and cook until it is about  80 per cent cooked through. Drain.

In a separate pot, add the marinated meat and cover with the parboiled rice. Seal the pot with a tight lid and simmer on a low heat for 50 minutes.

After about 50 minutes, stir the pot from top to bottom and it is ready to serve.

Raita recipe (yoghurt with vegetable)

500 gm yoghurt

2 x chopped onions

2 x chopped green chillies

2 x chopped tomatoes

Some chopped fresh coriander leaves

Salt to taste

Method

Mix all the ingredients together. Serve with any type of biryani.

Success stories

Muhammad Sadiq: How I came to call Australia home

Muhammad Sadiq cooking for people seeking asylum at Community Kitchen.I came to Australia as a refugee in 2009, hoping to find a peaceful place to build a home for my family. Increasing persecution of the Hazara community from which my family and I come meant that our native land, Pakistan, was no longer the safe haven it once had been.

Read more ...