Dutch food – Kroketten & Bitterballen

There aren’t a lot of foods I would immediately call Dutch when someone asks me about Dutch food. Most problems I have are with proper meals, no lasagna (Italian) or paella (Spanish) type of dish for Dutch food as far as I know. When it comes to snacks though there are quite a lot of them! I’ve already discussed oliebollen and kibbeling. Both are fried foods and today I’ve got another fried food example I’m afraid: kroketten and bitterballen.

Kroketten vs Bitterballen

To start with the basics: the difference between kroketten and bitterballen. They are very similar, the main difference is the size. Bitterballen are shaped like a ball whereas kroketten have a cilindrical shape. Apart from that, they are just about the same. For simplicity I will now only refer to kroketten, but in doing that, I assume you know it’s the same for bitterballen.

What is it?

Before we dive any deeper into the topic, let’s explain what a kroket is. A kroket is a fried snack with a crunchy, crispy outside and a soft filling. The filling can be just about anything that can be incorporated into a roux. Kroketten can be vegetarian, although the most common kroket is probably one with beef meat.

Dutch people tend to eat kroketten as a snack, when on the road or for the evening meal. It’s not a typical daily meal, for most families it is somewhat special to eat them. If you eat them however, we generally eat them with french fries, mayonnaise and mustard!

kroket with french fries
A kroket broken open, this is a beef kroket, you can see the meat inside. See the french fries in the background?

Making a kroket

Making kroketten isn’t that hard. The main trick sits in the coating and frying of the filling. Here’s a basic recipe for you to try at home.

Dutch food - Kroketten & Bitterballen
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 20
Ingredients
  • 600g beef poulet (meat for soup, but feel free to use chicken or vegetables here, if you do, you don't have to cook it separately, instead, mix it through the rough straight away)
  • 0,5l stock
  • 1 onion
  • 60g flour
  • 60g butter
  • salt, pepper and spices to taste (e.g. nutmeg)
For frying
  • ample flour, eggs and bread crumbs
  • frying oil (e.g. sunflower oil)
Instructions
  1. Boil the meat in the stock until the meat starts falling apart into little threads. This should take about 30 minutes.
  2. Take another pan and heat your butter until melted andfry the onions until glazy.
  3. Add the flour and mix until it's clumpy and there's no loose flour nor butter. You've made the base for your rough here.
  4. Add the stock with the meat and whisk through well. The roux base should absorb all the moisture and make one thick sauce. The sauce shouldn't be runny anymore.
  5. If the sauce is way to thin, remove from the fire and prepare some extra roux base to which you can add the sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add some more moisture.
  6. Season to taste.
  7. Leave to cool in the fridge, it should be cold when you start preparing it in order for the roux to keep its shape.
  8. Take three bowls and fill each with either the flour, eggs or breadcrumbs.
  9. Shape the roux into cilinder forms.
  10. Take the center filling (the roux) and cover with flour. Place it in the eggs next and finally coat with breadcrumbs.
  11. You can leave the kroketten at room temperature for a little while now, but best is to store them in the fridge and fry them as soon as possible.
  12. Heat oil in a separate high pot to 180C (or use a frying pan).
  13. Fry the kroketten in the hot oil for approximately 4 minutes. The outside should be a nice dark brown.

That’s another typical Dutch food covered for you! Let me know if there are specific foods you’d like to learn more of.

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