WISE UP

Auck­land women from refugee back­grounds join Ginny Grant in the kitchen

Cuisine - - CONTENTS - Words Alice Neville / Pho­tog­ra­phy Aaron McLean

FOR THIS WIN­TER IS­SUE, we wanted to go be­yond the usual com­fort-food cliches by bring­ing you flavours from all cor­ners of the globe, as well as pro­vid­ing a bit of in­sight into the con­tri­bu­tions that peo­ple from dif­fer­ent cul­tural back­grounds can make to our so­ci­ety.

Who bet­ter to col­lab­o­rate with, then, than the WISE Col­lec­tive, a part­ner­ship be­tween Auck­land Re­gional Mi­grant Ser­vices (ARMS) and Auck­land Re­set­tled Com­mu­nity Coali­tion (ARCC). WISE, which stands for Women, In­spired, Strong, Em­pow­ered and En­ter­pris­ing, helps women from refugee back­grounds de­velop knowl­edge, skills, con­fi­dence and re­sources to en­hance their well­be­ing and in­de­pen­dence, al­low­ing many to gen­er­ate ex­tra in­come for their fam­i­lies.

Food is a big part of the WISE Col­lec­tive – there’s a WISE cater­ing team, and some of the women run stalls at the New Lynn Night Mar­ket ev­ery Thurs­day evening.

For this feature, we went along to the weekly Mon­day morn­ing WISE hub at Hen­der­son Bap­tist Church. There, five of the WISE women, with sup­port from their fam­i­lies, friends and WISE Col­lec­tive co­or­di­na­tor Sasi Syed Niya­math­ul­lah, shared their cher­ished dishes with us. While each woman cooked, the oth­ers chat­ted and laughed with each other, shared pho­tos of their fam­i­lies, gave each other shoul­der mas­sages or watched the kitchen ac­tion and asked ques­tions – and, of course, ate!

To learn more about the WISE Col­lec­tive, visit set­tle­ment.org.nz, or to donate to the project, go to givealit­tle.co.nz/org/wisec­ol­lec­tive­pro­ject.

KUR­DISH KUBA

MAKES ABOUT 24 / PREPA­RA­TION 1½ HOURS / COOK­ING 35 MIN­UTES Rangeen Baz­muna and her fam­ily moved to New Zealand from Ira­nian Kur­dis­tan 17 years ago. With help from her daugh­ter Halala Ab­dul­lzada, she showed us how to make kuba, a ver­sion of kibbeh pop­u­lar among Kur­dish peo­ple. FOR THE FILL­ING 1 ta­ble­spoon veg­etable oil 1 onion, chopped 2 spring onions, sliced 400g minced lamb 1 tea­spoon ground turmeric 1 tea­spoon ground cumin 1 tea­spoon salt ½ tea­spoon ground cin­na­mon ½ tea­spoon ground car­da­mon 1 tea­spoon dried oregano 2 ta­ble­spoons sul­tanas (op­tional you could also add

sliv­ered al­monds if you wish) 1 cup flat-leafed pars­ley, roughly chopped Heat the oil in a fry­ing pan, add the onion and spring onions and fry un­til soft. Add the lamb and brown, break­ing up the mince so there are no clumps. Add the turmeric, cumin, salt, cin­na­mon, car­da­mon and oregano and fry for a few min­utes. Add the sul­tanas and 500ml wa­ter and cook gen­tly for 30 min­utes or un­til the liq­uid has dis­ap­peared. Re­move from the heat and stir in the pars­ley. Set aside to cool. FOR THE RICE 500g bas­mati rice ½ tea­spoon turmeric ¼ cup flour (or use dried bread­crumbs) veg­etable oil for deep fry­ing Cook the rice with the turmeric in boil­ing salted wa­ter for 8-10 min­utes (it should be soft), then drain and put in a bowl. When cool enough to han­dle, mash the rice to a paste with a wooden spoon or your hands, then mix in the flour well.

