Most Dutch-Indonesians I know mainly eat perkedel jagung (corn fritters) but I’ve always got perkedel kol bunga (cauliflower fritters) growing up. It’s a recipe from a small cookbook called Rijst Tafelen (rice tabling, verbing things is awesome – coming up with eating traditions during colonial times and then adding them to your list of Unesco World Intangible Heritage is not) by Lia Warani. A book I don’t see a lot of other Dutch-Indonesians talk about either.
If you can get your hands on it (and know how to read Dutch/ use a translating app) it’s a pretty fun little addition to your Asian(ish, Dutch-Indonesian food differs from Indonesian food proper) cookbook collection.
In the recipe below I’ve included the original spice mix as suggested by Lia Warana. The recipe is headed ‘bloemkoolkoekjes’ (cauliflower cookies) and then basically says: make the recipe for jagung ‘koekjes’ (cookies) but replace the corn with cauliflower. Obviously you could replace the cauliflower with corn in my recipe.
I’ve also included the spice mix I used for the photos. Which is the spice mix from Nik Sharma‘s eggplant pilaf from Season (order in the US or UK). Obviously a completely different dish, but I had some of the mix leftover and it worked really well.
You can leave out most of the spices or just add your own. I like leaving everything but the spring onions out and topping with good ol’ Old Bay for example. The possibilities are endless.
How do I eat cauliflower fritters?
I grew up having these as a side with rice and a pork and potato perkedel. Nowadays I have them as my main. They go really well with tzatziki or raita stuck on some pita or naan for example.
Perkedel Kol Bunga (Cauliflower Fritters)
A quick and easy recipe for Indonesian style cauliflower fritters from Lia Warani's Rijsttafelen.
Slotted spoon or similar for removing the fritters from the oil
1mediumcauliflowerchopped, see instructions
4 T- 60 gflouryou can use plain, corn, rice, etc. also work
1/2 c- 125 mlwater+ a little extra, if you don't want to eat vegan 2 eggs with 2 T of water also works
4spring onionsfinely chopped
vegetable oilfor shallow frying, I prefer sunflower
Option 1: Lia Warani's spice mix
1 1/2 T- 25 gdesiccated coconut
1chilideseeded and finely chopped
Option 2: Nik Sharma's spice mix
1/2 t- 2.5 gground black pepper
1/2 t- 2.5 gground coriander
1/4 t- 1.25 gground chili flakes
1/4 t- 1.25 gground turmeric
1/4 t- 1.25 gground green cardamom
1/4 t- 1.25 gground cloves
whatever you think works
To prepare the cauliflower
Remove the outer leaves from your cauliflower and then start slicing off the outer layer of the florets.* You should cut about 1/4 inch - 5mm deep. Crumble these layers into smaller pieces of various sized using your hands. Note: little bits of cauliflower will get everywhere, but I promise you it's worth it.
Make the perkedel kol bunga
Mix together 4 T - 60 g of flour of choice with 1/2 c - 125 ml of water thoroughly until you have a thin batter.
Now mix the spring onions and cauliflower and whichever spice mix you are using into the batter until well combined.
Preheat a thin layer of oil in a frying pan on a medium-high heat and set aside a plate with some paper towels.
Once the oil is good and hot, it should be shimmering but not smoking, remix the cauliflower batter with your spoon, so you get a good mixture of batter and vegetable in your serving spoon and spoon out an even layer, gently sliding it into the hot oil and flattening it a little into an even layer. If pieces of cauliflower separate themselves just gently tuck them back or attach them to the fritter with a little more batter.
Bake on one side until golden and crisp and then turn over and bake until the top is golden and crisp. This takes about 2-4 minutes on each side. Do not overcrowd the pan, in my frying pan I can bake about 3-4 max per batch.
Remove from the pan. Drain on the kitchen towel and season with salt. They are most delicious fresh and great with rice and some greens, as a snack, on some pita with tzatziki or raita, etc. etc.
