Archive for Chamorro Sides

Pancit Bihon

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.

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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. 🙂

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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.

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Saute the chicken in a large wok or pan along with garlic and black pepper.

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Once the chicken is no longer pink, add the soy sauce and Chinese sausage to the wok. Cook for another couple of minutes.

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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.

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Add the cabbage to the wok. Cook for another couple of minutes, just until the cabbage begins to wilt.

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The liquid left behind in the wok steams the vegetables nicely.

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Remove half of the vegetable mixture (again, leave any liquid in the wok). Add half of the meat mixture back into the wok.

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Add half of the drained noodles to the meat and vegetable mixture. Stir to combine.

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Add the remaining vegetables, meat and noodles back into the wok. Stir once more.

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Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking, adding more soy sauce or salt, to taste.

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Garnish with lime or lemon wedges. Serve with your favorite meal or as a main dish. ENJOY!

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Pancit Bihon
 
Author:
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Chamorro
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Rice noodles cooked with fresh vegetables, savory chicken and Chinese sausage.
Ingredients
  • 1 bag (16-oz) dried Bihon rice noodles (or rice sticks)
  • 2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 Chinese sausages (the kind that's cured), thinly sliced
  • ¾ cup soy sauce
  • ½ large onion, sliced
  • 1½ cups carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • ½ small head cabbage, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • Lime wedges
Instructions
  1. Soak the rice noodles in a bowl of hot water for 15 minutes. Drain the water once the noodles become pliable. Cut the noodles in half with a pair of kitchen shears.
  2. Saute the chicken, garlic and black pepper in large pot or wok; cook until the chicken is no longer pink.
  3. Add the soy sauce and Chinese sausage to the wok. Cook for a couple of minutes then remove the meat from the wok, leaving the liquid in the wok.
  4. Add the onions, carrots, bell pepper and celery to the wok. Cook the vegetables for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the cabbage; cook until the cabbage wilts slightly.
  6. Remove half of the vegetable mixture from the pot. Add half of the meat mixture back to the wok, along with half of the noodles. Stir to combine.
  7. Add the remaining vegetables, meat and noodles to the work. Stir once more to combine. Cook for a couple of minutes then remove from the heat.
  8. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking, adding more soy sauce or salt if required.
Garnish with lime wedges, serve and ENJOY!

 

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Chamorro Potato Salad

Chamorro Potato Salad is a must-have at any Chamorro gathering.  Your fiesta menu would not be complete without it.

There are several variations to this classic side dish, but Chamorros pretty much make it the same basic way.  We use potatoes (of course) — any kind good for baking, but russets are most common — eggs, black olives, pimentos, sweet pickle relish and mayo (more on this later).

Some people add other vegetables such as celery, carrots, or freshly diced pickles, but I like mine with just the ingredients I listed above.

I like a lot of eggs in my salad.  I usually add anywhere between 8 and 12 eggs for 5 pounds of potatoes.  When I was little, before I knew what I was missing, I would get my mom and sisters to pick out all of the eggs from their potato salad and give it to me — that was all I’d eat out of it, just the eggs.  Now I know better and eat it ALL.  It’s so good.

My complete recipe is at the bottom of this post.  Give it a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂
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 Start by squeezing out as much liquid from the relish, pimentos and olives.

If you don’t squeeze out as much liquid as possible, your salad will be wet and runny, not to mention died the color of the olives, pimentos and relish.

Who wants to eat a mushy blackish-reddish-greenish concoction?  If that description had you grimacing in disgust, then it served its purpose.  Squeeze out the liquid.  Trust me, you’ll be glad you did. 😉

You can dump out all of the contents into a fine-mesh strainer, and using the back of a large spoon, press out as much liquid as possible.  I managed to press out about 3/4 cup of liquid from the relish, and that was BEFORE I used a cloth to really get the liquid out (see more about this technique below).image

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Another option — which is my preferred method — is to place all of the wet ingredients into the center of a clean cheesecloth or kitchen rag (don’t use towel-like cloths or you’re likely to get strings of fabric into your salad).  Gather the edges of the cloth together, twisting at the top to compress the ingredients.  Squeeze the balled up portion to get out as much liquid as you can.  Keep squeezing until no more (or very little) liquid extrudes through the cloth.

