Slow roast lamb filled Parāoa Parai with chilli, lime and mint dressing

Recipe and images by Vicki Ravlich-Horan

While some Kiwis have always celebrated Matariki the recent entrenching of this time of year with a national holiday has made it a true national celebration.  Some of us are still learning about the significance of this time of year, from how we can recognise the stars to what each represents – what we can all do is embrace the essence of Matariki.  That is taking time to be thankful for what we have, to pay respect to the past and to look forward to a great future.

This year I have created a dish that pays homage to true Kiwi comfort food, fry bread and a roast lamb.  I’ve ditched the traditional mint sauce, served with roast lamb, one because I hate it and two because I wanted to bring in some Southeast Asian flavours.  Southeast Asian cuisine is possibly the biggest influence on our food after that of British colonisers and so I believe is a part of our food story.

Roast lamb is consistently voted Kiwi’s favourite dish.  In this case I have slow roasted a leg, but for a large crowd or for a big celebration I think this could easily be replaced with a spit roasted whole lamb.  The smokiness would add a hint of hangi flavour while the spit roast pulls in my Croatian heritage.

Slow Cooked Roast Lamb
1 onion
2- cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
Lamb leg approx. 2kg
3 cups beef stock

Peel and slice the onion and place on the bottom of a deep oven dish.  Peel the garlic and place on the onion along with the bay leaf.
Put the leg of lamb on top of the onions, then pour over the stock.
Cover in tin foil and roast in the oven for 5 hours at 135C.
Halfway check you still have sufficient liquid around the lamb.
After four hours remove the foil to allow the lamb to brown.
Once cooked allow the lamb to rest for 15 minutes before carving or more to the point shredding the meat which should just fall apart.  Mix the meat with remaining pan juices and cooked onion.

Parāoa Parai (Fry Bread)
A Fry Bread virgin (maker of not eater that is) I started asking around for the best recipe.  Nourish photographer Ashlee DeCaires recommended one she uses from Maimoa creative which is what I have based mine on.
Makes 20 pieces.

1 cup milk
¾ cup boiling water
1 tbsp Dried Active Yeast
1 tbsp Sugar
4-4 ½ cups High Grade Flour
1 ½ tsp Salt
Oil for frying.

Combine the boiling water and milk in a large bowl.  I did this in the bowl of my stand mixer.  Stir in the sugar and yeast and place in a warm spot for 10-15 minutes until yeast begins to foam.
Add 4 cups of flour and the salt. Fold together gently, being careful not to overmix. If too sticky add more flour.  Knead for 5-10 minutes, then leave (in the bowl), covered to until doubled in size.
Place the dough onto a lightly oiled bench.

TIP -oiling instead of flouring the surface makes for cleaner oil when frying.

Gently pat the dough out to a 2cm thick rectangle and cut into 6cmx6cm squares. Spread the pieces out on an oiled bench to allow or them to rise a little more, cover with a tea towel and leave for another 15-30 minutes.
Heat your oil to 175-180C.  If you don’t have a deep fryer, use a large, heavy bottomed pot with a thermometer.  Oil that is too cold will result in oily bread, too hot and it will burn the outside of the bread while the middle remains raw.
In batches (depending on the size of your deep fryer or pot) carefully places pieces of the dough into the oil and cook until golden brown.
Drain on a paper towel as you cook the rest.

Chilli, Lime, Mint Dressing
½ cup sweet chilli sauce
2 tbsp lime zest
½ cup lime juice
2 tbsp sesame oil
2tbsp fish sauce
½ cup avocado oil
lots and lots of chopped fresh mint (2+cups)

Place all the ingredients in a jar and shake until well combined.  Taste and add more lime juice if needed.

To serve
Split the still warm fry bread in half, add in some watercress, top with warm roast lamb and then drizzle generously with the chilli, lime mint dressing.I laid everything out on the table for everyone to do their own and served these with some roast kumara wedges and roasted cabbage with a miso glaze.




About the Author

Vicki Ravlich-Horan

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