Have a bowl filled with cold wa­ter (to stop the rice from stick­ing to your hands) be­side you. Dip your hands in the wa­ter, take a large spoon­ful of the rice and flat­ten into a rough cir­cle. Put 2 ta­ble­spoons of the lamb mix in the mid­dle, bring to­gether the edges and seal (patch with ex­tra rice to en­sure the edges are sealed if nec­es­sary) and roll into a tor­pedo shape. Place on a bak­ing pa­per-lined tray. Re­peat with the re­main­ing mix. Put into the freezer for 30 min­utes to firm up.

Fill a saucepan with 6cm-7cm of oil and heat to 160°C. Fry the kuba in batches un­til golden – about 5 min­utes. Drain on pa­per tow­els and keep warm. You can also brush the kuba with olive oil and bake in a 200°C oven for 15 min­utes, but they won’t be as crisp.

Serve as a snack with hum­mus, olives and a salad, plus your favourite sauce (such as tomato, sweet chilli or may­on­naise).

MASALA VADAI

MAKES ABOUT 25 / PREPA­RA­TION 20 MIN­UTES PLUS SOAK­ING TIME / COOK­ING 15 MIN­UTES Amutha Kugatheesan, who is from Sri Lanka, joined the WISE Col­lec­tive in 2014 and be­gan sell­ing her de­li­cious masala vadai at the New Lynn Night Mar­ket, where they were a hit. Amutha has now passed the stall on to an­other Sri Lankan woman, as she has a job as a tu­tor with HIPPY (Home In­ter­ac­tion Pro­gramme for Par­ents and Young­sters). FOR THE VADAI 2½ cups yel­low split peas 8 cloves gar­lic 1 onion, chopped 1 tea­spoon salt ½ cup curry leaves, roughly chopped ½ cup co­rian­der leaves, roughly chopped 1 tea­spoon fen­nel seeds 3-4 tea­spoons chilli flakes (depend­ing on how hot you like it) veg­etable oil for fry­ing thinly sliced red onion and co­rian­der leaves to gar­nish Cover the split peas with cold wa­ter and soak overnight. Drain and rinse well. Put ¼ of the split peas in a bowl. In batches, blitz the re­main­ing split peas with the gar­lic to a slightly coarse paste. Add to the bowl with the whole split peas along with the onion, salt, curry leaves, co­rian­der leaves, fen­nel seeds and chilli flakes. Taste and ad­just the sea­son­ing if nec­es­sary. Shape the mix into pat­ties about 1cm thick.

Fill a saucepan with about 5cm oil and heat to 160°C. Cook a few vadai at a time for around 4-5 min­utes or un­til golden. Re­move from the oil and drain on pa­per tow­els. Serve on a plat­ter, gar­nish­ing with red onion and co­rian­der leaves, with the co­conut chut­ney on the side. FOR THE CO­CONUT CHUT­NEY 1 green chilli 1 ta­ble­spoon roasted bengal gram* 3 tea­spoons cumin seeds 1 ta­ble­spoon tamarind puree ¼ co­conut, flesh roughly chopped 2 ta­ble­spoons veg­etable oil 1 ta­ble­spoon urad dhal (split black lentils)* 2 tea­spoons black mus­tard seeds ¼ cup curry leaves 1 -2 dried red chillies (op­tional) Toast 1 tea­spoon of the cumin seeds in a dry fry­ing pan un­til fra­grant. In a blender or food pro­ces­sor, blend to­gether the chilli, gram and toasted cumin, add the tamarind puree and co­conut and blend with some salt and enough wa­ter to make a smooth paste. Put into a serv­ing dish.

