A kaassouffle is a fried, cheese-filled turnover that is popular in the Netherlands. It is typically served at kiosks or counters as a fast-food meal and is usually very affordable. The food is sometimes available through a vending machine, making it a good choice for eating on the go or for purchasing late at night when many restaurants are closed. They are popular at borrels, a type of Dutch social gathering.
The exact origins of the kassouffle are unknown, but it may have come to the Netherlands via Indonesian street food. The Dutch held colonial rule over Indonesia, formerly known as the Dutch East Indies, for more than 300 years. Vendors peddling hot street food are popular in Indonesia and sell items that are similar to kaassouffle, such as buns and deep-fried cakes.
Kaassouffle is a relatively simply dish consisting of gooey, melted cheese that is breaded and then fried either in a deep-fryer or in a pan. Almost all kaassouffles in the Netherlands use Gouda cheese, and the dish is often served with mustard on the side as a dipping sauce. The kaassouffles are usually small, about the size of a deck of cards, but do come in various sizes. The versions served at automatic vending machines throughout the Netherlands are kept in a warming area and can be purchased cheaply at any time of day or night, making them a popular snack with late-night bar-goers.
Making a kaassouffle at home is relatively simple. One can roll cheese in breadcrumbs and then fry the covered cheese in a pan. The cheese is sometimes dipped in egg yolks first to ensure that the breadcrumbs adhere to the cheese. Depending on personal preference, some add spices such as salt, pepper, nutmeg, or cayenne pepper to the breading mixture. If Gouda cheese is not available, then cheddar or goat cheese can be substituted, but this is not considered a true Dutch kaassouffle.
Kaassouffles are often served at Dutch borrels, a potluck sort of gathering where drinks and snacks are served. Fried foods like the kaassouffle are popular at borrels. The borrel is often held at a bar or café and is sometimes a themed party or a celebration for a specific event. The popularity of these gatherings has led to the development of packaged goods found in grocery stores in the Netherlands that are specifically marketed as food for a borrel. In addition, some Dutch restaurants and cafés include “borrel” in their name.