When we want to feel good we often cook food that brings us comfort and joy. We happily share it with family and friends to give us that instant connection and a sense of belonging. The unique Indo Dutch cuisine brings the best of two cultures (Indonesian and Dutch) together in a fusion cooking style that originated in the former Dutch East Indies (modern Indonesia) and has evolved over a period of more than 350 years. Indo Dutch cuisine is a little known cooking style, the heart of the Indo Dutch diaspora – a community who brought their food habits with them to the countries they migrated to (mainly Netherlands, United States, Australia, Canada).
Many dishes are home cooked meals based on time honored family recipes and influenced by the region the family came from. Here is a selection of just 10 favorite Indo Dutch dishes* that rank high on the charts of many families. The list can easily be 20+.
Pork, chicken or lamb cubes in a tasty marinade on bamboo skewers, roasted over smoldering charcoal. Can you smell it?
Babi Kecap (ketjap old spelling) is braised pork cubes in sweet soy sauce, served with steamed rice or with boiled potatoes.
Huzzars (Russian) Salad Indo Dutch Style with potatoes, vegetables and made with beets that give the salad its pink color. You can also ad leftover beef or pork. Usually served on hot summer days with slices of baguette. Come back for more during the day.
This meatloaf dish is also known as Frikadel Panggang (Indonesian for oven roasted) and is a favorite of many Indo Dutch families. Simple to make and there are different recipes with different spices and include potatoes in the mixture. Served with steamed rice and fresh cucumber sticks. Pour some gravy over your rice and sprinkle some ‘bawang goreng’ (deep-fried shallots) over it and add some chili sauce on the side. Dig in!
So simple to make, this braised chicken (breast, drumsticks) in Sweet Soy Sauce and spices, with rice and a vegetable dish and some krupuk udang (shrimp crackers).
The well know split pea soup with ‘rookworst’ (smoked sausage) from Holland was served in the former Dutch East Indies over steamed rice with sambal oelek on the side. Especially during the winter season this meal is still served in many Indo Dutch households, wherever they reside.
Yes the Indo Dutch people have a Mac’n Cheese version on their menu. Served warm or cold with sambal oelek and some sweet and sour pickles.
Gado Gado is Indonesian for mix mix. A mixed (blanched) vegetable salad served with spiced peanut sauce that knows many variations.
Another home cooked oven dish that ranks high on the charts of Indo Dutch families. Ground beef, a mix of vegetables and rice vermicelli under a blanket of mashed potatoes.
An all time favorite in Indonesia that started as a breakfast meal made with leftover rice (and scraps) from dinner of the previous evening. Has been introduced in the Netherlands by the influx of Indo Dutch people who migrated to Holland (after Indonesia became independent) and became a dinner menu item now part of Holland’s national cuisine.
Pictures ©2018Jeff Keasberry. Want to know more about this cuisine go to www.cookingwithkeasberry.com or check the first Indo Dutch heritage cookbook: Indo Dutch Kitchen Secrets, available online at amazon.com or barnes&nobles.
* This list is just a selection of popular and not necessarily the TOP dishes. To stick with 10 popular home cooked dishes of Indo Dutch families that would otherwise not be mentioned. The most popular No. 1 dish mentioned on Indonesian/Malaysian food lists is often RENDANG and will get its own post. For this article we decided to mention other 10. More meals will be added in ‘the next 10 Indo Dutch comfort foods’ list and also savory snacks, sweets and drinks.