Sunday, December 04, 2005

On Frugality of Meals

The following is an excerpt from a letter dated May 12, 1556 written by St. Ignatius to Father Adrian Adriaenssens. St. Ignatius sent this letter to the rector of the college in Louvain to address the latter's inquiry on the quality of the meals that should be served in the community.

"Ignatius proposes that the meals be frugal, and that the food served be that which is ordinary in that locale and easily obtainable. While Ignatius writes this for those who enjoy good health, he at the same time insists that those who are ill should receive all that they need, and any extras that the physician may prescribe for them." (Read more)

The peace of Christ.
We have received your reverence's letter dated the last of March, and to answer all your points briefly, I praise your thriftiness and economy and your doing your best to give a good example in all that concerns food. I do not think it is good, however, to withhold what the physician thinks is necessary for the recovery or the preservation of health, though he too ought to keep our poverty in mind. This much in general. It is good, moreover, to get accustomed to the more common and more easily obtainable food and drink, especially if one enjoys good health, and it is quite in keeping with reason and our Institute, which directs that Ours make use of those foods that are common and ordinary.

This letter I think explains why Ministers of the House or Kitchen Ministers are always on a look out for opportunities to serve good food to their communities but at the same time making it sure that it is not overly done and goes beyond our simplicity of life. One way of ensuring this is to look for substitues for ingredients which are not locally available. Another way still, is to come up with a "mock" version of an expensive meal.

The cooks from Sacred Heart Novitiate call their Oriental Style Fried Chicken, Pekeng Duck(fake duck) mimicking the flavor of Peking Style Fried Duck. Fr. Herbert Schneider, Minister of Loyola House of Studies came up with his Mock Shark's Fin Soup by using vermicelli as substitute for the very expensive sharks fin.

Here in Xavier School Jesuit Residence, we've come up with our Five Spice Fried Chicken which copies the savory taste of Fried Pigeon usually served in Chinese Lauriat feasts.

Five Spiced Fried Chicken

1 whole medium sized chicken (approx. 1 kilo), obvious fat removed keeping the skin on

2 tbsp. five spice powder

1 clove star anise

3 tbsp. Le Kum Kee Char Siu Sauce

3 tbsp. Le Kum Kee Hoisin Sauce

1 tsp. ginger juice

2 stalks leeks, chopped

1 tbsp. cornstarch

1/4 cup water.

  1. Prepare the marinade. In a large bowl, combine Hoisin and Char Siu sauces, ginger juice, star anise and five spice powder.
  2. Marinate the chicken for at least 4 hours (24 hours for maximum flavor).
  3. Pre-cook the Chicken. In a medium sized pot over medium heat, simmer the chicken in its marinade for about 15 minutes. Remove chicken and let it cool for about 10 minutes. Set aside marinade.
  4. Cut chicken into half and deep fry over medium heat until it turns almond brown.*
  5. Remove chicken from the pan to a plate with table napkins to remove excess oil. Set aside.
  6. Prepare the sauce. Combine cornstarch and water. Bring extra chicken marinade into a boil and add the cornstarch mixture to thicken.
  7. Serving suggestion: Chop the Five Spice Fried Chicken and serve it on top of fried prawn crackers (this should resemble a fowl resting on its nest). Pour in sauce and sprinkle with chopped leeks.

*For a healthier option, try using turbo broiler instead of deep frying it. It brings same results less the fat.

This recipe makes 6 servings.


Passionate Eater said...

Sounds delicious! I eagerly look forward to trying the recipe. (I try to be frugal in my cooking ingredients too!)

Jhaw said...

Thanks passionate eater. Let me know of your comments when you get to try the recipe.

celia kusinera said...

I've had this in numerous trips to Chinese restos but I've never tried making it. Thanks for sharing the recipe, now I think I can give it a go. :)

Btw, is it okay to link you?

katimugambalon said...

Sure! We'd love that! :)