Once fried these cauliflower fritters keep for about 2-3 days in the fridge. You can reheat them in 10-15 minutes in a hot oven at 400 °F - 210 °C.* For this recipe you will be left with the core of the cauliflower. I would use this to make a nice and creamy cauliflower soup.
Keyword easy vegan, easy vegetarian, fritters, Indonesian food, Indonesian recipe, kid friendly, kol bunga, kubis bunga, vegan sides, vegetarian sides
This recipe for bubur ketan hitam, Indonesian black rice pudding, comes from the award winning Dutch cookbook Indorock by rockstar food stylist Vanja van der Leeden. She created an amazing book, re-introducing the Netherlands to Indonesian food. To explain why that was necessary, I’m afraid a little history lesson is in order. Or just scroll down for the recipe.
The Dutch-East Indies
The Netherlands was a huge colonial power during what locally is still referred to as The Golden Age. One of ‘our’ territories was Indonesia, a vast archipelago of different people and cultures that were pulled together through colonial rule by the Portuguese, British and Dutch, mostly to gain dominance over the global spice trade. This dominance lasted for around 300 years.
Once the war ended Indonesia claimed independence and the Dutch were booted out. With that a lot of people of European-Indonesian descent were kicked out as well.
The Dutch had managed the colony in part by giving certain Indo-Europeans a special status, above native Indonesians. They used us (yes I am one of them) as a sort of mid level management. With all the perks of whatever being mid management entails. But also with the clear distinction that we were never going to be white, with all that that entails.
As a result of our position and attempts of some Indo-Europeans to become the new senior level managers in Indonesia after Dutch rule, Indonesians were weary off those of us who had collaborated with the Dutch and kicked us out.
Indo-Europeans were initially born out of sex slavery and later through covert forms of sex slavery, where a housekeeper would also have to ‘keep’ her employer in other ways.
Depending on the politics of the day, children born from these arrangements (interracial marriages did occur, but were illegal or otherwise punished at various times in colonial history) would be allotted this special status (or not) and even be taken away from their Indonesian mothers once a European man finally found a wife ‘proper’ (i.e. a white one). You can get a glimpse of these practices by reading about the life of my grandfather.
Because laws and practices about Indo-Europeans changed over time, our family histories are all very different. We are often spoken of as a coherent group, but we’re really not. A lot of (unacknowledged) Indo-Europeans stayed behind, some by force, some by choice. There are even some Indo-Europeans that were never accepted by the Netherlands nor by Indonesia and are still living as stateless people in Indonesia, surviving on donations.
Sooo, what does this have to do with food?
People often think Indonesian food is popular in the Netherlands. But what is really popular here is colonial Dutch-Indonesian food (also known as ‘Indisch eten’). A mishmash of Indonesian food and Dutch ideas and adjustments of it, that were brought here after a lot of us were booted out of the country and ‘repatriated’ (though most of us had never been here before) to the Netherlands.
Often, because of the status these refugees had in the colonies, they didn’t know how to cook. Most of them had a kokkie (a cook) in Indonesia. So once they got here and wanted a taste of home, they had to make stuff up. On top of that a lot of the ingredients used in the Dutch East Indies weren’t available here, so they had to improvise even further.
I got lucky because my grandmother started cooking at a very young age. She survived the war by selling small snacks on the streets. Her parents were afraid to go outside because her father was considered a collaborator for the Dutch. But was considered too Indonesian to be interned by the Japanese (not that that would have been any better, see my grandfather’s story linked above).
After Indonesian independence, my grandparents fled to New Guinea. There my grandmother ran a catering company. Until finally, after 5 years of pleading and begging (we weren’t considered European enough to repatriate), they were allowed to flee to Holland in 1962 where both my grandparents worked in factories while my grandmother sold snacks on the side.
So: my grandmother a) knew the original recipes and b) knew how to replace ingredients she couldn’t find. Though I imagine there’s a lot of stuff she didn’t even try because ingredients weren’t available. I remember we didn’t get pandan cake until the mid 90s and it was just a ready mix for chiffon cake.