Just be­fore serv­ing, heat the oil in a fry­ing pan, add the urad dhal, mus­tard seeds, re­main­ing 2 tea­spoons cumin seeds and the dried chillies, if us­ing, and cook for a minute or so un­til the seeds have started pop­ping and are fra­grant. Spoon this over the co­conut chut­ney and serve with the vadai. *Avail­able at In­dian food stores

BURMESE PRAWNS & TOMATO

SERVES 6 / PREPA­RA­TION 10 MIN­UTES / COOK­ING 15 MIN­UTES Es­ther Tai Thul owned a noo­dle soup shop at home in Burma, and also ran an eatery when liv­ing in Malaysia. Af­ter com­ing to New Zealand in 2007, she felt iso­lated and lonely, but join­ing the WISE Col­lec­tive in 2014 in­tro­duced her to new op­por­tu­ni­ties, and she now runs a stall at the night mar­ket. 2 ta­ble­spoons veg­etable oil 1 large onion, sliced 8 cloves of gar­lic, peeled, lightly smashed 1 tea­spoon ground turmeric 1 tea­spoon chilli pow­der 2 toma­toes, halved, sliced 2-3 ta­ble­spoons light soy sauce 1kg peeled raw prawns 3cm piece gin­ger, peeled, sliced 2 cups co­rian­der leaves 125g mung bean sprouts (½ a 250g packet) Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat, add the onion and gar­lic and cook un­til golden. Add the turmeric and chilli pow­der and cook for an­other minute, then add the toma­toes. Cook for 5-10 min­utes or un­til thick­ened then add the soy sauce and prawns and fry, stir­ring, un­til cooked through. Ad­just sea­son­ings if nec­es­sary and stir in the gin­ger and half the co­rian­der. Gar­nish with the sprouts and re­main­ing co­rian­der and serve with steamed rice and lemon wedges.

BASBOUSA (SEMOLINA CAKE)

MAKES ABOUT 30 PIECES / PREPA­RA­TION 10 MIN­UTES / COOK­ING 1 HOUR IN­CLUD­ING REST­ING TIME Leita Has­san’s cook­ing skills were first no­ticed when she be­gan at­tend­ing ARCC events with her hus­band, and would al­ways bring a plate. Leita, who is from Sudan, runs her own mar­ket stall and is part of the WISE Col­lec­tive’s cater­ing team. 2 cups semolina (ideally a mix of fine and coarse semolina) 1½ cups des­ic­cated co­conut 1 tea­spoon bak­ing pow­der 200g but­ter, melted, plus a lit­tle ex­tra but­ter for the tin 1 cup thick yo­ghurt ½ cup sliv­ered al­monds 2 cups sugar juice of ½ lemon Pre­heat the oven to 180°C. But­ter a Swiss roll tin. Mix the semolina, co­conut and bak­ing pow­der in a large bowl. Add the but­ter and yo­ghurt, mix by hand and press into the tin. Cut into 5cm squares or di­a­monds and press a few al­monds onto each piece. Rest at room tem­per­a­ture for 30 min­utes. Mean­while, put the sugar and 1½ cups wa­ter in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Sim­mer for 5 min­utes, then re­move from the heat and add the lemon juice. Bake the basbousa in the oven for 30 min­utes or un­til golden. Re­move and pour over the warm (but not hot) sugar syrup. Al­low to sit for 5 min­utes be­fore re­mov­ing the slices from the tin. Serve warm or cold.

KABULI PU­LAO SERVES 6-8 / PREPA­RA­TION 40 MIN­UTES / OOKING 3 HOURS

Aye­sha Sli­mankhil is orig­i­nally from Saudi Ara­bia, but on mar­ry­ing an Afghani man and mov­ing to Afghanistan, she learnt to cook the tra­di­tional dishes of her adopted coun­try, such as this fa­mous rice dish named af­ter the cap­i­tal. Aye­sha used a Saudi pack­aged spice mix called Kab­ssa Rice Spices, which is avail­able at Lo­tus Su­per­mar­ket and She­fco, both on Stoddard Rd in Auck­land’s Mt Roskill. The spice mix out­lined in the recipe can be used in­stead, or you could sub­sti­tute with 3 ta­ble­spoons of ras el hanout.

