Spice it up


    Photo by John Meguerian / North by Northwestern

    While Evanston offers a wide range of exotic cuisine, what the restaurants don’t want you to know is that you can make a lot of these recipes yourself. Here, several students demystify authentic family recipes so GrubHub is not your only late-night snack option. You might not be able to pronounce some of these recipes, but making them will be a cinch — even in sparsely stocked kitchens.

    Platanos Fritos

    El Salvador

    Darlene Reyes, WCAS ‘15

    Reyes loves eating fried plantains with crema salvadoreña, similar to sour cream, which you can find at a Latino supermarket.

    1 ripe plantain
    5 tablespoons vegetable or canola cooking oil

    1. Cut plantain in half horizontally, then cut it vertically into long slices.
    2. Heat 4 tablespoons of cooking oil in pan, then add slices of plantain.
    3. Fry the plantains until golden brown on both sides. Watch out for splattering oil.
    4. When the plantains are done, place them on a plate with a paper towel layered on top to soak up any excess oil.
    5. Serve alone or with a side of sour cream.



    This recipe originated in Greek villages and consists of simple ingredients people always had on hand.

    3-4 eggs
    3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    1 medium ripe tomato
    100 grams feta cheese
    Salt and pepper to taste

    1. Dice tomato or blend in a blender.
    2. Put oil and tomato in a hot pan.
    3. Whip eggs and add some salt.
    4. Mix eggs with tomato in the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes.
    5. Mix in small cubes of feta cheese and serve.

    Hong Shao Ji Chi


    Miranda Zhao, WCAS ‘14

    While studying abroad in Spain, Zhao discovered this dish could be more easily prepared in a microwave than in a traditional Chinese cooking pan. These wings are less spicy than Buff Joe’s — you tell us if they’re tastier. 

    4-6 chicken wings, washed and unfrozen
    3 teaspoons soy sauce
    2 teaspoons cooking oil
    1 teaspoon sugar
    Salt and pepper to taste

    1. Mix soy sauce, cooking oil and seasonings in a microwave safe glass bowl.
    2. Put chicken wings in the bowl, making sure that they all touch the mixture.
    3. Cover the bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes.
    4. Microwave on medium heat for 10 minutes until the wings come out with a rich brown color.

    Batata Maa Kuzubra 


    Sarah Daoud, Medill ‘13

    Try this in a pita sandwich, or as a side dish paired with chicken. 

    4 potatoes, peeled and chopped in K inch cubes
    8 cloves of garlic, smashed
    1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
    1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
    Salt and pepper to taste

    1. Put oil in a hot pan and then place potatoes in the pan.
    2. Cook the potatoes until they turn gold.
    3. Add garlic and cook for one minute. 
    4. Add the cilantro, salt and pepper and serve.

    Curry Chicken


    Fenit Nirappil, Medill ‘12

    Curry chicken is a popular staple throughout India, with variations on spices depending on the region. Nirappil’s family recipe reflects a typical dish in Northern Indian cuisine.

    3 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized cubes
    1 large onion
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    1 medium tomato, diced (or 6 ounces tomato paste)
    5 cloves garlic
    1 ounce ginger
    2 teaspoons garam masala
    1/2 cup coconut milk


    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    1 teaspoon vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon coriander
    1 teaspoon chili powder (or more, if you prefer spicier)

    1. Combine and mix all marinade ingredients in a large bowl.
    2. Add chicken, toss until coated completely and refrigerate overnight.
    3. Dice onion and fry until light golden brown.
    4. Add tomatoes and stir until the mixture has a paste-like texture. Then add garam masala (or substitute more coriander and chili powder), garlic and ginger.
    5. Add marinated chicken and let cook for 10 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally.
    6. Add coconut milk and vegetables of your choice (green peppers, garbanzo beans, green peas).
    7. Cover pot and cook on medium for another 10 minutes and serve.

    Enjoy an exotic cocktail with us, too.


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