Sunday 21 August 2005

Witte Rijst met Krenten

This recipe may well make you believe that Dutch cuisine deserves the reputation that British cuisine has, but if you, like me, love rice and, like me, love currants, and, like me, have a sweet tooth, you might think this is the best dish in the world.

The other day I had eaten a big bowl of soup earlier on and neither fancied eating a complete meal, nor going out to the shops to buy a snack. Looking in our cupboards, I noticed all the ready-made snacks had already disappeared in our stomachs. My wife, who as always shared my predicament, decided to just boil some rice and snack on that. I would have gone along with that, had it not reminded me of one of the greatest dishes I had as a child.

Using half of the rice she boiled I created a quick version of this "white rice with currants", and it was just as delicious as back when I could hardly reach the top of the dinner table. I have never heard of anyone else eating or even knowing of this dish, so I thought a blog entry might be in order.

To be sure I was making enough of a fool of myself I searched for some other online recipes. Apparently, witte rijst met krenten is a speciality from a region on the other side of the Netherlands from where I grew up and the few recipes for it that are available online make something not quite the same, so I like to imagine my mom created this dish based on what it was called.

Our family version is a simple dish, that we used to eat whenever we had fried fish.. Yes, not everybody has chips and vinegar with fish! Often on a Wednesday, when the mobile fish monger would be in town, my dad would go out on his bicycle and buy some fried fish, and while he was out, my mom would prepare this dish. As soon as my dad returned dinner would be served: White rice with currants and fried fish.

The basic premise of mom's version of this dish is: boil long grain white rice and currants in semi-skimmed milk until the rice is cooked and serve. Not the most nutritiously balanced meal in the world, but there you go... Use as much rice as you would like to eat, and stir in as many currants to make it visually similar to a Dalmatian - the dogs are sometimes called 'rijst met krenten' dogs in Dutch. If the result looks like 'rice, currant and milk soup with not enough liquid' then congratulations! That's what we were aiming for, so don't drain the milk. Eat with a spoon.

My quick version mentioned above consisted of me putting the already boiled rice back in the pan, adding currants and milk and bringing it to a boil, but this can only be considered quick because my wife had already boiled the rice.

When I told my wife my plans with the rice she put on her disgusted face and said: "So you're going to have it as pudding?" I suppose she was right, it could be called a delayed pudding after the bowl of soup I had earlier on, but considering I have always eaten it as a main course, I saw it as a snack this time.

Originally posted at