Simplicity of Dutch cuisine to be savored

The Netherlands is the second-largest agricultural producer in the world and it's easy to find their imported foods in Shanghai. But not so many people have tried Dutch cuisine.

The Netherlands is the second-largest agricultural producer in the world and it’s easy to find their imported foods in Shanghai. But not so many people know or have tried Dutch cuisine.

Onny Jalink, Deputy Consul-General of Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, introduced several classic Dutch creations like bitterballen and gehaktballen on a recent Dutch food taste event.

Bitterballen is a tiny fried meatball typically made of ground beef or veal. It has a crisp shell as the meatballs are dipped in egg white and bread crumbs before they are deep fried.

“Bitterballen is something the Dutch people order with beer at bars, we grew up with the flavors,” explained Jalink.

These little meatballs are often served with drinks as part of a bittergarnituur, a selection of snacks, including Gouda cheese, egg rolls and sliced local sausage.

Gehaktbal is a large Dutch meatball made out of minced beef and pork meat, eggs, onion and bread crumbs.

Pepernoot is a tiny traditional spiced cookie for Dutch Christmas that has a taste of cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s similar to a Belgian Lotus Biscoff cookie but spicier.

A lot of Dutch dishes are associated with cold winter, like erwtensoep, a thick pea soup made from dried split green peas and other vegetables, plus different cuts of pork. Flavor wise, Dutch dishes are often rich and salty, as the country is famous for the seafood, explained Koen Vessies, executive chef at El Willy.

“Because our country is on the seaside, the seafood itself has got a salty flavor, and before there were fridges, the preservation method was to use salt, so we use a lot of salted products,” he said.

And as the world’s largest exporter of dairy, the Dutch cuisine uses a lot of cheese and butter.

Traditional Dutch cuisine is simple, and meals consist of meat, potatoes and vegetable.

But today, Dutch chefs are becoming more innovative in turning the traditional flavors into exciting new dishes.

Dutch Bitterballen from chef Koen Vessies

Li Anlan / SHINE

The Dutch Bitterballen.

Portions: 1

Ingredients:

For the special veal stock:

Veal shank, 500g

Water, 2L

Parsley, 20g

Celery, leek, onion, carrot, tomato,

mushroom, 30g each

Lemon, 15g

Salt, 2g

Pepper, 1g

Cloves, 2

Thyme, 5g

Bay leaf, 2

Chopped parsley, 2g

For the salpicon:

Butter, 100g

Flour, 110g

Special veal stock, 800g

Gelatin, 12g

Nutmeg, 1g

Mustard, 5g

Worchester sauce, 1g

Lemon juice, 2g

Pepper, 1g

Salt, 5g

Steps:

For the special veal stock:

  1. Place the veal shank in cold water and bring to a boil. Remove all the foam and dirt of the top after boiling.
  2. Brown the onion and add to the stock.
  3. Add all the other ingredients to the stock and simmer on very low fire for 6 hours.
  4. Strain the stock, keep the meat and the stock. The vegetables you can throw away

For the salpicon:

  1. Brown the butter slowly and add the flower.
  2. Cook the flour and butter mix for 3 minutes on low fire while stirring.
  3. Add the special veal stock, little by little whisking constantly.
  4. Add the gelatin and remove from the fire.
  5. Season the salpicon with the other ingredients.
  6. Add the meat to the salpicon and keep in the fridge.
  7. After the salpicon is cold, make balls of 25 gram each.
  8. Dip the balls in egg white and bread them with bread crumbs. Store in the fridge.

To assemble and serve:

  1. Heat the fryer to 185 degrees Celsius.
  2. Fry the balls in the oil until golden color.
  3. Check with a toothpick if the center is hot.
  4. Serve on a napkin to take off exceeding oil.
  5. Serve with mustard.

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