Some think it’s cuckoo to put rice in your soup. Well, people from Suriname and my fellow Dutch Indonesians completely disagree. My family pops rice in every soup; in green pea soup, in brown bean soup. A scoop of rice turns a soepie into A Meal. Home-made chicken soup is manna to sick souls. When I was feverish my mother used to serve me saoto ajam (chicken soup), with rice of course. To Dutch Indonesians saoto is the holy grail of soups. The broth of this Javanese soup is powerful, but the flavours of lemon grass, lime leaves, koenjit (turmeric) and ginger make the soup fresh and elegant too. It’s usually served with chopped celery, fried onions, beans sprouts and boiled eggs. Close to where I live is a great Surinamese-Javanese takeaway, Warung SuriKitchen, where I buy my chicken satay and rich saoto mama-style. Based on broth of a real chicken – no way, chicken fillet – including the right spices and the sides the soup deserves. Try it with the yellow paste of Madame Jeanette peppers. It’s about as evil as it looks like.
Saoto ajam, one big portion, €4.50
Tweede Nassaustraat 38, West (Westerpark)
+31 (0) 20 475 10 21
Opening hours: Monday-Saturday 11am-10pm, Sunday 3pm-10pm
Even a brief encounter with Tamara Tantico will make your day. She wears her own creations: funky outfits made of sarongs and fabrics in vibrant colours. Tamara’s smile gives away a positive attitude towards life. Her curriculum vitae shows that she’s practical too. Trained as a fashion designer at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, she works as a stylist and a visual artist. On one fine day she decided to turn her love for cooking into another source of income; her company De Lachende Pinda (The Smiling Peanut) was born. Tamara – half Dutch, half Dutch Indonesian – sells her organic Indo soul food on food markets all over The Netherlands. I met her on The NeighbourFood Market in Amsterdam-West where she offered me her signature dish: a Surinamese peanut soup with a Dutch-Indonesian twist of lemon grass, ginger, rawit (small red chili peppers) and, if requested, cilantro. Tasty, exotic, spicy. She blew me away with it. Tamara also serves this soup as a kick-off for the private dinners she organizes in her atelier in Amsterdam – 10 persons max. Can’t get enough of the peanut theme? Try her peanut butter with raisins and coconut. Loving this sweet, surprisingly creamy butter is well, uh, peanuts.
De Lachende Pinda
Peanut soup, half a liter, €8.50
NeighbourFood Market (Amsterdam-West) and other food markets in The Netherlands. Check her FB-page to check-out where and when.
+31 (0) 6 5195 93 06