To bring it back to Vanja’s amazing Indorock. The Dutch interpretation of Indonesian food had been at a standstill for decades. Fed by nostalgia for our former home, or our grandparents’ homes (as in my case), what we were eating was a maybe 30’s to 40’s Dutch colonial interpretation of Indonesian food. With the kind of tweaks a diaspora makes when ingredients are missing.
Vanja traveled through Indonesia as it is now and brings its current flavors to us. Adding in some of her own ideas and preferences. In Indorock she highlights the many chefs, restaurants and people she met during her travels. She finishes off with small but crucial touches like explaining the difference between ‘Indisch’ and Indonesian. And using current Indonesian spelling for foods, rather than Dutch colonial spelling that is more commonly used here.
Bubur ketan hitam is just one of over a 130 exciting and inspiring recipes, that are all super fresh and light compared to the stodgy cooking of 40’s colonial Indonesia. At the moment Indorock is only available in Dutch and German, but hopefully it gets picked up internationally soon as well.
Want to know more about Indonesia?
As you may have noticed I’m not just into food but also very interested in Dutch Indonesian (post)colonial history. I think being a child of refugees. Growing up in what is essentially lost (colonial) culture for the first 20 years of my life have really informed the rest of my well… life.
It always surprises me how little people speak and know about Indonesia globally because it is the 4th most populous country in the world. It’s also one of the largest countries in the world.*
P.A. Toer‘s The Buru Quartet, this is a long read but it gives a fictionalized history of Indonesia from the butt end of the colonial period until a little after Indonesian independence and gives you a really great insight into Indonesian history. I cannot recommend it enough (and I recommend it always)
Indonesia Etc. from Elizabeth Pisani, a sort of travelogue through Indonesia as it is now and a great explanation of how complex a nation Indonesia is (though I found some of it a bit Eurocentric)
Sri Owen‘s Indonesian Food, Sri is the Grande Dame of Indonesian cooking and while I don’t have her book yet she is the Grande Dame for a reason
For Coconut&Sambal by Lara Lee worked with Sri Owen among others, and her book is hopefully the first in a long line of new Indonesian cookbooks available in English
De Njai by Reggie Baay explains the history of Indo-Europeans and the njai, our fore mothers, in great and painful detail. Unfortunately it’s only available in Dutch right now
De Bijbel van de Indonesische Keuken by Maureen Tan is unfortunately only available in Dutch for now, but in this book Maureen organised a huge amount of Indonesian dishes by island and region, using local batiks for specific recipes, making this one of the most complete books on Indonesian cooking you will probably find
There are many more interesting books, so if you want even more I suggest you get to Googling.
* For the record: I have yet to visit Indonesia. As a teenager I hated the question if I’d ever been ‘back’. And later I hated the idea of going ‘back’ to a place that really doesn’t exist anymore. Indonesia is not the country my grandparents left behind and I do not feel a special connection to Indonesia as such. I am well aware I’d be a tourist. Now I would love to visit, but finding the time and funds (and now corona) means I’ll probably be a while.
Now, for that recipe…
Bubur ketan hitam - Indonesian black rice porridge from Indorock
Bubur ketan hitam is an Indonesian black glutenous rice porridge served as breakfast or as an afternoon pick me up. It's quite heavy, but in smaller portions it also makes for a nice dessert.
2.5 oz- 75 grgula jawathis is Javanese palm sugar, accept no substitute!
1/2 t- 2.5 grsalt
For the pandan coconut milk
13.5 oz - 400 mlcoconut milklook for coconut milk with low water content, it's often marked by stores as coconut milk for desserts
1/4 t- pinchsalt
2largepandan leavestied into a knot, OR
1/2 t- 2.5 grpandan pastebe sure to get paste, pandan essence is gross
For the sweet potato chips
6.5 oz- 200 mlwater
6.5 oz- 200 grplain sugar
1/2sweet potatocut into thin slices
sunflower oilfor frying
1handfulpistachiosunsalted, roughly crushed
The night before (or 8 hrs ahead of time)
Wash 7 oz - 200 gr of black glutenous rice and soak it in at least double the amount of water overnight.
