The foods of the Netherlands take inspiration from any of a number of sources, from the many rich cultural traditions of the Netherlands to the rich farming and fishing practices that continue in the country to this very day. Many Dutch dishes are easily recognizable to those form other countries, being inspired by (or being the inspiration for) other popular dishes. However, there are also a number of dishes that are unique to this region. This makes trying Dutch recipes an especially fun treat for those who have never been to the country and tried the food before.
People turn to Dutch recipes to expand their cooking repertoire for any of a number of reasons. Sometimes people are just looking for something a little bit different to add to their home recipe books. However, Dutch cuisine can be incredibly healthy, and makes use of a number of great, fresh ingredients, which is why so many individuals turn to Dutch recipes in order to expand their options when it comes to delicious, healthy dishes. Check out Udemy’s Healthy Cooking Fundamentals course for more great options.
Poffertjes: A Dutch Favorite
Fans of funnel cakes, pancakes, and other similar types of dishes will find this Dutch favorite a great place to start their exploration of Dutch cuisine. Poffertjes are small puffed pancakes that are relatively easy to make and that can be flavored in a number of different ways, depending on your preferences.
Poffertjes are traditionally made in a poffertjesplaat, a type of pan specially created to give them their two-sided puff. Of course, if you’re just trying Dutch foods for the first time, you probably won’t have this cooking tool on hand. That’s fine – you can still make great poffertjes using a cast iron skillet or a non-stick pan. It’s also recommended that you have a squeeze bottle of some kind on hand for dishing out the batter.
- 1 tsp Instant Yeast
- 1 tbsp Milk
- 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 2 Eggs
- 1 tsp Sugar
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1 ¼ Cups Warm Milk
- 1 tbsp Butter
Begin by dissolving the yeast in the milk. Then, mix together the eggs and flour, after which you will slowly add the milk while stirring to ensure that there are no lumps in the mixture. Add in the salt, and then cover the bowl and set the mixture aside to rise; this process will take about 45 minutes to an hour.
When you’re ready to start cooking, heat your pan and melt the butter. If you have a squeeze bottle ready for the batter, use it to squeeze out small circular pancakes (about two inches in diameter). If you don’t have a squeeze bottle, you can use a spoon to dish out the batter in a circular shape. Flip the poffertjes as soon as they start to set – and watch out, because being so small they’ll cook fast! (On a side note, it can be a good idea to go over the cooking basics before exploring any new type of cooking style to ensure you know how to properly handle any kitchen situation.)
Once they’re finished, serve them with melted butter. Traditionally they’re served with a dash of powdered sugar on top as well, but you can mix them up by topping them with some strawberries and whipped cream, just to name one example. While they’re not a breakfast staple in the Netherlands, they can make for a great breakfast treat.
Draadjesvlees: Slow-Braised Beef
Fans of pot roast and stewed meat dishes may find this traditional Dutch favorite to be a great addition to their culinary repertoire. Draadjesvlees has a number of similarities to similar slow-braised beef dishes found in other countries, with a few flavorful twists that can make it a great alternative, especially for those looking to explore the flavors of the Netherlands.
- 2 lbs. Beef (appropriate for stewing)
- 4 tbsp Butter
- 3 Large Onions (diced)
- 3 ¼ Cups either Beef or Chicken Stock
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 1 tsp Juniper Berries
- 3 Bay Leaves
- 4 Cloves
- 3 tbsp White Vinegar
- Salt and Pepper
After cutting the meat into bite sized pieces, brown it in a pot with melted butter. Add in the diced onions and allow them to caramelize with the meat, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Once this is finished, pour the stock into the pot along with the mixture of seasonings and vinegar. Let the mixture come to a boil, and then bring the temperature down to low. Cover the pot and allow it to simmer for about three to four hours – you can check the beef to determine when it is finished cooking, as it will be very tender and will come apart once it is done. Remove the spices (such as the bay leaves, juniper berries, and cinnamon stick) once finished and serve with side dishes such as boiled pears or cabbage.
Bitterballen: A Bar Food Favorite
Dutch cuisine features finger foods and appetizers just as is the case with any other type of cuisine, and bitterballen is a particular favorite. These meatballs were originally created using the scraps leftover from cooking croquettes, but are now a popular favorite all on their own. They are relatively easy to make, and can be created from any of a number of different meats and vegetables, though beef bitterballen tend to be a favorite. Have them as a snack with your friends, along with a great Dutch beer, and you’ll be sure to see why these are such a great treat.
- 2 cups Beef, Cooked and Pre-shredded
- 3 cups Beef Stock
- 3 tbsp Finely Chopped Onion
- 1 tbsp Fresh Minced Parsley
- 1 Stick of Butter
- 1 Cup Flour
- Salt and Pepper
- Flour, egg, and breadcrumbs
Be aware that you’ll have to have a fryer on hand in order to properly prepare this dish. While they may be delicious, they aren’t the healthiest of snacks! On that note, The Everyday Gourmet: Making Healthy Food Taste Great course on Udemy can guide you through some options for making healthy but delicious foods if you’d like to explore some healthy gourmet recipes. But let’s get back to our Dutch treat.
Part of the process of cooking beef bitterballen involves the preparation of a roux. You will use the flour and the butter for this part of the cooking process. This is fairly simple to make – just melt the butter into the pan, and mix in the flour, stirring constantly, until it forms a paste. After this, just stir in the beef stock, and let that mixture simmer while you add in the onion, parsley, and the meat.
Once this is done, take everything off of the heat. Pour it into a container and refrigerate it for a few hours, or until it is very thick. After this, you can start forming the balls with the chilled gravy mixture. Roll each through flour, then through the egg, and finally through the breadcrumbs. After that, wrapping things up is simple. Fry the bitterballen until they’re a deep golden brown in color, and then serve them up with a side of your favorite mustard and a glass of beer, if you’re so inclined.
More Dutch Recipes for You to Explore
It would be impossible to list all of the great recipes you can explore in one short article. Check out some of these options for more guidance on some delicious Dutch dishes that you can try at home:
- Snert: You’ve probably had split pea soup, but this Dutch favorite puts a bit of a spin on this classic dish. Check out a recipe and give it a try – tradition says it’s better when it’s a day old, so it’s easy to prepare for a meal in advance.
- Krentenbrood (Currant Bread): A Dutch delicacy, this dense bread features currants and/or raisins.
- Rijstevlaai: These pies are much different than the kind most people are used to. With delicious milk rice filling and yeast dough, they’re an interesting and tasty treat for those looking for an introduction to Dutch cuisine.
- Hopjesvla: This Dutch dairy dessert is a strong part of food culture in the Netherlands, and can be flavored in a number of different ways, depending on your preferences.
- Tompoes: If you like the pastry known as the “Napoleon” in the United States, then this sweet Dutch dessert is well worth a try. This flaky, custard-filled pastry is served traditionally with a bright pink frosting, and can be great for celebrations such as birthdays.
- Stroopwafel: You can’t go wrong with a delicious, sweet filling sandwiched between two waffle “cookies”. Stroopwafels have already begun to appear in some shops in the United States, and can be a great Dutch treat to try.
Dutch cuisine is a great place to start expanding your culinary talents, but there are many other types of cuisine that you may consider trying, as well. Cooking in Italian is a great Udemy course that can guide you through the process of learning to cook more “autentico Italiano,” or you can check out the Learn Indian Cooking course on Udemy for something a bit spicier.