At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Monday, April 03, 2017


Somebody asked me recently what the Dutch foods were that I missed the most. Well, herring, of course. Plus frikadel, kroket, boerenkool met worst, snert, and stuff like that. Oh, plus cheese, and eating from the wall. That last is an entire category of delicious and usually deepfried snacks.
American junkfood is kind of repellent.

Actually what I miss the most is Indonesian cooking.

My tastes are for the old-fashioned and familiar items, rather than the adventurously weird stuff.

Marinated meat, skewered and grilled, and served with either peanut sauce or sweet stroppy soy sauce. Either chicken or lamb can be used. The peanut sauce is not the bland Malay or Singaporean type.

Meat inundated with coconut milk, with turmeric, ground coriander, lemon grass and galangal, garlic and ginger, all in rather subtle proportion, and mashed red chilies in excess. Simmered till the coconut milk has severely reduced, leaving a layer of coconut oil, in which the now waxy chunks of meat are seethed to seal them. It keeps well, one or two chunks are enough, and it can be extraordinarily spicy.

Soto Ayam
A lovely curry soup containing chicken, bean sprouts, snippered celery leaf, fried potato wedges, rice noodles, and fried shallot to garnish. Along with a piece or two of hard boiled egg. Other optional garnishes are sliced green chili, cilantro, fried peanuts, and prawn crackers.

Sambal Telur
Hard boiled eggs, peeled and quickly cooked up with a fried chili-onion sauce. A very old-fashioned taste. Very peranakan.

Babi Ketjap
Not really Indonesian, but more Chinese as well as Dutch; Muslims don't eat pork. The meat is simmered in a soy sauce liquid, with only a minor addition of actual Indonesian spices.

Sayur Lodeh
Vegetables cooked mushy in spiced coconut milk broth. Tofu can be added, chunks of fried tofu are particularly good.

Kalio Ayam
Very similar basic prep as rendang, but with chicken. The dish is not cooked anywhere near as long, and is served wet in its sauce.

Babi Panggang
Roast pig. Mostly Chinese Indonesian, though Christian tribesmen and Hindus have their own versions. But in the Netherlands it is a Hong Kong variation, a hunk of pork crispy-fried on the outside, soft tender juicy fatty meat within. Sliced thick, with a somewhat spicy tomato-based sauce.
Available at "Chinees-Indische" restaurants. But not Indo at all.
Properly done it can be delicious.
And depraved.

Guleh Ayam
Chicken in a mild coconut curry sauce. The Chinese-Malay version is very nice indeed.

Fruit and blanched vegetable salad with a sweet, slightly sour-salty chili dressing, crumbled fried peanuts to garnish.

Abon Abon
Spiced meat which has been cooked for a while, taken out and separated into meat fibres, then fry-toasted till crispy.

Sambal Goreng Katjang Pandjang
Long beans (katjang pandjang) stirfried with spices and lots of chilipaste. But many other vegetables are made into sambal goreng -- it is also very nice with egg plant wedges -- and there are also meat versions.
Sambal Goreng Hati (liver with chilies) is excellent.

Semi-raw vegetables dipped in chili paste which contains trasi or petis.

Brined vegetables dressed with a very piquant peanut sauce, served as a small salad.

Seafood tamarind soup, sometimes with a chunk of meat added. Always with a chili or two in the broth, usually some vegetables too.

Bami Goreng
Fried noodles. Let us not dwell upon the North American versions. They're awful. What is it with you people?

I'll travel across several time zones for decent fried noodles
And it is probably raining there as we speak.

[Fairly common flavouring ingredients for much Indo-Dutch food: ground coriander & turmeric, galangal & lemon grass, toasted Coconut, coconut milk, sweet soy sauce, tamarind, fish sauce, shrimp paste, garlic & ginger, crispy fried shallot, chilipaste, fresh chilies, and candlenuts. Plus lime wedges, serundeng, atjar, chopped scallion, and cilantro.]

When I claim that I miss these most, this is actually an untruth; I can and do cook all of this, and the Dutch-Indo influence competes with Chinese ideas in my home cooking. But Indonesian food is best when shared.
So that each person can have a taste of this and that.
Which is what I miss.

Remarkably, neither Javans nor Dutch people are particularly social eaters.
In that respect they're very much like North American wasps.
The Dutch become gregarious around Indo food.
Mighty surprising, that.

The ideal way to conclude a meal that includes dishes such as these is with a shot of old-style Genever, a fine cigar from Oud Kampen, De Olifant, De Heren Ruysdael, or Hajenius, and a small cup of very strong coffee with the natural crema from pressing it on top.

Substitutes, of course, are Irish or Scotch whisky, a Nicaraguan Robusto or a short perfecto rolled in the Dominican Republic, and an espresso, but this is a moot issue, as public smoking will get you lynched by a crowd of angry Berkeleyite heffalumps.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:

All correspondence will be kept in confidence.



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