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10 Dutch Downturn-Busting Dishes

Budget Friendly Recipes from the Netherlands


Before you think we've abandoned our ethics, we'd like to make clear that these budget friendly Dutch recipes are not about buying cheap ingredients with an unclear heritage that cheat farmers from earning a fair livelihood and leave us consumers with watery pesticide laden and antibiotic-riddled meat, poultry and produce. We still believe in quality, but there are ways to eat well on a budget. Some ingredients simply cost less than others. Stews generally require cheaper cuts, traditional Dutch stamppot is a naturally frugal choice and desserts like custard can be made using basic ingredients like eggs and milk. Please note that the items on this list were arranged in random order.

1. Oude Kaas & Cumin Muffins

Photo © Karin Engelbrecht
Homemade muffins are so much tastier - and cheaper - than anything store-bought. These savory 'oude kaas' & cumin muffins are made with store cupboard ingredients: aged Gouda or Parmesan cheese, cumin, milk, flour, butter & eggs. And, because muffins require as little handling as possible, you'll whip them up in no time!

2. Stamppot Sla

Photo © Karin Engelbrecht
'Stamppot Sla' (mashed potato with butter lettuce and a runny fried egg) dates from a time when vegetable mashes were eaten year-round. With a dish this simple it's important to use only the best ingredients; the tenderest of butter lettuce ('Hollandse kropsla'), the finest floury potatoes you can find and farm-fresh organic eggs.

3. Babi Ketjap (Pork in Sweet Soy Sauce)

Photo © Karin Engelbrecht
'Babi Ketjap' is a typical Indonesian stew, featuring pork, aromatic spices and Indonesian soy sauce. The Dutch have embraced the food of their former colony as their own and it has become part and parcel of their culinary heritage. Babi Ketjap is exactly the kind of Indonesian dish Dutch people cook at home because it is so accessible and easy to make. It takes a bit of time, but the pot does the magic for you: transforming affordable ingredients into something special.

4. Dutch Cheese Stems (Kaasstengels)

Photo © Ellen Schelkers
This recipe for Dutch cheese stems ('kaasstengels') couldn't be easier to make and is ideal for those leftover bits of puff pastry that always seem to clog up the freezer.

5. Apricot & Lamb Tajine

Photo © Terra
Discover the cuisine of one of Holland's largest immigrant groups with the humble 'tajine' - a simple and succulent stew that is traditionally made in a clay vessel but can be made in any kitchen.

6. Jan Hagel Cookies

Photo © Karin Engelbrecht
Jan Hagel cookies are traditionally eaten at Christmas time in Holland, but they're so yummy they're good anytime. They're made with the kind of ingredients you generally have hanging around in the kitchen and can be used to jazz up any dessert or simply served with coffee.

7. Coleslaw

Photo © Karin Engelbrecht
Coleslaw is one of those dishes that has suffered terrible abuse over the years, especially at the hands of some fast food companies, but a proper home made coleslaw is hard to beat. It’s full of vegetable goodness and as long as you don’t drown it in too much mayonnaise it is rather healthy too. Did you know that coleslaw is named after the Dutch words 'kool' (cabbage) and 'sla' (salad)? Yes, this American barbeque favorite is actually Dutch!

8. Herbed Hangop

Photo © Ellen Schelkers
This simple, cheap and easy to make herbed 'hangop' is good as a dip for crudités, on sandwiches with tomato, cucumber and cheese, or served as a sauce with a piece of grilled chicken and a green salad.

9. Chocolate Custard

Photo © KM Publishers.
Why bother making chocolate custard at home when there are so many pints of the brown goo littering Dutch supermarkets' dairy section? Simple. That stuff doesn’t touch this heavenly homemade version. And, made as it is with cheap store cupboard ingredients, it’s a credit crunch friendly dessert, too.

10. Tasty Taboulleh

Photo © Karin Engelbrecht
This recipe is an example of how foreign culinary influences have changed the way the Dutch eat. Ingredients like couscous and bulghur have become quite commonplace as a result of Holland's growing Moroccan and Turkish communities. Taboulleh salad, made with bulghur wheat, is an absolute favorite. This Middle Eastern salad is packed full of healthy ingredients, but don't let that put you off: it won't only do you good, but will be light on your pocket too.
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