There’s a religious in town who makes good biryani. Each grain of rice is full of flavor, perfumed with spices with a slight heat at the finish.
Rev. Azam Vianney Mansha is a deacon (just one step away from full ordination into the priesthood) of the Congregation of Jesus and Mary (CJM). CJM is known for its works of mercy and spreading the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Holy Heart of Mary. Today, the members of the Congregation are also called the Eudist Fathers, after their founder, St. John Eudes (1601-1680).
Proud of his heritage, Mansha wants to showcase his native cuisine, traditional Pakistani dishes, to his religious community. Upon the urging of his local superior, Fr. Serg Kabamalan, CJM, the Eudist Kitchen (tel. 0917-8934259, 0977-1796754) was born.
The traditional Pakistani dishes have become quite well known to those who’ve savored them, and the Eudist Kitchen has become a Pakistani culinary outreach program of CJM. It came together not as a business but rather as “our way of supporting Pakistani refugees families in the country who are in need of help,” according to the CJM community.
“Through our generous neighbors who buy and enjoy our Pakistani dishes, we are now able to help the refugees,” Mansha explained.
“The Lord, indeed, provides, as the Eudist Kitchen, of late, has become busy,” he added. “Volunteers like Jack and Lolly Roxas have joined the cause.”
One refugee family is residing with the Eudist Fathers and helping in the kitchen. The Eudist Kitchen has been able to satisfy orders at affordable prices around the Loyola Grand Villas neighborhood in Quezon City. Mansha shares his Pak Aloo Samosa recipe, a common and famous snack in Pakistan. It is a gesture of hospitality in Pakistan to serve samosa with tea. Triangle-shaped samosas can have different fillings such as aloo (potato), veggie and chicken. Although you can find samosas everywhere, the best ones are made at home.
Pak Aloo Samosa
2 c all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
¼ c vegetable oil
½ c warm water
1½ lb russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 Tbsp vegetable oil, plus about 3 c more for frying
1 chopped onion, about 1 c Salt and pepper, according to taste 1 tsp grated garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp garam masala
3 Tbsp lemon juice (optional)Mix the salt and 2 cups all-purpose flour in a bowl. Add ¼ cup vegetable oil to the flour mixture and mix well with your hands until it is tender and soft. Set aside about 20 minutes. Make a ball and rub the ball with about 3 tsp oil and slip it into a plastic bag. Set aside 20 minutes.
Heat 2 Tbsp oil, add the chopped onion and cook until golden brown it. Add the potatoes, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, salt, pepper, garlic and ginger. Stir for 2-3 minutes. Add lemon juice and cook for another 2 minutes. Set aside.
Make a thin 4-inch diameter round with some dough. Cut into two halves. Moisten edges with flour water mixture. Join and press together to make a cone. Put a teaspoon of filling in the cone and seal third side. Put in hot oil, deep fry on low to medium till it gets light brown. Serve hot with tamarind chutney.
Make pizza at home
Thanks to Gretchen Barretto who sent me pizza and ragu with fresh pasta kits, I have discovered Nonna’s Kitchen (tel. 0908-8970668, @nonna.mnl on Facebook and Instagram) which enables diners to join in the cooking process.
With each meal from Nonna, the spotlight is on you. You play the chef.
Nonna’s Kitchen creates dishes that “feel like a warm comforting hug,” said Nonna’s Michael Hearn, “which is why we offer Italian food.”
To make it different from the usual Italian kitchens, Nonna offers something fun and exciting to do at home, different from the typical meal.
Working closely with new and established chefs, Hearn undertook a research and development process so as to secure quality ingredients, ensuring they remain fresh while in transit to diners and customers. He also tried to simplify cooking steps.
Nonna is not just a food shop but a platform aimed to help independent suppliers, restaurants and chefs, said Hearn. It donates part of its income to front-line charities.
“Everyone needs a bit of a hand during these tough times, we are happy to do our part by filling happy bellies,” he said.
Indeed, preparing a pizza from Nonna gives one a personal sense of achievement. My son loves Nonna’s pizza kit. He says it tastes fresh, from the dough to the sauce. He loves the hefty portion of mozzarella cheese that comes with it.
Aside from pizza, Nonna offers an immensely comforting bowl of four-hour, slow-cooked beef ragu with fresh pasta and a vegetarian broccoli pesto. INQ
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