Set the relish, pimentos and olives aside.image

Meanwhile, rinse the potatoes and place them into a large pot of hot water.  Add the eggs to the pot.  Bring the water to a boil.  Cook the eggs (in the boiling water) for 10-12 minutes then remove them from the pot.  Keep cooking the potatoes until they are done (insert a butter knife or metal skewer into the center of a potato — if it slides in smoothly and easily, the potatoes are done).
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Remove the potatoes from the boiling water.  If you let cooked potatoes sit in water for too long, they soak up too much water, becoming mushy.

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Allow the potatoes and eggs to cool before peeling the skin and shell off.  If you want to decorate the top of your salad, set aside one egg yolk.
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Cut the potatoes and eggs into small cubes.  You can make them as big or as small as you like.  Don’t cut them too small, however, or you’ll end up with a mashed potato salad.
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Add the seasonings to the dry mixture — I like adding onion powder, black pepper and salt.  The seasonings get distributed easier with the dry potatoes.  If you add the seasonings after adding the mayo and wet condiments (relish, olives and pimentos), you might get clumps of seasonings that don’t get mixed well.

Stir gently to mix the seasonings with the potato-egg mixture.  Taste it at this point and add more seasonings to your liking.  Don’t add more salt, however.  Mayonnaise has salt; wait until you mix the mayo into the salad before adding more salt.
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Add the relish, olives and pimentos to the bowl.  Stir gently to combine.
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Doesn’t it look so festive already?  If you like more olives, relish, and/or pimentos in your salad, by all means, add more.  Just be sure to squeeze out as much liquid as you can.

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Fold in the mayo.  Chamorros will tell you that you MUST use Best Foods or Hellmann’s brand mayonnaise in Chamorro Potato Salad.  I must admit that I hold true to that sentiment as well.  Our classic Chamorro potato salad just doesn’t taste the same if you use “Dressing” (aka Miracle Whip).

I like my potato salad a little heavy on the mayo.  Use less if you like your salad a bit more on the dry side.
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♩ ♪ ♫ ♬   Ta daaa!  ♬ ♫ ♪ ♩

It’s almost done.

My mom ALWAYS decorated the top of her potato salad, even if we were just eating it at home and not serving it at a party or family gathering.
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Remember that egg yolk I told you to set aside?  Well, it’s time to for it to make its debut.  Place the yolk in a small fine-mesh strainer.

Oh…wait…before you do anything with the yolk, spread a very thin layer of mayo (a couple of tablespoons should do it) over the top of the salad.  This serves as the “canvas” for your egg yolk decoration.

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Use a spoon or fork to gently push the yolk through the strainer, creating a “snowfall” of egg yolk over the top of the potato salad.  Mom always saved some pimento and olives to make pretty flowers as well, and she’d make flower stems using celery leaves.  Be as creative as you like.

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See, isn’t this pretty (even without pimento and olive “flowers”)? 🙂

imageServe and ENJOY!

My potato salad goes perfectly with Red Rice, BBQ Chicken, Pancit and Diago’ Kimchi. 🙂

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Potato Salad
 
Author:
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Chamorro
 
A classic Chamorro side dish that is a must-have on your Fiesta table.
Ingredients
  • 5 pounds potatoes
  • 8 hard boiled eggs (set aside one yolk), diced
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 can (4.25 oz) chopped black olives, squeezed to remove as much liquid as possible
  • 2 jars (4 oz) diced pimentos, squeezed to remove as much liquid as possible
  • 1 jar (10 oz) sweet pickle relish, squeezed to remove as much liquid as possible
  • 3 cups mayonnaise
Instructions
  1. Rinse the potatoes then place in a large pot filled with hot water. Bring the water to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are done (it's done when a knife or fork easily pushes through the potato when pierced). Remove the cooked potatoes from the water; allow to cool completely then peel and discard the potato skin. Cut into small cubes.
  2. Place the cubed potatoes and diced eggs into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the onion powder, salt and black pepper. Stir gently to combine.
  4. Add the drained and squeezed olives, pimentos and relish to the bowl. Stir to combine.
  5. Fold in the mayonnaise. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Serve and ENJOY!

