Kroket and bitterbal, a typical Dutch snack
A nice croquette or so we say in Dutch” een lekker kroketje that is what we say when we fancy a kroket. If you need a boost or feel like something spicy then it is time for a croquette or portion bitterballen. A croquette and bitterbal are basically the same. The ingredients, cooking, preparation, and even the flavor are similar, the only difference is the shape. A croquette has the shape of a role and a bitterbal is a little round ball.
The word “bitter” has nothing to do with a bitter taste. Bitterballen used to be served with a bitter, this is a Dutch herb-flavored alcoholic beverage.
Nowadays almost nobody makes them at home. In Holland, you can buy them in supermarkets to deep-fry them at home or you eat them in a snack bar, fast food cafeteria, or pub. Or order them for lunch or dinner in a fancy restaurant, stylishly served on a plate.
In the old days, kroketten and bitterballen were made out of meat leftovers. The meat was turned into a thick ragout, made by a roux, covered with breadcrumbs, and fried in vegetable oil or deep-fried.
For a long time, the Van Dobben kroket was the best kroket made in Holland. In Amsterdam there are two Van Dobben Eatsalons, one is on the Korte Reguliersdwardsstraat 5-7-9, and the other one you find on the Ferdinand Bolstraat 53. The Van Dobben kroket is sold in most snack bars.
Trendy croquette shop or croquette boutique
Lately you’ll find trendy croquette shops in most major cities. Young entrepreneurs share their love for handmade croquettes. No ordinary ready-made croquette. No, a croquette with surprising toppings and homemade sauces. The croquettes are made according to our own recipe without added colors, aromas, and flavors with a wide choice of various different flavors from savory to sweet croquettes. Once you have eaten a handmade kroket, you will never want anything else. Our mouths are already watering!
Bitterballen are often served as a tasty snack at pubs and receptions. Eat them hot, and I don’t mean the taste but the temperature must be hot. Be careful, if you eat them too fast you will burn your mouth. Bitterballen are usually served with mustard.
There are still a few mustard factories in the Netherlands where coarse mustard is produced. With coarse mustard, the membranes of the seeds are not filtered out, as with Dijon mustard. The most famous Dutch mustards are from:
the Zaanse mustard, by Mustard Mill “De Huisman” BV in Wormerveer
the Doesburgsche Mustard and Vinegar Factory,
Marne Mosterd from Groningen
Van Ton, formerly TonS mustard from Zierikzee
Many other types of mustard are often sold as regional products.
Different kinds of mustard are sold in all supermarkets.
Ask a Dutch ex-pat what they miss the most from Holland and they probably will say a kroket.
A kroket or bitterbal is one of the things a Dutch person or expat misses the most when they are abroad for a long time.
Kroket out of the wall
This is an absolute must-do, put it on your things-to-do list when you visit the Netherlands. There are about 60 snack automats in Holland. Put some change in your pocket and get yourself a kroket out of the wall. Nowadays you can also pay contactless at most snack machines. Contactless payment is easy, fast and safe.
How to make a croquette and what ingredients do you need?
- 600 gram (1 1/4 pound) cooked meat, chicken or beef
- 1 onion, chopped
- 60 gram (4 Tbsp.) butter
- 60 gram (1/2 cup) flour
- 1/2 liter (2 cups) bouillon
- Pepper, salt, mace, nutmeg, curry powder, mustard
- Toasted breadcrumbs
- Chop the cooked meat and onions very finely.
- Melt butter, keep the butter light, and add all flour at once. Stir until it has blended to a paste. Keep stirring on a low fire for a few minutes, don’t let the paste color. Slowly start adding little bits of bouillon (hot or cold) and keep stirring and adding little bits of bouillon till it’s a smooth sauce.
- Add the chopped onion, garlic, herbs, and spices
- Add the cooked meat and stir gently till it’s a thick smooth and hot ragout.
- Let the ragout cool completely.
- Keep the ragout refrigerated until use, cover it with a piece of greaseproof paper so there is no skin formed.
- Putt the flower on a plate.
- On a separate wide dish mix the egg with a little bit of milk.
- Cover another plate with breadcrumbs.
- Use your hands to form either stick (about 10 by 3 cm/4 by 1.25 inches) or balls (diameter 4 cm/1.5 inches).
- Dip each kroket first in the flour, then in the egg mixture, and finally in the breadcrumbs to coat all over.
- Heat a deep-frying pan or an electric deep-fat fryer up to 180C.
- Deep-fry the kroket for about 5 till 7 minutes meanwhile turning them occasionally, until they’re golden brown all over.
- Drain on paper towels.
- Serve the hot Kroket and Bitterballen with spicy mustard or put them on a roll or eat them as they are.
Deep fried Kroketten en Bitterballen
Baking Kroketten and Bitterballen in the Airfryer
It’s very well done to fry deep-frozen Kroketten and Bitterballen in the Airfryer. Less fat and a healthy way to fry. An Airfryer works with hot air, baking with less oil than normal.
Well, I wish you lots of fun and good luck making croquettes and I hope you will enjoy their taste.