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Not Your Mama’s Appropriated Bami April 8, 2008

Posted by tuimeltje in dinner.
Tags: , ,

Bami, or bami goreng, whatever you want to call it, is, as far as I know, one of the older ethnic-y dishes. It may have been a novel and exciting thing in the 60s and 70s, when being able to tell your schoolmates you had chili con carne with pineapple bits and apple sauce last night made you cool. But it has become a basic, normal Dutch meal now except possibly in the most traditional of families.

(Okay, timeline may be slightly off. And I have no clue if eating chili con carne with pineapple bits and apple sauce was ever considered cool. Or ever even done outside of our house, to be perfectly honest. I’m basically putting all my assumptions on Dutch appropriation and alteration of ethnic dishes in one post and probably making a right mess of things. None of this has been, in any way, shape, or form, researched. I did check Wikipedia, though, and I am enjoying myself here. Just, you know, don’t take this as trufax or anything).

What Dutch people eat as bami nowadays is probably a somewhat bastardised version of whatever the Chinese brought to Indonesia way back whenever they went there, made suitable for Dutch palates. And whatever I cooked tonight was nothing like even that.
Not that there’s something wrong with either dishes, mind. They’re tasty enough. I just have a sneaking suspicion neither is particularly authentic. Actually, I’m pretty damn sure the thing I made isn’t authentically any kind of ethnic. Though I could always start my own country and adopt this as one of it’s traditional dishes. That’d be fun.

Anyway, back to bami. Basic Dutch bami involves boiling nest-y mie, soaking a conveniently pre-packaged spice mix (there’s a similar one for chili con carne, by the way) in warm water, chucking some of pre-packaged veg (leek, some kind of cabbage, alfalfa sprouts, a chili pepper, usually a tomato) in a large-enough frying pan, and putting the three together.
Usually meat is added to this, but I don’t really know what step that is since I never made it that way. Besides, if you’re reading a vegan blog I doubt you’re really all that interested anyway.

I did not do any of this. For a start, I didn’t buy any regular supermarket spice mix. I have no clue if any of the ones available are vegan (pesky flavourings!) and am too lazy to look it up or contact the manufacturer. I also did not buy the pre-packaged bami veg. The frozen stuff was cheaper and could be made to last for several dinners and I didn’t want to bother freezing half of the official bami veg.
Of the frozen veg mixes available, this one was probably the closest. It was supposed to be vaguely Asian, at least. Besides, it had these brightly yellow carrot-y things in it that made me happy.

And while I might’ve added some tofu, I put in some falafel instead, just to mess with the ethnic-ness a little more. I also added the last of my spinach cubes. Probably the first time I ever added something green and leafy to this dish.
I did, however, have the proper condements. Ketjap manis, those crispy onion thingies, and good old atjar tjampoer.
The mie I got was proper mie as well, though not the nest-y kind. It was the short and cheap kind. The spice mix I got said it was for bami goreng and was made by some Indonesian food company, so I suppose that’s okay. It’s nothing like the spice mix I’m used to, though.

Food. And my socked feet.

I also ended up using some santen, just because I could, and some garam massala spice mix to supplement the Indonesian stuff. I kind of overdid it on that so I didn’t bother adding anything sambal-like.

The falafel balls disintegrated pretty quickly. It didn’t bother me but I suspect this means the manufacurers will add eggs to the recipe soon for all the whiny vegetarians/flexitarians and I’ll once more be without anything vaguely veggie burger-like available in regular supermarkets. Whatever. I rarely eat them anyway and can make them at home for nothing should I want some.

To get my Dutch on, just to whack it some more, I made the little gravy pit in the middle commonly associated with stamppot and poured the ketjap manis in there rather than just randomly splashing it on (Google “kuiltje jus” if you don’t get what I’m on about).


Yay! fusion cooking. I doubt this is what that movement is all about, but I don’t care. Stuff was tasty!


Stories like the one here make me happy. I’ve not read the many posts from this blog, but I enjoyed this one. I really hope me being unconspicuously vegan makes someone else feel they have permission to do what they think is right rather than follow the rest of the world.

Should I be upset that, now I’ve watched “And The Band Played On”, I’ve actually been kind of moved by something Spelling? Quite unexpected, this. I tend to associate that man with soap-y crap that’s best avoided.
Could’ve done without the Richard Gere close-up, though…



1. sinead - April 8, 2008

I wholeheartedly approve of this scampering across culinary boundaries with reckless abandon. If you start your own country, can I come for dinner?

2. tuimeltje - April 8, 2008

That’s a relief. :)

Of course you can. I’d be honoured to have you over. If it’s big enough, you can come and live there. Start that vegan commune everyone is always going on about.

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