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Daigo’ Kimchi with Rokkyo & Pickled Garlic

This is a very simple salad or side dish made with pickled daikon radish, pearl onions, and garlic.  This is not a dish you want to eat before venturing out into public…your pores will exude an odor that is guaranteed to chase away even the scariest of vampires.

Daigo’ (pickled daikon radish), Rokkyo’ (pickled pearl onions) and pickled garlic are popular snacks on Guam.  Visit your local village store and you’re likely to see large jars filled with these pickled delights for sale.

imageTo make an easy kimchi, mix together Kimchee Base and white vinegar, adding it to the bowl of mixed vegetables.

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Let the mixture marinate for about 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to develop.  Serve and ENJOY! 🙂

 

Daigo' Kimchi with Rokkyo & Pickled Garlic
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 package sliced pickled daikon radish
  • 1 small package (about 2 cups) pickled pearl onions
  • 1 small package (about 1 cup) pickled garlic
  • ¼ cup Kimchee Base
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • Hot pepper, optional
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Let the mixture marinate for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
Serve and ENJOY!

 

 

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Miso Donne’ Dinanche (Miso Pepper Sauce)

Donne’ Dinanche, or a hot pepper paste, has many variations.  It can be made with just peppers and no other seasoning, or you can add other ingredients such as onions, garlic, coconut milk, vegetables, crab paste and lemon juice.

One variation that is quite popular — tasty too — adds miso paste to the mixture.

The resulting sauce — it’s more like a thick paste — is a spicy, salty, savory mixture that goes perfectly with grilled meat (or any meat dish, really) and hot steamed white rice.

Give my easy recipe a try.  If you like spicy condiments, you’ll like this one. 🙂

These are some of the ingredients I used — a Japanese long purple eggplant (although any eggplant will do), yellow onions, fresh green beans, garlic (not pictured), lemon powder (not pictured) and ready-made Tinian donne’ dinanche.

You can make your own donne’ dinanche if you don’t have any of the pre-packaged kind.  Use a blender you’re willing to dedicate solely for grinding peppers; using the blender for after you use it to grind peppers will most likely add a spice to the other food.  I don’t know about you but spicy smoothies don’t taste all that good to me.  Blend about 3 cups of hot chili peppers, adding a few spoonfuls of some sort of liquid–coconut oil, lemon juice or water–if the blender is not grinding the peppers into a smooth consistency.

If you’d rather not use your blender to grind peppers, mince the fresh peppers as finely as you can.  You could also substitute the fresh pepper mixture with dried pepper flakes that you can buy in an Asian store.  Ask the store clerk for the dried pepper flakes commonly used to make kimchi.

Add the eggplant, onions, garlic, and coconut oil to a large frying pan.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent the vegetables from sticking to the bottom of the pan and to prevent burning.

Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the onions and eggplant soften.  Press the mixture with the back of your cooking spoon to start to mash the mixture — you don’t want to mash it completely, but the final consistency should be a spreadable, paste-like mixture.

Add the beans to the pan.  Cook for a few minutes until the beans soften.

Add the miso to the pan.

Stir the mixture to combine all the ingredients together.  Cook for a few more minutes, pressing down with your cooking spoon to mash any large pieces.

Turn the heat off then mix in the donne’ dinanche (mashed hot peppers).  Be careful — ensure your cooking area is well-ventilated.  The fumes from cooking pepper are quite potent!

Taste the mixture.  Add lemon powder or freshly squeezed lemon juice if you want to cut back on the saltiness.

Serve with BBQ meat (or your favorite meat dish), hot steamed rice and ENJOY!

