For over 300 hundred years Indonesia was colonized by the Dutch untill 1942 when the Japanese took over for a few years until our independence in 1945. The Dutch have influenced so many aspects in our lives; from our laws to some of our delicacies and even the usage of words that we have incorporated in our language. Thoughout many cities across Indonesia you will find grandiose colonial houses and stately buildings - remnants of our rich history. There are still pockets of areas that are lined with colonial style houses and in the old part of the city, many of these buildings that are now museums have been restored but there are equally as many that are left vacant and deteriorating. Sadly, way too many have been demolished...
Cheese is a food product that was introduced to us by the Dutch. It is not a food staple that is indigenous to our culture. Yet today, you can pass street vendors selling "Roti Bakar" which is Bread grilled over a fire and filled with cheese and corned beef or to my disgust; "Nasi Goreng Keju" which is fried rice with cheese. Mind you it's not real cheese that they use but rather processed cheese like Kraft or some generic version of it. That is to be expected however because street food is dirt cheap and real cheese ain't.
The pictures I have uploaded are just to name a few snacks that are Dutch influenced. The third picture is "Risoles" - like a breaded rolled crepe filled with vegetable ragout. I always add chopped shitake mushrooms, it just gives it an extra "je ne sais crois" with every bite. Most Risoles that are sold here have been adapted to Indonesian taste - making the ragout a bit sweet and not to my liking.
The second picture is "Kaastengels" or cheese sticks. Recently I spoke to some friends who lived in Holland for many years and they told me that "kaastengels" is not Dutch. It's not something found in supermarkets or bakeries in Holland. So now I'm obsessed trying to find out how it originated because it's always interesting to know a bit of history - makes for conversation when conversation runs dry. Every one has their own way of making "kaastengels". I remember years ago I was in Surabaya staying at a very modest home and I was helping the family make "kaastengels" because I was a guest and they wanted to make something special. The only cheese they used was Kraft and that was sprinkled on sparingly on the top only. The flavor of the batter was made from maggi cube blocks. It actually wasn't bad, considering the ingredients used. It was a lovely gesture and it just goes to show how innovative Indonesians are in adjusting ingredients to meet their budget. My interpretation of "kaastengels' is a little different. It is loaded inside out with aged Edam cheese and every bite has crunchy bits of Edam that is a result of slow baking in the oven for a very long time. It's a tedious process and the reason why I only make it during Ramadhan and Christmas for dear friends & family only.
The first photo is "Kroket Ayam" or Chicken croquettes. The only difficulty in making this is getting the consistency of the ragout right so that it oozes out gently with every bite. Like all the above snacks, this can be bought anywhere, some are potato based (like a knish that you buy on the streets of Manhattan) and some are what I call pseudo ragout, because the ragout is so thick and too ladened with starch. The potato based croquette is usually accompanied with small fresh green chilli and the ragout based croquette with mustard. In this case it's Dijon but I actually prefer Hot English mustard because of the rush that flows through my sinuses like the sensation that wasabe gives you.
These are only but a few food items that are Dutch influenced, in time I will elaborate on main meals that are Dutch inspired...In the meantime, savor every meal with thankfulness and always try to share it with some one.