Cassava cake is traditionally made from grated cassava, coconut cream, sweet young coconut, eggs, sugar, butter and evaporated milk. These ingredients are mixed together to form a thick batter, baked until firm, then topped with a mixture of sweetened condensed milk and coconut cream then broiled until the topping is a rich, caramel color. It’s quite decadent and oh-so-delicious.
My version is based on my sister’s recipe, with a slight variation. While I love the traditional version, I like my cassava cake less sweet so I omit the sweetened condensed milk topping. I also like my version to be similar in consistency to Sweet Chamorro Tamales, so I add a bit more evaporated milk to my batter. To give my cake greater depth of flavor, I also add just a bit of vanilla extract.
Give it a try and let me know how you like it. 🙂
Here are the ingredients you’ll need (the butter is not shown in the photo).
Place all of the ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
Pour the mixture into a 9×13 baking pan sprayed with butter spray.
Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes (check after 1 hour; the top should be golden brown).
I think it’s perfect just as it is, but see below for instructions to add a sweet topping. Let the cake cool then cut into squares. Serve and enjoy!
15 ounces evaporated milk (use just 12 ounces to make it less chewy like sweet tamales)
1 jar macupono, drained and chopped
1 cup sugar
¼ cup butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
¾ cup sweetened condensed milk
¾ cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg yolk
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking pan with butter cooking spray.
Mix the cake ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Pour into the prepared baking pan.
Bake for 1 hour (see note); if the top is not a nice caramel color, bake for an additional 15 minutes or until nicely browned on top. Remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting. Note: If adding the sweet topping, bake for 45 minutes; see instructions below for adding the topping.
Mix the topping ingredients together. Place in a small sauce pan; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until slightly thickened.
After the cake has baked for 45 minutes, remove from the oven and carefully spread the topping over the top of the entire cake. Return the cake to the oven and cook for 15 more minutes.
Turn the oven to broil (make sure your baking pan is broiler-safe). Broil for 5 minutes to brown the topping.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely before cutting.
Yes…kelaguen…with sardines. Don’t knock it ’till you try it. 🙂
This is one of my favorite foods. If you know what kelaguen is and you’ve never tried sardine kelaguen, you’ve got to try it now. If kelaguen is new to you, the basic recipe for this island favorite is quite simple. Chop up your favorite meat or seafood, then season ti with lemon or lime juice, salt, onions, and hot chili peppers. Optional ingredients are freshly grated (or store-bought unsweetened) coconut. All ingredients (except for the meat and/or seafood) is added to taste, meaning if you like your kelaguen more on the tangy side, add more lemon or lime juice. Like it salty? Add more salt. Like it mouth-on-fire-hot? Add lots of hot chili peppers. See, it’s simple.
Click here to view my recipes for different types of kelaguen.
As for sardine kelaguen, you use canned sardines. The photo below show “fish steaks” — this is fine too; the “steaks” are small, bite-sized herring that works just fine in this recipe. While you most certainly can use sardines packed in water, I really prefer sardines packed in soybean oil, and it’s what I recommend for this recipe.
I have a family of four, but only three of us like this (my extremely picky daughter won’t get near this with a 10-foot pole). That’s okay, though — that just leaves more for the rest of us. 😉
Remove the sardines from the can, pouring off the excess oil. Split the sardines in half, lengthwise, then remove and discard the bones (I also remove the stomach but leave it in if you like that kind of stuff). Place the cleaned sardines into a bowl.
I like lots of onions — sliced green onions or diced white or yellow onions — it doesn’t matter; add your favorite kind. I added both. 🙂
Add lemon juice, salt, and hot pepper, to taste.
Mix well, serve and enjoy!
I love this with hot, steamed white rice, or served as a dip with tortilla chips. You can also make tortilla wraps (I recommend soft corn tortillas) or one of my favorites, stuffed in taco shells with lettuce leaves or mix salad greens.
Kådu is the Chamorro term for soup or broth. Think of it as Chamorro Comfort Food. It could be 90 degrees outside on Guam, but serve some kådu for lunch or dinner and chances are, you’ll forget your worries–and the hot weather–as you enjoy a steaming bowl of delicious soup.
There isn’t a particular occasion that kådu is served. If made at home, kådu is usually served as the main course — chicken, beef or other kådu is the starring attraction, served over steamed rice with fina’denne’ on the side. Whereas if you see kadu at parties, it’s usually something more along the lines of a drinkable soup, like Chamorro Corn Soup or Beef Soup with Noodles and Vegetables.
Growing up, kådu was made using whatever we had on hand. Most often my mom would make chicken kådu, using the chickens raised in our yard, of course. She’d also add whatever vegetables my dad happened to be growing at our ranch, or vegetables growing in the back yard. My favorite vegetables to add to kådu were squash and pumpkin tips, and if we had some potatoes and onions, into the pot they went as well. Freshly squeezed coconut milk was a must; that was usually my job when I was younger — grating the coconut then pressing out the thick and creamy milk.
