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Community Cook - Edna Lemong

EDNA CAME TO LIVE in Darwin four years ago, armed with a passion for cooking and a love for her new home. But she still loves her homeland – the small town of Naguilian in the region of La Union in the Philippines. 

By Emma Lupin

With similar plants to the Philippines, Edna loves being able to cook traditional recipes in Darwin. She relishes the opportunities offered to learn and connect with new people in the Top End, and loves to share her passion with her community. 

“One day, my dream is to open a restaurant. I would love that, and to share my cooking skills and help others,” she says.

On a beautiful Dry season day in Nightcliff, at The Mulch Pit Community Garden, Edna shared her story of coming to Darwin along with this easily made but delicious recipe from her home region. She was joined by local food enthusiasts, community gardeners and other migrant women.

It includes green pawpaw, which grows easily all year around in Darwin, and lemongrass and moringa, also commonly grown in the Top End. 

Tinolang Manok

Chicken Soup with Moringa and Lemongrass
4 cloves of garlic
1 onion
1 tbsn. of coconut oil
10-12 chicken thighs and wings 1 large chunk of ginger
I litre of veggie stock
10 stems of lemongrass 
1 medium green papaw
1 litre jug full of Moringa  
– small tip leaves

Cut onion, garlic  
and grate the ginger
Cut the pawpaw into small 
(3cm) pieces
Fry onion, garlic and ginger in  the oil for a couple of minutes
Add the chicken and fry this for 5 minutes until browned
Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil
Add the lemongrass, tied in a large bundle
Boil for 10 minutes
Add the green pawpaw and boil for 15 more minutes or until tender
Add the moringa leaves just before serving
Serve with rice 

If you know a community cook in Darwin who would like to share their recipe, GULP NT can organise a gathering with their small team. $100 plus ingredients can be offered to the participating cook for hosting and sharing. Get in touch today and share your stories and food love. | gulpcommunity@gmail. com

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