A Rijsttafel, or literally Rice table, is an arrangement of small dishes with its origin in the Dutch East Indies. The story goes that the Dutch in colonial times, didn’t know what to chose from the menu because it was all way too strange for them. So the Indies made an arrangement of dishes for them to try a bit of everything, a bit like Spanish tapas. The Dutch and Indies then brought the ideas back to Holland and we can’t imagine a life without it. Now, years later, the Rijsttafel has evolved, every restaurant or family has its own version and many cross over to vary the Indonesian dishes with food from all over Asia.
It takes a lot of work to make, count on a day in the kitchen, but it is not complicated and well worth the effort. Once the whole family is at the table, the indulgence can begin. I’ve made a very basic Rijsttafel with not too much different dishes. This way the work is not too overwhelming to begin with and you can still experience the amazing flavours.
My version contains the following dishes (clockwise on the picture):
– Atjar Tjampoer ( a pickle with multiple vegetables)
– Nasi Koening (yellow spiced rice)
– Foo Yong Hai (omelet with sweet sauce)
– Saté Ajam (marinated chicken)
– Foo Yong Hai- sauce
– Bali sauce
– Babi Pangang- sauce
– Loempia ( Vietnamese style spring rolls with rice paper)
I’ll cut the whole rijsttafel in parts and will post the recipes in a few posts. This way it will hopefully remain clear.
Nasi Koening is a yellow spiced rice that is often eaten during celebratory dinners such as birthdays.
1 Onion, finely chopped
1 clove of Garlic, pressed
300 gr. Rice
1 tsp Ketoembar (ground coriander seed)
1 tsp Koenjit (ground turmeric)
1 tsp Djinten (ground cumin)
1 can Coconut milk (400 ml)
– Heat some oil in a frying pan or wok. Saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes.
– Put the rice in with the onion mix and stir well to cover the rice with oil. Stir for a few minutes until the rice looks translucent.
– Add the 3 spices, ketoembar, koejit and djinten, and mix well.
– Add the can of coconut milk and add another can of water (400 ml) to the pan.
– Bring to a boil and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes with the lid on the pan.
– Remove the lid and stir through so the rice will steam dry.