In 1990, the World Science Fiction Convention was in Den Haag (The Hague), Netherlands, and a lot of my friends (and Mike and I) didn't go to it. International travel was more difficult (I'd never been outside of North America, then, nor did I have a passport yet) and took a larger wodge of our financial resources. Our friend Leslie Turek had been nominated for a Hugo Award that year (which she won...yay, Leslie!), and our friends the Olsons decided we needed to have a party during the Hugo Ceremony to cheer Leslie on, since she couldn't go either.
There was, of course, no streaming of the ceremony. No Instagram. No Facebook. No World Wide Web. Some of us were on the NSFNet or Bitnet, but most people today would not recognized those, with their text-only interfaces. And there were no portables to take into the Ceremony for blogging. Instead, we had to wait for a phone call from Leslie's acceptor (I don't remember who). So the best thing to do was nibble on Dutch food whilst we waited. It was tastier and more nutritious than fingernails.
My aunt, Margaret [Shannon] Snoeren, married a Dutch man (you might be able to tell that from the last name) she met while serving in the Peace Corps in Nigeria in the 1960s. Marge is a pretty great cook, and she developed a collection of Dutch recipes over the years. So, when Priscilla Olson said the theme was "Dutch/Indonesian Rijsttafel (Rice Table)," in honor of the first Dutch Worldcon, I called Aunt Marge.
The recipe she gave me that day was a major hit. Moreover, it is a recipe Mike and I have made dozens of times, because we love it. (Thank you, Aunt Marge!!!) This is an Indonesian-styled Satay recipe, probably as modified by the Indonesian immigrants in the Netherlands. The marinade is important for the meat (which is beef or pork), and the peanut sauce that accompanies it is the best, most interesting variant I've ever had. It is zippy and not, as so many are from the Thai or other traditions, overly sweet. We *do* serve it with a Thai cucumber "sauce" or salad, because we love the stuff. Sometimes, we make it as a main course for ourselves, add the cucumber salad, make up some rice, and call it supper. Yum.
Marge's Indonesian Dutch Satay with Pindasaus
First, I have to confess that the only reason I know how Pindasaus is spelled is that I was looking online yesterday to find comparable recipes (Marge's is still the best, most interesting to my palate, btw.). My hand-written recipe from 1990 says "Pinda Sauce," because that's how I "heard" it. Sorry, Aunt Marge.
Marinade for Beef or Pork
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/2 t. ground ginger
1.5 t. minced garlic
1.5 t. chili powder
2 t. brown sugar
1. Cut 1-2 lbs. pork (loin or tenderloin) or beef (sirloin or round) into 2-3" slices which are 1/2-3/4" thick, or 1"-2" cubes. If using pork tenderloin, just use 3/4" thick slices. (Note: marinade is too assertive for chicken breasts.)
2. Whisk all marinade ingredients together thoroughly.
3. Combine meat and marinade, and be sure meat is well-coated. (We use a gallon plastic zippered bag for this, but a non-reactive metal or glass bowl or other container will work just fine.)
4. Refrigerate for one hour, turning or stirring once.
Pindasaus (Spicy Peanut Sauce)
3 T. smooth peanut butter ("natural" will work, but Skippy or store generic is best)
2 T. water
2 t. sugar
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. red wine vinegar
2 T. vegetable oil
1/2 t. minced garlic
2 t. red pepper paste (sambal olek - available in Asian stores or the Asian cooking aisle of some grocery stores; it will be near the Sriracha sauce and may be made by the same company)
1. Whisk together peanut butter and water until smooth.
2. Add remaining ingredients. Whisk thoroughly. Cover and let sit for at least an hour at room temperature. (I'm a heat wimp, but I find this quite tasty. If you like more heat, you can experiment with adding more sambal olek. Try it this way first.)
3. If not using immediately, refrigerate covered. Will keep for several weeks. Bring back to room temperature for serving.
Making the Satay
1. If using cubes of meat, put on skewers for easy cooking.
2. Grill meat on barbecue or under oven's broiler until done, turning once. This is not thick, so it will cook quickly. Check with meat thermometer, because it's not easy to tell by cutting into meat. Marinade changes meat color. We usually wing it, because we don't really like this rare.
3. Serve as part of a rijsttafel (Dutch/Indonesian "rice table" of small plates) or by itself as an appetizer or main course.
Accompaniment: Thai cucumber salad/sauce. We like this one...but we skip the ground peanuts, because the pindasaus has plenty of peanuts. We also love mint and fresh coriander/cilantro. Lots. YMMV.
Since we cook sometimes for a soup kitchen, we cook for them like we cook for ourselves or our friends: same food; same ingredients. We've made a lot of interesting dishes for them in the past, and Mike suggested we do this for our contribution this Saturday.
"We'll have to make enough for us to save some out for ourselves," I said, after drooling while re-reading the recipe.
"Of course we will," said Mike.
We'll probably triple or quadruple the recipes. :-)