5 years, 8 months ago
When you think Amsterdam, you think beer, you think chips (Vlaamse Frites which they are famous for), and you think stag nights, right? The realm of the stoner and the party animal? Amsterdam will surprise you, if this is what you expect.
credit : Or Hiltch
Amsterdam is a gorgeous and bohemian city, encased in semi-circular canals and so calm. Dutch food is limited in its offering, although I am a fan of Snert (split pea soup with sausage for dreary winter months) and they do a fantastic Dutch Apple Cake and cover it with cream. What else can you do when it gets so cold there, as it does?
credit: Peter Jan Haas
I will let you in on a well-known secret: Amsterdam is home to the finest Indonesian food in Europe. Also Surinamese, but having tried both at length there I believe that Indonesian is where they excel. From everyday Kantjil & De Tijger downtown, to refined and elegant Blauw out in the suburbs (their rijstaffel is a must when you visit). If you went to Amsterdam and ate nothing else but Indonesian, you would leave very happy.
credit: Jim & Claire
Naturally there are terrific Indonesian food shops and delis also, which is a dream for the passionate home cook. Mom & Pop shops like Aladdin’s caves that sell homemade Indonesian food and ingredients that you may not have come across before. I stocked up and got cooking from my apartments in downtown Amsterdam.
had a wonderful and well stocked kitchen which allowed me to play around. Bright and gorgeous with a glass-walled garden overlooking a bohemian balcony, it was difficult to believe that we were right downtown. I made laksa and rendang, and relaxed over a glass of wine. This apartment was more reminiscent of a luxury hotel, but far more spacious.
was more like a B&B with more limited cooking facilities, but also a lovely rooftop overlooking the sleepy roofs of Amsterdam. Here I made satay, which is more in the prep than in the cooking, once you have a frying pan, you can get it done. The location here was great and it was near a great little Indonesian deli too which made sourcing ingredients very easy.
I finished in a gorgeous houseboat,
which is so perfectly Amsterdam. Architect designed and split into two apartments, the family that own it live downstairs and I was in the open plan studio apartment above. It was really private and so relaxing, and so full of light. A little kitchen was a joy to cook in, here I made Nasi Goreng, which I ate on the deck outside.
But which recipe to share with you? I don’t think you can beat a classic well-made satay, so this is what I will share. Use chicken thigh for best texture, a chicken breast is leaner and might dry out. Sambal Oelek is easy to source in the Asian delis in Amsterdam but you can substitute finely chopped red chilli if you like. For a treat, if you prepare your own chicken thighs, put the skin on a skewer and crisp it in the oven before serving with the satay sauce too.
Enjoy & Viva Amsterdam!
RECIPE: Satay Chicken Skewers
Combine the marinade ingredients and add to the chicken strips. Leave to marinade for as long as you can – minimum an hour to overnight.
Prepare the sauce by whisking together the ingredients until smooth, adding water if it is too thick. The peanut butter is salty, so you don’t need to season this.
Pierce each piece of chicken with a skewer and cook for a few minutes on each side in a frying pan until cooked through.
Serve with the satay sauce on the side and sprinkled with fresh coriander.