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10 Must-Try Dutch Recipes

Getting Started with Dutch Food

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If you've never cooked Dutch food before it can be pretty daunting to figure out what to try first. The following recipes offer a small taste of what Holland has to offer. We've listed them in random order.

1. Brown Bean Soup

Copyright photo Ellen Schelkers-Levy
A Dutch dietary staple, brown bean soup ('bruine bonen soep') is nutritious, filling and a cinch to make. A great mid-week meal for the whole family, there simply is nothing better on a bitterly cold winter's day.

2. Poached Pears in Red Wine

Copyright photo Ellen Schelkers-Levy
I love the fragrant non-sweetness of this poached pear recipe. You can have it as a healthy dessert, drizzled with honey and perhaps some cinnamon ice cream if you are feeling indulgent. But it could just as easily make a surprising fall or winter side dish, served with roast venison or steak, stewed onions and mashed potato.

3. Asparagus Hollandaise

Copyright photo Karin Engelbrecht
It's hard to beat soft, tender lovely white asparagus. It is even harder to beat the way the Dutch eat it -- swathed in Hollandaise sauce, chopped boiled eggs and slices of ham. This is Spring cuisine at its swoonworthy best.

4. Stamppot (Celeriac Mash)

Copyright photo Ellen Schelkers-Levy
Ask anyone from the Netherlands what they would consider the Dutchest dish of all Dutch dishes and they will probably tell you 'stamppot'. This hearty vegetable mash is usually made of potatoes and/or other vegetables. It is traditionally served with a smoked pork sausage, known as 'rookworst', and gravy. The ultimate in comfort food!

5. Indo-Dutch Satay

Copyright photo Ellen Schelkers-Levy
The Dutch have embraced the food of their former colony, Indonesia, as their own. My favorite Indonesian dish is most certainly satay, one of those dishes that can be very complicated and labor intensive or very easy. Ever the impatient cook, I have gone for the easy way.

6. Dutch Apple Sauce

Copyright photo Edwin Smits
The Dutch love eating apple sauce (or 'appelmoes' as they call it) as a condiment with their main meal. Children adore it and it is very much part of the everyday family meal here in Holland. My apple sauce is so easy to make, I guarantee that the hardest thing about it is peeling the apples!

7. Raspberry Hangop

Copyright photo Ellen Schelkers-Levy
Dutch strained yoghurt, or 'hangop', is very easy to make and incredibly versatile. On a hot summer's day I am not in the mood for rich or sickly sweet desserts. Instead, I want something refreshing, tart and, dare I say it, rather wholesome. 'Hangop' makes for a great summer dessert, with fresh forest fruits like raspberries and red currants.

8. Advocaat

Copyright photo Karin Engelbrecht
Is it a drink? Is it a dessert? I'll let you make up your own mind. Advocaat is a creamy yellow liqueur made from a rich blend of egg yolks, sugar, brandy and a touch of vanilla. It is usually consumed around Christmas-time. The Netherlands exports this drink to over 50 countries, but, shhhh, it is really easy to make your own at home. And, trust me, once you've made your own you'll never go back to the store-bought stuff!

9. Spicy Speculaas Cookies

Copyright photo Karin Engelbrecht

These delicious Dutch cinnamon-ginger cookies are traditionally eaten at Sinterklaas. Because commercial versions are often windmill shaped, they are also known as Windmill Cookies abroad, but these cookies actually come in a variety of shapes, such as figurines, angels and animals. Almond-paste filled varieties, such as the speculaasstaaf and gevulde speculaas cookies, are also very popular.

10. Christmas Bread (Kerststol)

Copyright photo Karin Engelbrecht
This recipe for fruited bread with a sweet almond paste center is a real winner for the holidays. I have played around with the ingredients, using cranberries and orange liqueur, but you can stick to the traditional raisins, currants and brandy if you want.
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