Posts Tagged ‘rijsttafel’

Forget blue, what about Carolina oranje?

May 12, 2009
The Netherlands has had queens for more than a century

The Netherlands has had queens for more than a century

While the Dutch celebrate Queen’s Day in the Netherlands on April 30, here in the middle of North Carolina the Dutchies celebrate it when they have a nearby available weekend.

Here what it’s called in Dutch: Koninginnedag. I have yet to master that pronunciation. Want to give it a try after listening to this lesson?

Diane and Queen Beatrix go head to head at Dehullu sculpture park in Gees

Diane and Queen Beatrix go head to head at Dehullu sculpture park in Gees

We don’t have anything in the US to compare to Queen’s Day. It’s a day that the royal family, who represent the “House of Orange,” which is a family line and not an “oranje huis,” or house painted orange, come out and play with the common folks. (Sadly this year’s festivities were marred by a loony-toon who drove into a crowd in the city of Apeldoorn, killing seven people and himself.) The whole country parties, but Amsterdam really goes wild.

Though the Royals once took an important leadership role in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, they now are largely symbolic though still admired. Queen Beatrix especially still plays an important part in uniting the country in times of turmoil. And of course the royals keep the paparazzi and gossip rags busy.

Orange was the dominant color during celebrations of De Wieken

Orange dominated De Wieken feest

So every year, no doubt in Dutch clubs around the world, expatriates gather to celebrate their homeland. On Saturday, Wessel and about 40 others from De Wieken (wings of the windmill) Club gathered in Raleigh in their finest orange to dine atop orange tablecloths, and wave the Dutch flag, which in fact is red, white, and blue. They played Dutch trivia (Wessel’s team won!) and then sjoelen (pronounced SHOE-len), a century-plus-old shuffle-board type game.

Special cake to celebrate Queen's Day

Special cake to celebrate Queen's Day

Next on De Wieken’s list is our favorite event, the yearly rijsttafel, featuring Indonesian dishes that the Dutch first started eating after they invaded and colonized the archipelago in the 1600s. Regular readers will recall that Wessel won top prize for his “hete eieren,” or hot eggs. What will he cook up this year? He’s not even telling the royals.

Lang leve de koningin! Hoera! Hoera! Hoera!

Wessel wins with lekker Indonesian dish

September 8, 2008

My spouse, Wessel, has many wonderful qualities, but I would not count his culinary skills among them. Well, not until two weeks ago. Wessel is now the proud champion of the 2008 “best dish” or “het beste garecht” at the annual Rijsttafel (pronounced riced-tahfel) event sponsored by our regional Dutch club. The group, which covers central North Carolina, is called De Wieken, which means “wings of the windmill.”

Wessel’s dish? Hot eggs, or “hete eieren.” (Recipe below.) You go, hon!

Wessel with dish with eggs soaking in hot sambal sauce

Wessel holding dish with hot sambal eggs shortly after preparation

He won 50 bucks (too bad they weren’t Euros) and an apron with a recipe on it in Dutch. Good thing he has his own apron now, because as you can see in the photo here, he had to borrow mine (which my mom made me eons ago) when he made his award-winning dish.

First, some background on rijsttafel, which means “rice table.” It’s an Indonesian spread, featuring rice with many different sauces and side dishes. Indonesian restaurants with rijsttafel dishes are very popular in Amsterdam. The Dutch connection is that from the early 1600s until 1945, Indonesia was a Dutch colony. Some Indonesians still speak Dutch, and when we were there in 2005, we spotted Dutch names all over the place, and even a Dutch cemetery in Jakarta (on the grounds of Museum Wayang).

Guests at the yearly rijsttafel event organized by Dutch club De Wieken

Guests at the yearly rijsttafel event organized by Dutch club De Wieken

The last De Wieken Rijsttafel we attended was two years ago, when, due to lack of planning, we lamely brought something from Whole Foods. This year Wessel took full ownership, studying Indonesian recipes online. Still, I was not hopeful. This is someone who has mixed pineapple and raisins into pasta, and once made me a meal of potatoes, cauliflower and onions. Maybe all-white worked for the Beatles, but not for me.

His choice was inspired by a friend from college at the University of Wageningen, Michel Flipphi, who used to make hot eggs for the study group he and Wessel were in. Basically it’s hard-boiled eggs that sit in a hot sauce with onions for several hours to soak up the flavors.

Me being the alpha cook and general know-it-all, I was convinced he’d never find the main ingredient, the hot sauce sambal oelek, a chile paste. Well, danged if it wasn’t at our local Kroger supermarket. He added another extra-hot sauce made from cayenne peppers on top of that, so then I was sure it would be way too hot. But in fact, it was perfect. He’d never used a wok, but mastered it immediately. He hard-boils eggs differently from me, but they were perfect.

This empty dish convincingly shows why the jury made its decision

As De Wieken was announcing the winner of the “lekkerste” (tastiest) meal, judged by Dutchies with Indonesian pasts, I thought, I hope Wessel isn’t getting his hopes up because he doesn’t have a chance, what with all the amazing and elaborate dishes here. When they called out “hete eieren” I expressed such surprise and excitement that everyone thought I had cooked it. “It was Wessel!” I sputtered. “He never cooks!”

Wessel with prize for best Indonesian dish

Wessel with prize for best Indonesian dish (Click to ENLARGE)

When he took his place on stage, I was bursting with pride, especially after having eaten two large platefuls of food from the Rijsttafel, not counting dessert. Here is the recipe, which Wessel found online at (hete eieren). He has generously translated it to English. If you try it, let us know how it turned out.

Hete Eieren/Hot Eggs

– one large yellow onion
– wok oil
– 6 tablespoons (100 ml) ketchup
– 2-6 tablespoons (30-100 ml) hot sauce
– 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 g) sambal oelek
– 4 tablespoons (60 g) coconut flakes
– 1/2-1 tablespoon (7-15 ml) soy sauce
– 8-12 hard-boiled eggs
– salt to taste

– wok or frying pan
– wooden spoon

– Cut hard-boiled eggs in half
– Finely chop/dice the onion
– Heat the oil in wok or frying pan
– Sautee onions till they begin to brown
– Add add ketchup, hot sauce, soy sauce, and coconut flakes
– Add sambal to preferable level of spiciness
– Pour 3/4 of sauce in dish and put hard-boiled eggs in sauce
– Pour remaining sauce over eggs
– Incubate eggs+sauce for at least 30-60 minutes before serving

Tips from Wessel
– Add a bit of sugar if the taste is too sharp
– Add milk to turn down the heat if needed

Eet Smakelijk!!