IMU's Culinary Underbelly

At the end of the 4th semester for every student in IMU's medical course would be given a choice of a few topics to study as a 3 weeks course. So i tried isolating my mind as far away as i could from medical related topics. But sadly this time round literature wasn't an option so the closest thing to that would have been Nutrition and Dietetics.

Boy was i so sunken deep down with regret each day in class which starts at an ungodly hour of 8am and placing myself through lessons that clashes with principals of any foodie abides too. Learning to count calories, being taught on how to come up with a healthy diet and  acknowledging that my daily diet is enough to last me up to 3 days worth of calories.
One work station, complete with 4 stoves and an oven. Sufficient space for prep as well!

It was awful, torturing and to a certain extend lewd to my eyes and ears that i wanted to jam a pencil into it. But probably the true reason i joined was either to learn how to abuse my calories and have access to IMU's swanky kitchen. More inclined to the latter though.

You might be thinking why does a medical school need such a swanky kitchen worthy of a Michelin Star restaurant. Its what students of Nutrition and Dietetics call their lab. Our term of lab coins from looking at cancerous cells under a microscope where as their's is a cradle of excitement and creativity. Sighs....

So what were tasked to do was to create a dish/ modify it from an existing recipe to make it more healthy in a time of 3 hours. Pretty much like iron chef on a much more amateur level. So i ended up with a group of girls and an indirect alpha male since everyone else knew next to nothing about cooking.

With this in mind the most suitable dish that i could think of was chicken pie. Something hearty, homely and most of all pausible to pull off in a healthy way. I basically followed the usual principals of a chicken pie but substituted butter with margarine, flour with whole meal flour and reduce the amount of salt added and substituted cube chicken stock with pure chicken broth. The original recipe was taken from here.

Chicken Pie in the making.
Talk about passion
There was a total of 8 groups participating 4 from medicine and the other 4 from dentistry. There was a stark contrast between the preparation methods between two batches. Medical students being more sloppy in terms of presentation but placing greater emphasis on taste and the dental side being very handy and artsy with their garnishing.
Left: Goldilocks porridge, green curry, kebabs, artsy fancy fruit "sushi"
Can you spot which one of the above is the handy work of a dental student? pretty obvious init?

Since our chicken pie had more vegetables than chicken in it, i decided to aptly name our dish "Chicken in the Forest" with a tongue in the cheek attitude. If you think thats rad what about "Stove monkeys" as a group name courtesy of yours truly.
Left: making the "forest" Right: Monkeys in action
So what is Chicken in the Forest? In simple non-Michelin star menu terms it reiterates as Chicken Pie with a side serving of Salad and Honey Glazed Apples with Lemon Zest. The only real difficulty would probably be in getting the pastry to rise and to the right consistency. Im as clueless as lost child when it comes to baking.

Nothing very fancy in terms of garnishing but big on taste =)

Some cold bihun tossed with roasted shrimps and side serving of mango pudding and stuffed potatoes.
Tastes tangy and salty at the same time very nice.

Cake without butter

Sandwich rolls! Creative stuff

Fruit salad and Porridge.
 This porridge has a texture that was caught between a risotto and congee. Fruit salad was tasty tho.
Green Curry
This was the bomb. I'd give full salutation to the group which made this with green curry paste made from scratch. Nice spicy kick to it.
Fruit "salad"
Fruit cuts with a base of honey binded oats and muesli. Slightly too dry for me though could have used a little more honey for its oats and muesli.
Seared chicken with brown sauce with a side serving of salad.

A complete 3 course meal.
The one word description of this whole meal prepared by a group of dental students would be Vibrant. In terms of colour of course and it does touch on all the major food groups.

Chicken kebab!
This dish ultimately won. They deserved it tho. Couldnt get enough of it. Was definitely redolent of herbs and spices. Everybody was fighting for a piece of this.

Wasn't aware that points and prizes were to be awarded for this. Am grateful that we came in second. Competition was stiff very stiff. 

If i had things my way i'd get michelin to give this one star for presentation.

in shock? i was.

1st place

3rd place
If im not mistaken there's a chinese proverb saying in life we should always endure hardship and bitterness before we can truly devour happiness and enjoyment and this was a small example testifying to this. Despite the heavy bludgeoning of proper dietary intake its nice to end with something that i really signed up for. And P.s if everyone had to follow our daily requirement i'd be a good start to rid the world of hunger. 


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