powered by Holland at Home
Dutch cuisine has been peppered with a variety of foreign influences throughout the ages, thanks largely to the Netherlands considerable colonial past. One country that continues to inspire Dutch cooking in particular, is Indonesia – a tropical nation in Southeast Asia that once belonged to the Dutch empire and, until 1949, was known as the Dutch East Indies. To this day, Dutch people of all generations adore Dutch-Indonesian meals, which are typically prepared at home. Some of the most popular Dutch-Indonesian products and dishes in the Netherlands are explored below.
Dutch-Indonesian or Indonesian cuisine?
Many mistakenly believe that Dutch-Indonesian cuisine (‘Indische keuken’) and traditional Indonesian cuisine (‘Indonesische keuken’) are one and the same. Yet, even though ‘Indische keuken’ is similar to ‘Indonesische keuken’, there is a key difference: Dutch-Indonesian cuisine has been carefully adapted to satisfy sensitive Dutch taste buds, leaving it less bold and not as spicy as its true Indonesian counterpart. This conformity to Dutch preferences began during the colonial period, when the traditional Indonesian rice table was already a firm favourite with Dutch citizens living in the Dutch East Indies. After Indonesian independence, many of the Chinese community in Indonesia moved to the Netherlands, where they quickly established an abundance of Chinese-Indonesian restaurants. And it was in these hybrid eateries that the domestic Dutch got their first taste of Dutch-Indonesian cuisine.
The most popular Dutch-Indonesian dishes
Step into any Chinese-Indonesian restaurant in the Netherlands and you’ll immediately notice which Dutch Indonesian dishes are most popular – from nasi goreng (fried rice), bami goreng (fried noodles) and foe yong hai (an omelette in a red sweet and sour sauce) to babi pangang (roast pork in spicy, red-brown sauce), ku lo yuk (deep fried meat in a sweet and sour sauce) and tjap tjoi (fried vegetables in a gelatinous sauce). All of these Dutch-Indonesian favourites are served a number of tasty side dishes too, such as kroepoek (prawn crackers), atjar tjampoer (sweet and sour pickled vegetables), ketjap manis (sweet soy sauce), sambal (chilli sauce), loempias (spring rolls crammed with meat or vegetables) and saté (skewers of grilled meat served with satay sauce).
Preparing Dutch Indonesian meals using Dutch-Indonesian products
Fortunately, you needn’t live in the Netherlands to sample the delights of Dutch-Indonesian cuisine – indeed, you can now purchase all of the Dutch-Indonesian products required to rustle up an authentic range of Dutch-Indonesian meals, from online Dutch supermarket, Holland at Home. And, if you happen to benefit from a nearby Asian supermarket that stocks fresh lemongrass, turmeric, tamarind paste and chilli peppers, you can even create your very own, homemade Dutch Indonesian sauces and pastes. Alternatively, you can order a special range of ready-made Dutch Indonesian spice mixes and Dutch Indonesian meal packs, which simply require the addition of fresh meat and/or vegetables for a fragrant Dutch-Indonesian meal in minutes. Just don’t forget to complete your lunch or dinner with typical Dutch-Indonesian side dishes, such as kroepoek, sambal, ketjap and atjar tjampoer!
Selamat makan! (‘Bon appetit’ in Indonesian)
Prefer to read this article in Dutch? Then visit our sister blog, Heimwee.info, specifically intended for Dutch emigrants.