Give my recipe a try. It’s great for those bleary days when warm chicken soup seems to be the only thing to chase the cold away. Find my complete recipe at the bottom of this post. My recipe makes enough to serve 6-8 people, plus enough left over to pack lunch the next day.
Prepare your vegetables. Peel and cut your vegetables in to large chunks. I used zucchini, potatoes and baby bok choy in this version; you can use your favorite vegetables.
Peel the zucchini and thickly slice them. I sliced these about 3/4 to 1 inch thick.
Separate the baby bok choy leaves. Rinse each leaf thoroughly to remove all dirt trapped in between the leaves.
Peel and cut the potatoes into large chunks. I used small red potatoes and cut them half. Place the cut potatoes in cold water to keep them from oxidizing and turning brown.
Set all the vegetables aside for now while you cook the chicken.
Place the chicken into a large pot along with sliced onions, chopped garlic, chicken seasoning and black pepper.
Cook the chicken over medium-high heat until done.
Add the potatoes to the pot along with enough water to cover the potatoes. Cover the pot and bring the soup to a boil. Cook the potatoes for about 8-10 minutes or until they are almost done (the potatoes should still be a bit difficult to pierce easily with a fork). The potatoes will continue cooking when you add the rest of the vegetables.
Add the zucchini to the pot once the potatoes are just about done. It doesn’t take long for squash to cook, so be sure to add them to the pot at the end. Replace the lid on the pot; cook the squash for just a few minutes.
Baby bok choy also cooks very quickly. In fact, the steam from the pot will cook the tender leaves sufficiently. Add the bok choy leaves to the pot once the squash is done then turn the heat to low; replace the lid on the pot.
It takes just a couple of minutes for the bok choy to wilt. Turn off the heat once it does.
All that’s left to do is stir in the coconut milk. You don’t want to boil coconut milk or it will separate after prolonged cooking. The soup is quite hot at this point, hot enough to warm the coconut milk, which is all you need to do. Give it a stir, then taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Add more salt (or chicken seasoning) and pepper, to taste.
Serve with steamed white rice and fina’denne’ and ENJOY! 🙂
Pancit Bihon is a Filipino dish that Chamorros adopted as their own, fusing ingredients from several cultures as well as using home-grown vegetables.
There are many pancit variations. As the name implies, this pancit uses Bihon noodles, also called rice noodles or rice sticks. Bihon noodles are usually sold dried (that’s where the name “rice sticks” comes from) but some Asian markets sell them fresh. I used the dried noodles to make my pancit. It’s quick and easy — it only takes minutes to soften the dried noodles in a bowl of hot water, and even less time to cook them.
I add a variety of vegetables to my pancit. It all depends on whatever is fresh and in season at the time I make it. I like cabbage, carrots, onions, celery, snow peas, bell peppers, and fresh green beans.
In addition to vegetables, Pancit Bihon includes some sort of meat. I prefer using chicken in this recipe, but you most certainly can use pork and beef as well. Pancit Bihon also usually has Chinese sausage, which you can find in almost any Asian market. Look for sausage called “lap xuong mai que lo”. This is a cured pork sausage that resembles skinny pepperoni sticks.
This is a great recipe that is simplified by doing a lot of the prep work ahead of time. If you’ve got a busy life that involves work, kids and school, then your time, like mine, is quite precious. Cut your vegetables the night before you plan to make the pancit. You can also cut the meat ahead of time. Refrigerate the vegetables and meat until you’re ready to cook the pancit. When you’re ready to cook, all you need to do is soak the noodles, cook the meat and vegetables, then mix in the noodles. Easy peasy.
My complete recipe is located at the bottom of this post. Give it a try. I think you’ll like it. It’s delicious served as part of your Chamorro fiesta plate. 🙂
Here’s how to make it.
Place the dried rice noodles in a large bowl filled with hot water. Let the noodles soak while you cook the meat and vegetables. After the noodles become pliable, drain out the water. Use a pair of clean kitchen shears to cut the noodles in half. Set the noodles aside.
Saute the chicken in a large wok or pan along with garlic and black pepper.
Once the chicken is no longer pink, add the soy sauce and Chinese sausage to the wok. Cook for another couple of minutes.
Remove the chicken and sausage from the wok, leaving all of the liquid in the pot (you’ll use the liquid to steam the vegetables and finish cooking the noodles). Set the meat aside. Add sliced onions, carrots, bell pepper and celery to the wok. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Stir fry the vegetables for a couple of minutes; do not cook too long — you want the vegetables to still be somewhat firm, not limp.
Add the cabbage to the wok. Cook for another couple of minutes, just until the cabbage begins to wilt.
The liquid left behind in the wok steams the vegetables nicely.
Remove half of the vegetable mixture (again, leave any liquid in the wok). Add half of the meat mixture back into the wok.
Add half of the drained noodles to the meat and vegetable mixture. Stir to combine.
Add the remaining vegetables, meat and noodles back into the wok. Stir once more.
Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking, adding more soy sauce or salt, to taste.
Garnish with lime or lemon wedges. Serve with your favorite meal or as a main dish. ENJOY!