The relationship between Indonesia and Holland has influenced life in both countries. Indonesia, with its three thousand islands, located ten thousand kilometers from Holland, used to be the Dutch East Indies. After World War II, when Indonesia gained its independence, many Indonesian Dutch - or Dutch Indonesians - returned to Holland and brought their food culture with them.
The Indonesian rice table, invented by Dutch colonists, consists of rice and several hot and cold side dishes of meat, fish, chicken, vegetables, pickles, nuts, etc. The number of side dishes depends mainly on the number of guests; in a restaurant as many as 22 side dishes may be served.
Serving and Eating a Rice Table
You some steamed white rice on your plate and surround it with small helpings taken from the various side dishes. The meats are usually cut into bite size pieces and are grilled or stewed in rich spicy sauces with onion and garlic and coconut milk. There are also bowls of soupy vegetables and baskets of crispy prawn crackers. The small amounts heaped around the rice should be tasted separately with a little of the rice. The aromatic combination of nutmeg, cloves and ginger is rich and appetizing. No meal is complete without the sambals, the hot spices used in the food.
Most Chinese-Indonesian restaurants serve a mixture of both cuisines. Many dishes have actually been adapted to Dutch taste. Dutch cooking has been enriched by the influence of Indonesia. Nasi and bami goreng are household names. Nasi is made with rice, bami with noodles. Satays - small shish kebobs served with a thick spicy peanut butter sauce and spring rolls - deep fried dough filled with vegetables and meats - are just delicious.
Suitable beverages to drink with Indonesian food are tea or beer.
- Spiced Chicken on Skewers
- 500 g breast of chicken
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- peanut sauce
Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Mix the spices and rub them into the meat. Pour over the soy sauce and the lemon juice and marinate the chicken for several hours. Thread the pieces of chicken onto 6-8 small metal skewers and brush them with a little oil. Grill for about 20 minutes, turning frequently to prevent burning, and serve with hot peanut sauce:
- ½ jar crunchy peanut butter
- (approx. 200 g)
- garlic to taste
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1-2 teaspoons chili pepper
- Indonesian relish (sambal oelek)
- coconut milk, tomato ketchup, salt and sugar to taste
Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan, heat through and season to taste with tomato ketchup, salt and sugar. Serve the sauce separately.
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