The backstory

A BBQ is an important part of in Australian summers. I really wanted to try some native herbs with a delicious and versatile chicken marinade that could be used for chicken strips for wraps, an Australian twist on a souvlaki or just a good marinade for a BBQ. These native herbs can be subtle and I have built these around some familiar flavours and we were very happy with the outcome. I marinated about an hour before cooking, threaded on bamboo skewers and cooked and served with wraps, a salad of rocket, tomato and cucumber and also a minted yoghurt. Pleased to report that they went down well with good reports!

About the ingredients 

Saltbush: this bush grows happily in most parts of Australia, and not only has useful medicinal uses but has also been shown to help the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It's high in protein, contains calcium and trace minerals. Interestingly, even though it is called saltbush, it contains less sodium than table salt, so adding it to you cooking is a great way to instantly increase flavour without adding too much salt. its also very versatile and can be added to almost anything that needs salty-umami boost. If you have a saltbush growing in the backyard, its leaves can actually be used fresh to add to salads or stir fry. Indigenous traditional cooking would see saltbush seeds added to damper, and medicinally, would be made into a paste to treat wounds and burns. 

Pepper berry: Comes from the Tasmannia lanceolata plant which grows well in southern parts of Australia where the climate is cooler, and the berries and leaves can be used. It has quite a complex flavour structure, with a number of different layers and dimensions that go well with either sweet or savory. It can be used with curries, cheese, meats, ice-cream or even Christmas cake. Nutritionally, the pepper berry is a wonderful anti-oxidant, is high in Vitamin E and folate, and has antibacterial / antifungal properties. This bush is easy to grow at home and would be a useful addition to your collection of herbs and spices growing in your backyard.

Wattleseed: The use of Wattle seeds (of the commercially traded species) has a traditional use of at least 4000 years as an Aboriginal staple food ingredient. The seed is harvested, then roasted and can be ground or sold whole. The flowers (without stalks) can also be used, typically in pancakes, scones and scrambled eggs or omelettes. It has a dominant nutty, coffee and roasted aromas with a slight bitterness. Several species are native to arid and temperate areas of Australia with some, like the Elegant Wattle (Acacia victoriae) having a very widespread natural distribution.  

Reference (https://anfab.org.au/)

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tblsp saltbush
  • 2 tsp wattleseed
  • 1 tblsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp pepperberry, ground
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • juice of lime
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Steps and Method

  1. Combined all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
  2. Pour over chicken pieces and cover and marinade from 1 hour or overnight if you have time.
  3. Cook on hot frypan or BBQ.
  4. See backstory for a serving suggestion.