My family is Dutch, so I grew up enjoying many Dutch meals as a child. In the past couple of years, I’ve spent several months in the Netherlands and discovered even more delicious Dutch meals. Here are some of my favorites, and how you can make them at home.
Hagelslag – A Dutch Breakfast
This is the easiest one. Hagelslag is a Dutch treat, but it’s not really anything special. All you need is bread, butter and chocolate sprinkles. Hagelslag is the name of Dutch chocolate sprinkles and, while they might be tastier than what you will find of the shelves in other countries, any chocolate cake sprinkles will do. You can have your bread toasted or untoasted, but I wouldn’t skip the butter as it helps to keep the hagelslag from falling off. If you do happen to be in the Netherlands, you’ll find several flavors of hagelslag, including licorice and fruit.
Dutch Pancakes – Not for Breakfast
The Dutch pancake, known in the Netherlands as Pannekoek, is a meal served normally at dinner. Similar to the French crepe, common savory ingredients include ham, bacon, cheese and mushrooms. You can also make these sweet with toppings like apples, cinnamon and powdered sugar. What makes these a bit different than crepes is that the ingredients are cooked directly into the batter rather than added after cooking.
To make these at home, beat two eggs and add 2 cups of milk. Then slowly add 2 cups of all-purpose flour and half a teaspoon of salt. Put a bit of butter in the pan, and choose your toppings. When you’re ready to eat them, you can roll them up like the Dutch, or fold the pancake into quarters like the French.
Ontbijtkoek – Old Woman’s Cake
This is a treat I loved making as a kid, although I’m pretty sure my granny called it something else. The origin of this honey bread goes back to when bakers would throw all their leftover dough and spices into a batch, add some black pepper and bake that – similar to the Swedish vacuum cleaner cake dammsugare. I’ve long since lost my family recipe for this bread, but you can find several recipes online. Most include about a dozen spices, so make sure you have a bunch on hand. In the Netherlands, you’ll be able to buy a loaf at any supermarket, but I’d suggest finding a really fresh one from a baker.
Kibbeling – Not Easy to Make at Home
This next one isn’t really something you can make at home, but I’d highly recommend getting some while you’re in the Netherlands. While the British have their legendary fish and chips, the Dutch kibbling uses leftover bits of fish coated in a spiced batter and served with a generous amount of tartar sauce – no fries needed, but a side of them won’t hurt. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a village in the Netherlands that doesn’t have at least one stall on their streets serving this delicious Dutch meal to a long line of patrons.
Hutspot – My Favorite
My favorite Dutch meal is surprisingly one which isn’t always appreciated in the Netherlands, as it’s considered a poor person’s dish (which might be why my granny made it a lot). The preparation is surprisingly easy. Peel, cube and boil roughly 8 potatoes for 25 minutes, and then do the same with 6 carrots and onions, but in a separate pot. Mix and mash the two together, and serve with sausages and ketchup. You might want to do this one at home, as not a lot of restaurants in the Netherlands have it on their menu.
Let me know which meal is your favorite. Sure, there are dozens of more Dutch dishes I love, but many aren’t easy to make at home without their unique ingredients. Hopefully, you can put the Netherlands on your itinerary in the near future.