FOR THE MEAT

1 ta­ble­spoon veg­etable oil 1 onion, chopped 2 cloves gar­lic, chopped 800g-1kg pieces of a slow-cook­ing cut of beef, ideally with

bone (such as osso buco); or use chicken or lamb 1 tea­spoon ground car­da­mon 2 tea­spoons ground cumin 2 tea­spoons ground co­rian­der ½ tea­spoon ground cin­na­mon ½ tea­spoon ground all­spice 1 tea­spoon ground turmeric 1 tea­spoon ground fen­nel 1 tea­spoon pa­prika ½ tea­spoon freshly ground nut­meg ½ tea­spoon freshly ground black pep­per 2 toma­toes, de­seeded, roughly chopped ¼ cup tomato paste 1 tea­spoon salt 1 bay leaf Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion and gar­lic and fry un­til soft. Add the beef (in batches if nec­es­sary) and brown. Add the spices and fry for a few min­utes, then add the toma­toes, tomato paste, salt, bay leaf and enough wa­ter to barely cover the meat (about 1-2 cups).

Bring to the boil, then sim­mer, half cov­ered, for about 2 hours or un­til ten­der. You can make this the day ahead, and re­heat be­fore cook­ing the pu­lao. At this point you could re­move the meat from the bones.

FOR THE PU­LAO

6 ta­ble­spoons veg­etable oil 2 car­rots, scrubbed and cut into ba­tons ½ cup sul­tanas or raisins 2 ta­ble­spoons sugar 2 or­anges ½ tea­spoon saf­fron threads or pow­der 2 ta­ble­spoons rose­wa­ter 500g long thread bas­mati rice 1 tea­spoon whole car­da­mon pods 2 tea­spoon whole cloves 1 cin­na­mon quill 2 bay leaves 75g sliv­ered al­monds co­rian­der leaves, sliced spring onion and sliced lemon to serve Heat 1 ta­ble­spoon of the oil, add the car­rots, sul­tanas or raisins and sugar and fry for a few min­utes, then add a dash of wa­ter and cook un­til the car­rots are ten­der. Set aside.

Peel the orange skins, try­ing not to get too much of the white pith. Thinly slice the peel and blanch in boil­ing wa­ter for 2 min­utes then drain and re­fresh in cold wa­ter. Set aside.

Soak the saf­fron in the rose­wa­ter for 1 hour. Soak the rice in cold wa­ter for 1 hour, then drain and rinse. Put the spices and 2 ta­ble­spoons of the oil in a saucepan of wa­ter, add a good ta­ble­spoon­ful of salt and bring slowly to the boil. Add the rice and cook for 5 min­utes, then drain well.

Put the rice into a large saucepan. Add the braised beef on one side, the car­rots and sul­tanas on the other, and scat­ter over the orange peel and the saf­fron-in­fused rose­wa­ter. Cover with a tight-fit­ting lid and steam very gen­tly over low heat for 15 min­utes. Turn off the heat and let the rice steam for an­other 10 min­utes.

While the rice is cook­ing, fry the al­monds in the re­main­ing 3 ta­ble­spoons oil un­til golden. Drain the al­monds and spread on pa­per tow­els.

Gen­tly scoop the car­rots and sul­tanas out of the saucepan and set aside. Mix the beef through the rice then re­move from the heat and put onto a warmed plat­ter. Scat­ter over the car­rots and sul­tanas and the al­monds. Gar­nish with co­rian­der leaves, sliced spring onions and lemon slices.

Serve with a salad of equal parts ba­tons of cu­cum­ber and car­rot, seeded and sliced toma­toes, thinly sliced red onion, spring onions and chopped co­rian­der. Sea­son with salt and lemon juice just be­fore serv­ing.

OP­PO­SITE TOP LEFT Rangeen Baz­muna and Sasi Syed Niya­math­ul­lah

TOP RIGHT Amutha Kugatheesan

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