“It was really incredible,” Dickerson says of the event. “Once we got going, we had about an hour and a half where were making batches of food nonstop.”
Colorful lentils and spices used in the cooking made for a décor that pops. As for the heat factor in South Asian food, Indian food especially, Dickerson says many people “are afraid it’s going to be too spicy, and there are some traditional recipes that call for very hot chilies, but it’s mostly about flavor.”
The green sauce is a zesty chutney made of jalapenos and cilantro. The orange sauce is fresh tomato chutney, whirled together in a blender.
These chicken skewers are made with ground all-halal chicken blended with spices and cashews. The cashews help hold the mixture together, and also add healthy fats.
Students assembled plates of Indian chana (chickpea) masala, a vegetarian offering, with plenty of naan on hand to soak up all the flavor.
The combination of chicken and rice is a recurring theme in many cultures. This version, with raisins and carrots, is from Afghanistan.
Toasted slivered almonds make a crunchy counterpoint to saucy dishes. These are traditionally mixed into the kabuli pulao, but to accommodate nut allergies, they were served separately.
Aloo pyaaz pakora
These Indian fritters could be a street-food snack on the regular menu one day; the UCR dining team often takes away the best recipes from events like this and finds them a home on the rotation.
Momos from Bhutan
A common street-food snack in Bhutan, momos are hot bites with fillings. These included halal chicken and Bhutanese spices.
These Indian curried potatoes were another vegetarian choice at the event.
The language of food
Dickerson says students who aren’t familiar with this cuisine learned a lot while enjoying the food, asking about each dish and how to pronounce it.
In a pickle
Pickled veggies are a common condiment on South Asian tables.
This dessert from Bangladesh, a fried dough ball with rosewater syrup and pistachios, was one of the hottest items at the event.
Feeling at home
Students who call South Asia home gave the event their thumbs up, Dickerson says. “That’s one of the reasons we do this,” she adds. “In addition to my team learning new things, we can help students feel at home through food.”