Dordt hosts its annual student-led Curry Craze

Abi Wegner — Staff Writer 

Dordt University hosted its ninth annual Curry Craze on Oct. 22, 2022. Run by the Students Without Borders club, international students showcased their culture and heritage by cooking curry for the rest of the student body to enjoy. 

The event encouraged all ethnic groups to participate. Students from Indonesia, Kenya, Canada, and even Sioux Center dedicated their time to putting on this event. 

A lot of preparation went into getting ready for this school function, and members of both the Students Without Borders Club (SWB) and the Multicultural Leadership Program were encouraged to volunteer. The event is completely prepared by Dordt students, including the cooking, cleaning, decorations, setup, and serving.

On Friday, Oct. 21, the eve of the Curry Craze, volunteer cooks filled the Commons kitchen. Many of them had never stepped foot in a Dordt kitchen. They represented ethnic groups from around the world, eager to share some of their background with the rest of campus.

The four curry dishes served were Tikka Masala (from India), Padang chicken curry (Indonesia), Kare Raisu (Korea/Japan), and Kenyan curry stew. 

Full of chatter and laughter, the kitchen exploded with the sound of community building between students as they shared stories from back home. The nostalgia of the dishes moved the students to tell about their home countries. 

The bursting colors of curry ingredients, from bright orange carrots to deep green cilantro, made students eager to try the dishes. The overwhelming smell of the four curries filled the kitchen. Stomachs rumbled in anticipation. 

Tim Darla, a sophomore, led a small team in cooking the Tikka Masala. Darla had eaten his mother’s cooking: she had immigrated to America from Andhra Pradesh, India. But Darla had never made the dish himself, which he found challenging when leading his team.

“Thankfully I knew the process of everything, and with a little help on a phone call with my mother…we were able to make a delicious Tikka Masala curry.” Darla said. “I had a fantastic team that played a key role in the preparation, and I would 100 percent do it again.” 

Darla’s favorite part was marinating the chicken. Even though “it was gross,” he said he had fun at the same time. 

The volunteer cooks’ work paid off through the opinions of Curry Craze attendees. 

Jaime Koetsier, a junior, tried each of the four curries. The Indian-inspired Tikka Masala was her favorite. She had never eaten curry before the event, and learned curry is “more than just a flavoring” but a dish with many variations. For Koetsier, takeaways from the event stretched beyond the food. 

“[It is] very special for different students to show off their culture.” Koetsier said. 

She said it is good to bring people together no matter where they are from, and food is a great way to do that. 

Once guests arrived and paid the two-dollar ticket fee, hosts encouraged them to grab a curry bowl of their choice and sit at a table with others they might not have known previously.

Students spent the evening chatting with friends, eating curry, and watching the SWB’s presentation about the cultural significance and history of each curry. 

Afterwards, they played a Kahoot quiz, which asked questions about each type of curry. A few questions about basketball player Stephen Curry added some laughs to the experience.

Retired Dordt engineering professor Nolan Van Gaalen attended the event with his wife Dorenda. The couple said they enjoyed the presentation and learned a lot. 

“[The facts] were presented in an engaging way,” Van Gaalen said. “I thought it was quite a fun, planned, engagement for the audience.” 

He also said it was “a little more organized than previous years.” 

Darla said it’s events like these that allow people to connect and understand what different cultures “bring to the table.” 

“[An event like this] allows the community to come together, and we see a piece of the world outside Sioux Center,” Darla said. 

Photo credit: Dordt Students Without Borders

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