Melbourne's Best Snacks: Mabu Mabu's damper with whipped golden syrup butter

Published on 7 February 2022

Photo: Mabu Mabu's damper with whipped golden syrup butter (illustration: Yarli Creative).

Damper with whipped golden syrup butter, Mabu Mabu, Yarraville

“Everybody from different countries has their own bread, and I think in Australia, our bread is damper,” says Torres Strait Islander chef and Mabu Mabu owner Nornie Bero. “That’s what I grew up with and that’s all I know, so that’s why it’s important to me.”

Indigenous Australians have been making bread with crushed native seeds and nuts for tens of thousands of years; at her Indigenous café in Yarraville, Bero makes her damper to a recipe she was taught by her father. It comes in either pumpkin or wattleseed varieties – the latter tastes reminiscent of hazelnut, with hints of chocolate and coffee.

Though it’s traditionally baked in an underground oven called kup-murri, Mabu Mabu’s version of the bread is wrapped in banana leaves and steamed in a regular oven. The result is a fluffy and well-hydrated bread that works well as a side – the cafe serves slices alongside heftier dishes such as the kangaroo tail bourguignon or fried green tomatoes – or on its own, served with a decadent whipped golden syrup butter for a sweeter take.

And you can easily make it at home: Mabu Mabu sells kits for making three kinds of damper.

Mabu Mabu, 13 Anderson St, Yarraville.

By Chynna Santos

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