Sushi, curry, manti and other delights
“It was really difficult understanding the German ‘street language’ in the first three semesters,” recalls Sureshkumar Venkat. Prior to studying at HTW Berlin, the student from India had spent three years working for a small company in the Black Forest region. Understanding the Berlin dialect was therefore a huge challenge for him. While working on his Master’s in Business Computing, he came up with the idea for the “Food Competition”. The competition has just taken place for the fifth time. International students cook to demonstrate their skills as amateur chefs and sell their dishes on campus to HTW Berlin students and staff at lunchtime. A jury evaluates the dishes based on taste, presentation and popularity with the lunchtime guests, i.e. how quickly the 30 portions are sold out. The organisers donate the proceeds from the event to a charitable organisation in Berlin. This year 728.20 euros were donated to the Berliner Tafel, the local foodbank.
India: Upma and Sheera
They enjoy cooking nearly every evening and their favourite dishes are from their homeland. Although they never dreamed they would win a competition with their hobby, Sagar Manjarekar, Raj Jawalekar, Jayesh Neve and Jaider Devasthali are this year’s winners. The team from the Maharashtra province in India was one of twelve teams to take part in the Food Competition at HTW Berlin. They impressed the jury with their Upma, a spicy savoury dish with semolina, and Sheera, a sweet dish with saffron, almonds and pistachios. “We started preparing the dishes very early this morning,” says Sagar. He and his fellow team members are in the final last stages of their Master’s degree in Business Administration and Engineering. “Cooking runs in my blood,” says one team member with a smile, visibly pleased. Congratulations on winning first place!
Germany: Raspberry yoghurt cake and Cookie Monster muffins
Vera and Falko developed their recipes for a raspberry yoghurt cake and Cookie Monster muffins specially for the competition, refining the recipes with many attempts. “Falko is my biggest critic,” says Business Communication Management student Verena about her partner. Falko, a student on the Master of Business Law study programme, suggested mixing chocolate and chia seeds into the batter for their beautiful looking cake. “I love to cook and it pleases me when I can put a smile on the face of my guests.” Verena’s hobby is soon to become something more. Once she has her Bachelor’s degree under her belt, she wants to study nutritional counselling. Experimenting with recipes for the Food Competition was certainly worth it — their sweet creation won second place. Congratulations!
India: Paneer Curry
In addition to their Master’s study programme in Business Administration and Engineering, good food also plays a pretty big role for Akash Thampi, Prithivi Rajan and Kiran Rao. Prithivi even has a small food blog complete with pictures in which explains how to prepare dishes from his home country. For the Food Competition they chose paneer curry and produced the main ingredient — the cheese — themselves. The jury enjoyed the many aromas in this traditional dish, including cardamom, cinnamon, coriander leaves and ginger, and awarded third place to the team. Congratulations!
Peru: Chicken rice
“Food is an important part of our lives!” say Angie Lora, Brenda Pino and Luis Ramos. The team selected a typical Peruvian dish based on everyday cooking. All of them are studying Industrial Engineering. As they miss the tastes of their native cuisine, they often cook together. They bring the essential spices back with them whenever they visit home. In Germany, they haven’t been able to find yellow chilli or purple corn juice. “But we do like Currywurst,” they confess with a big smile. Well then, Guten Appetit!
“We don’t eat tapas every day in Spain. They’re more like a Sunday dish,” says Diego. Together with Augustin from Argentina and Julian from Germany, Diego prepared some typical tapas including tortillas and dates with ham. There were also some surprising creations like cheese toast with pieces of apple and chicory leaves filled with cream cheese and salmon. Julian, who has worked in Columbia as a German teacher and like his fellow team members is currently working on his Master’s degree in International Business Administration and Engineering, would like to see a little more variety on offer in the canteen. He very much enjoys the rich variety of South American cuisine.
Mila from Bulgaria and Rachel from Germany are unmistakably fans of Asian cuisine. They have travelled (or are planning to travel) to Indonesia, India and Thailand. “We love Sushi,” they say. Inspired by the many recipes that both women have tried, their selection of sushi sold out very quickly. Neither of them is drawn to the gastronomic trade though. “Cooking should remain a hobby,” they both feel.
“Preparing manti takes a lot of time,” explains Mahliyo from Uzbekistan. “Usually a group of women meet at the weekend or before celebrations to prepare everything.” The Business Administration student took part in the Food Competition as a supplementary module in her study programme. She helped Aida and Abylay from Kazakhstan with the presentation of their filled dumplings. Served with a yoghurt sauce and chopped walnuts, the manti are beautifully garnished on the plate with watercress. “Food has to be fresh. In our homeland, all of the ingredients are seasonal and from our region. That’s why they taste different to the ones you find in Germany,” says Aida.
Vietnam: Spring rolls
In the region where Dao Huy was born, spring rolls are an essential food at family gatherings and festive occasions. In North Vietnam the fried spring rolls are called Nem rán, in the South they’re called Chả giò. Dao Huy is doing his degree in International Business in Switzerland but is currently at HTW Berlin as an exchange student. He and fellow student Ngoc Minh Nguyen decided to serve their very crispy fried rolls with tomatoes and a spicy sweet chilli sauce. Their rolls are filled with ingredients such as pork, mushrooms, carrots and kohlrabi.
If the participants in the Food Competition had their way, the canteen food in Berlin would include international dishes on the menu more often. All of the teams could certainly help to provide a variety of authentic recipes. Just as well that Thomas Horstmann, the manager of the Treskowallee campus canteen, was one of the jury members. Perhaps he will take away a few new ideas and fresh inspiration? That would be great!