To make the rice porridge
Add 4 c - 1 liter of water to the glutenous rice and the water you used to soak it in overnight. Add 6 lime leaves, grate 05" - 2 cm of ginger into the pan and mix it into the rice.
Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and leave to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning.
Stir in 2.5 oz - 75 gr of gula djawa and 1/2 t - 2.5 gr of salt and leave to simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Your rice should now have reached a porridgy consistency. Remove from the heat and set aside.
To make the pandan coconut milk - make this while the rice is cooking
While the rice is cooking, slowly heat 13.5 oz - 400 ml coconut milk in a saucepan with 1/4 t - pinch salt and 2 large pandan leaves tied into knots or 1/2 t - 2.5 gr of pandan paste.
Allow the flavors to slowly combine for around 10 minutes before removing the pan from the heat.
To make sweet potato chips - make this while the rice and coconut milk are cooking
Bring 6.5 oz - 200 ml water to the boil with 6.5 oz - 200 ml of plain sugar.
One the sugar water mixture has come to the boil, briefly cook the thin slices of sweet potato in the sugar water - 5 minutes or so. Remove and pat dry.
Now heat some sunflower oil in a pan to 360° F - 180° C. You can test whether the oil is the right heat by throwing in one potato slice. If the oil comes to a ferocious bubble immediately, you're ready to fry.
Fry the sweetened sweet potato slices to a crisp and leave them to cool on some paper towels.
Squeeze some lime juice into the rice porridge to bring up the flavor, or serve lime wedges on the side so people can adjust according to their own taste.
Depending on how many people you're serving and how hungry you are, divide the rice porridge across 2 - 4 plates, with some of the coconut milk, a handful of sweet potato chips and toss some roughly crushed unsalted pistachios on top.
I don't like reheated porridge, but maybe you do. I'm sure the sauce and porridge will keep for a day.I recommend frying up a whole sweet potato because odds are you'll eat half of the sweet potato chips before you're ready to serve.
Keyword black pudding, breakfast, Indonesian food, Indonesian recipe, indorock, porridge, vanja van der leeden
I used to dislike gado gado until I realised I can just omit the veggies I dislike. Now I make a combo of the veggies that work for me. As pictured here.
The vegetarian cheat code for gado gado
It was the first staple dish I cooked for vegetarian friends when they came round for dinner. But it wasn’t until this year that I learned that you can make it vegan or vegetarian by replacing the trassi (fermented prawn paste) with miso.
Gado gado slaw for Indonesian chicken and waffles
I use the sauce to make a gado gado style slaw with grated red cabbage, white cabbage and carrots for my Indonesian chicken and waffles. And replace the boiled egg with crispy oven-baked tofu puffs for vegan friends.
When and how do I eat gado gado?
Gado gado’ll do nicely for lunch or dinner and should comprise a full meal in itself, with maybe a side of kerupuk or prawn crackers.
I still get angry when people put weird shit like bell peppers in their gado gado. Or boiled blubbery bean sprouts? But I guess at least they’re eating it. So if that’s what you wanna do I’m not stopping you.
Gado Gado: Classic Indonesian Salad
This classic Indonesian salad recipe with spicy peanut sauce is a great staple to feed your vegetarian and vegan friends and yourself. Never forget yourself.
3red chiliesfinely chopped with the white core and seeds removed if you prefer less heat
2 t- 8 gr trassifermented prawn paste, use miso to make this vegan
1" - 1.5 cmgalengal freshly grated, or replace with 1/2 tsp dried
1 1/2 T- 20 grtamarind pulp
2 T- 30 gr palm sugar
7 T- 100 gr peanut butteras plain as possible
3makrut lime leavessmashed and bruised
1.5 oz- 50 gr creamed coconutyou can find this in Asian supermarkets
1 T- 15 mlkecap manissweet Indonesian soy sauce
For gado gado my way
headlettuceof choice, avoid anything too bitter, I like little gems myself
1eggper person, soft boiled - skip if you're eating vegan
tofu puffsas many as you like, either store-bought or home made (see notes)
1 c- 50 grbean sproutsbrown bottoms removed, definitely not cooked
2 c- 75 grnew potatoescooked for about 15 minutes in salted water
1/2 cucumbersliced to whatever dimensions you enjoy
For gado gado slaw
1 c- 100 grred cabbagegrated
1 c- 100 grwhite cabbagegrated
1/2 c- 50 gr carrotsgrated
3spring onionssliced into thin rings
Prep your veg first, I like my combination of 1 head of lettuce, 1 egg per person, a handful of tofu puffs, 1 c - 50 gr of bean sprouts, 2 c - 150 gr of boiled new potatoes and 1/2 sliced cucumber, but you can have this with whatever and however many veg you like.
