By Cam Lucadou-Wells
The Share Plate Cookbook speaks volumes for the multitudes of cuisine in Greater Dandenong.
Its 24 lavishly illustrated recipes include soups, mains and desserts selected from a spread of traditions in the community.
There’s exotica such as raw fish salad from Borneo, pumpkin jam from Russia, kisra pancakes with okra from South Sudan, and Samoan sapasui.
And then there’s contributor Gavin Mandrelle’s pork vindaloo.
He’s loved the dish since he was a child growing up in India.
The recipe had been handed down from his Portugese grandmother to his mother, but never written down.
In 2014, he phoned his mother back in India for the recipe – a week before she died.
“It’s absolutely sentimental for me.
“It has a big place in my heart. On the anniversary when mum died, I always prepare this dish in her memory.”
The pork neck brews in a pressure cooker, along with potatoes, spices, vinegar, a heap of ginger and a spoon of hot English mustard. It cooks perfectly in 13 minutes, Mr Mandrelle says.
The spices are swallowed in a sweet-and-sour tang – a world from the coconut-based curries common in India’s south.
“None of her recipes were written down, just word of mouth from her mum.
“That’s how I remember my mum’s cooking as well. I learnt by watching her cook at home, I was fascinated by what she’d make.”
Mr Mandrelle says he’s keen to try other cuisine from the cookbook, such as the alsi pinni (flaxseed balls) that hail from India but he’d never tried before.
“I don’t really experiment with desserts but there’s a Mexican Dessert Flan (with a Moroccan twist) that looks delicious.”
Other authentic fare is featured from China, Thailand, Greece, Pakistan, Romania, Borneo, Sri Lanka, Holland, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Mauritius, Lebanon, Russia, Malaysia and Ireland.
The book was created by Greater Dandenong Council in partnership with Southern Migrant and Refugee Centre, Wellsprings for Women, Monash Health, Dandenong Neighbourhood House and Chisholm Institute.
It was supported by the State Government.
The book is available to borrow from Greater Dandenong Libraries.