First Nations Food: Poached Barramundi Recipe

As seen in the new First Nations Food cookbook.

These three leaves, in our opinion, are the queens of citrus, eucalypt and honey flavours and their perfumes, infused in the broth, will draw you into the bowl. The base is flexible and can be experimented with in many ways, with different herbs or spices. You can also swap the nut milk for whole milk, coconut milk or even stock or broth and use chicken in place of fish. This is fantastic with coconut rice infused with more lemon-scented gum.

Warndu Australian Native First Nations Food | Poached Barramundi

Poached Barra recipe from First Nations Food Companion (Supplied: Murdoch Books)

Poached Barramundi

Serves 2

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 eschalots, finely diced

10 g (¼ oz) Geraldton wax leaves

2 teaspoons dried ground lemon-scented gum (or 4 whole leaves)

1 teaspoon dried ground white kunzea flower

2 anise myrtle leaves (fresh or dried)

700 ml (24 fl oz) macadamia milk

½ small fennel bulb, chopped

2 garlic cloves, bruised

2 skinless barramundi fillets


Sliced finger limes, blood limes and desert limes

Geraldton wax flowers, to serve

Lemon myrtle and Geraldton wax leaves

Fragrant coconut rice (see below)

Heat oil in a large saucepan over low heat. Add eschalot, Geraldton wax, lemon-scented gum, kunzea and anise myrtle and stir occasionally for 3–4 minutes until softened. This will help to release their oils.

Stir in macadamia milk, fennel and garlic and season to taste with salt and ground pepperberry. Increase heat to medium and bring to a simmer. As broth comes to a simmer, season barramundi on both sides with salt and ground pepperberry.

Reduce heat to low and add barramundi. Cover with a lid and simmer gently for 8–10 minutes, or until barramundi is opaque and flakes easily. Gently remove from broth with a fish slice and place in serving bowls. Strain broth, discarding solids, then pour it over fish. Top fish and broth with limes, flowers and leaves and serve with rice.

Substitution options:

Geraldton wax - lemongrass

Lemon-scented gum - lime leaves

White kunzea - juniper berries

Anise myrtle - fennel seeds

Barramundi - any flaky white fish

Native limes - limes

Fragrant Coconut Rice: 

Coconut rice is a staple in our house because the leftovers can be used to make rice pudding or as a versatile side dish. You can use any myrtle leaf here; try anise or cinnamon myrtle.

Serves 2-3

1 cup (200 g) jasmine rice

8 lemon myrtle leaves (fresh or dried)

½ cup (125 ml) coconut cream

Put rice 2 cups (500 ml) water and lemon myrtle leaves in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5–10 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed. Add coconut cream, remove from heat, stir, cover and leave for at least 5 minutes. Remove lemon myrtle leaves and fluff rice before serving.

Substitution options:

Lemon myrtle leaves - lemon zest