To make the sauce
Place 1 1/2 c - 350 ml of water in a small saucepan, add 2 finely chopped shallots, 3 finely chopped red chilies (seeds and pith removed for less heat), 3 finely minced garlic cloves, 2 t - 8 gr trassi, 1 inch freshly peeled and grated galengal, 1 1/2 t - 20 gr tamarind, 2 T - 30 gr palm sugar, 3 bruised lime leaves and a pinch of salt and bring to the boil.
Once the water spice mixture has come to the boil, lower the heat and stir in 7 T - 100 gr of peanut butter.
Let it come back up to the boil, then reduce the heat one last time and add 1.5 oz - 50 gr creamed coconut. Stir until dissolved and take the sauce off the heat.
Finish by stirring in 1 T - 15 ml of kecap manis to give the sauce a slight gloss.
To compose your gado gado or gado gado slaw
When the sauce has cooled completely,either:
Plate up your veggies, tofu puffs, new potatoes and eggs and add a nice big dollop of the sauce on top of it. OR:
Mix a few tablespoons of the sauce into a large bowl 1 c - 100 gr red cabbage, 1 c - 100 gr white cabbage, 1/2 c - 50 gr of carrot and 3 finely sliced spring onions until everything is coated in a thin layer of the sauce.
You can find my recipe for oven-baked tofu puffs here.The peanut sauce will keep for 5 days in a closed container in the fridge but you need to allow it to cool to room temperature before you store it.If re-using, remove from the fridge and let it get back up to room temperature and give it a good stir before adding it to anything as it does get quite firm once cooled down completely or reheat in a sauce pan and add water until you get your desired consistency.
Keyword Asian food, asian recipes, gado gado, Indonesian food, Indonesian recipe, Salad, slaw
I guess everybody’s favorite fried chicken is the fried chicken they grew up on, so this is mine. I could eat buckets of this even as a young one. Now I rarely make it and when I do, it’s part of my Indonesian chicken and waffle recipe.
There are more complex versions of this dish online, but this is how I know it and I accept no substitute.
I could say more about this but it’s fried chicken. What else is there to say?
How do I eat Indonesian fried chicken?
I like having mine with plain white rice and some lightly pickled cucumber or gado gado slaw. You can also coat your chicken in your sambal of choice straight after frying for added oomph or make throw it on the barbecue instead of frying it.
8pieceschickenskin on, bone in - I like thighs myself
neutral oilfor deep frying
The evening before you want to eat
Mix together 3/4 c - 75 gr tamarind pulp, 1 T - 15 gr salt with 2 c - 500 ml of lukewarm water until most of the tamarind and salt are dissolved.
Gently score the chicken skin of 8 pieces of chicken before placing the pieces in the tamarind mixture and leave to marinade overnight.
The day of
Heat your deep fat fryer or oil to 180° C/ 350° F.
Fry your chicken in batches. I like to fry mine lid off for about 5-7 minutes and then placing the lid on for an additional 10 minutes to add. You're looking for some really dark crisp caramelized edges.
Please note: Dutch chickens tend to run smaller and my pieces are fried within 15-20 minutes max, bigger pieces may take longer.You can keep left-over cooled chicken in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a oven at 175° C/ 350° F for 10-15 minutes or until crisp.
Keyword Asian food, asian recipes, chicken, fried chicken, Indonesian food, Indonesian recipe
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.