Kastengel: Indonesian Cheese Sticks | culture: the word on cheese
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Kastengel: Indonesian Cheese Sticks

Pyramid of Indonesian cheese sticks, known as Kastengel on a square plate

To Kastengel or not to Kastengel. That is the question. For the second entry in my Cheese Around the World blog series, here I’ll be taking a closer look at a Dutch favorite. Like what you see? Check out my post on Cuban Pastelitos.

Many Indonesian traditional foods, like Kastengel, have deep Dutch influences dating back to the Dutch colonization of Indonesia in the 1600’s. Over time, the Indonesian people took Dutch culture and made it their own, and the result is the Kastengel and countless other traditions Indonesia practices today.

Kastengel is a traditional cheese stick eaten much in the way a chocolate chip cookie would be eaten here in the U.S. Kastengel are most often consumed during holidays and most notably during the two day celebration of Labaran. Labaran is the Indonesian celebration after Ramadan that involves praying, the whole family eating goodies (like Kastengel), and seeking forgiveness from neighbors and each other as a symbol of renewal and starting over.

Kastengel is often made with either cheddar or gouda cheese. Depending on your preference, Kastengel can be made extra cheesy and crispier (if you use more cheese), or softer if you add more butter while making it. Either way you make it, Kastengel is a delicious, baked cookie of buttery, cheesy goodness. 

Want to try it for yourself? Here’s a recipe! Hungry for more? Read the next post on Egyptian Gebna Makleyah.

Photo Credit: Sedap Wangi Bakery

Taylor Pierola

Taylor Pierola is a Berkeley California-based culture intern

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