Some days ago my girlfriend and her mother came over for dinner. My mother said she would cook a ‘rijsttafel’ for them. A ‘rijsttafel’ is probably the most important and well known culinary heritage that the Dutch have from the colonial era when the colonized Indonesia. A ‘rijsttafel’ which literally means ‘rice table’ consists out of different side dishes that are eaten with rice. People can make the ‘rijsttafel’ as elaborate as they themselves like. The number of side dishes varies and even the rice can be eaten differently. All the (side) dishes that are served are Indonesian, but the tradition to eat them all together as side dishes is something typical from the colonial era. The picture I have included above isn’t the best one for a few reasons. Firstly the photo isn’t that great. Secondly, it doesn’t show every dish and finally this is a picture of the left overs. It is my mothers (oh so fine) habit to cook too much food so the day after we still have a lot!
From top to bottom you see a bowl with bean sprouts and cabbage. Then a bowl of nasi (white rice) then a pan with brown sauce. This brown sauce is known as ‘pecel’ which is a sauce that looks like ‘gado gado’ but it is different. Both are a version of peanut sauce but they contain different spices. This ‘pecel’ was to be served over the bean sprouts and cabbage. There were fried onions to be used as a topping over the rice. The second bowl with a brown content is ‘rendang’ which is a meat dish. This one was made out of roast beef and a spicy coconut sauce. Further more you can see bami goreng (fried bami) with chicken and vegetables like onion, carrot, garlic and some more. At the bottom you can see some chicken wings and chicken legs but these were bought spiced and ready.
As I said before this weren’t all the dishes that we had the night before. Missing on the picture are ‘tempeh goreng’ which means ‘fried tempeh’. Tempeh is a product made out of soybeans and is in this case fried. Also missing was the side dish called ‘sambal goreng telor’ which means fried sambal eggs. As you could have guessed this is a dish were cooked eggs are put in a sambal sauce that has been fried before (the sambal that is). We also had ’emping manis’ which means ‘sweet emping’. The ‘sweet’ is added because normally emping has a bitter taste to it. Emping is a form of ‘krupuk’ that is made out of melinjo (nuts). And finally, the thing missing on the picuter were the egg rolls filled with shrimps.
With all this food on the table it was way too easy to eat too much and unfortunately I did. Twice. Because the next day I just did it again.