Miso Donne' Dinanche (Miso Pepper Sauce)
 
Author:
Serves: 2½ cups
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
A spicy concoction with hot chili peppers, garlic, and the saltiness of miso paste ~ it's perfect with any meat dish.
Ingredients
  • 1 large Japanese purple eggplant (or 2 medium)
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 4 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 cup fresh green beans, thinly sliced
  • 1½ cups Japanese miso paste
  • 3 tablespoons donne' dinanche (mashed hot chili peppers)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon powder, optional
Instructions
  1. Dice the eggplant into small pieces; place in a large frying pan. Add the onion, garlic and coconut oil to the pan. Sauté over medium-high heat until the onions are translucent and the eggplant softens, about 5-7 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the bottom from sticking to the pan and burning.
  2. Add the beans to the pan; stir to combine. Cook another 5 minutes to soften the beans. Add an additional tablespoon of coconut oil if the mixture appears too dry and is sticking to the pan.
  3. Add the miso paste; stir to combine. Mash the mixture slightly with the back of your cooking spoon.
  4. Add the pepper paste to the pan then turn off the heat (ensure your cooking area is well-ventilated when you add the pepper).
  5. Add lemon powder, to taste (optional).
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Tamåles Gisu

Tamåles Gisu is a Chamorro tamales with one red side and a non-spicy white side.

I make my tamåles by making the red side corn flour or cornmeal-based (I prefer cornmeal) and the white side rice-based.  I also add hot peppers to the red side and leave the white side non-spicy. I add cooked bacon to both the red and white mixtures, but if that weren’t enough, I also top the tamåles gisu with a slice of delicious bacon.

This is an easy recipe to make.  The time-consuming part is wrapping the tamåles in individual packets.  The traditional tamåles gisu is wrapped in banana leaves.  Living in the mainland U.S., however, I rarely find fresh banana leaves (I prefer using fresh over frozen leaves), so I wrap the tamåles in aluminum foil and place a strip of banana leaf in each packet to give it a little bit of flavor of the “real thing.”

If you’re really pressed for time, forego wrapping individual tamåles.  Instead, use a large dish and place the red side in half of the dish, the white in the other half.  Add slices of cooked bacon on top and let your guests scoop out the tamales.

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Tamåles Gisu

Tamales gisu

Ingredients:

  Red Portion:
  • 4 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 packages achote powder
  • 2 tablespoons powdered chicken bouillon
  • 1/2 to 1 cup white cornmeal or masa harina (corn flour) (Note: start with 1/2 cup first; if you want it thicker, add more)
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Hot pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup reserved bacon fat
  White Portion:
  • 4 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons powdered chicken bouillon
  • 1 cup cream of rice
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup reserved bacon fat

Directions:

In two separate pots, sauté the garlic, onion, and bacon over medium heat; reserve about 1/2 cup of melted bacon fat from each pot (or a total of 1 cup of bacon fat), drain remaining fat.

Tamales gisu

One pot is for the red portion, the other is for the white portion

For the Red Portion:

Add the water, achote powder, and chicken bouillon to the bacon mixture; return to a boil. Slowly whisk the cornmeal into the bacon mixture; the mixture should start to thicken.

Add black pepper and hot pepper to taste.

Continue to cook over low heat until the mixture thickens. Add some of the reserved bacon fat if the mixture is too thick to stir; the consistency should be like thick oatmeal.

Tamales gisu

For the White Portion:

Add the water and chicken bouillon to the bacon mixture; return to a boil. Slowly whisk the cream of rice into the bacon mixture; the mixture should start to thicken.

Note: If you don’t have cream of rice, toast 1 cup of uncooked rice in a shallow pan.  Let the toasted rice cool then use a blender to grind the rice into a fine powder.  Use this in place of the cream of rice.

Add black pepper to taste. Continue to cook over low heat until the mixture thickens. Add some of the reserved bacon fat if mixture is too thick to stir; the consistency should be like thick oatmeal.

Tamales gisu

Cut the aluminum foil into 8-inch squares. Top each piece of foil with both mixtures (red and white portions side by side) then place one strip of bacon on top of the red and white filling before sealing the foil. For those of you worried about placing uncooked bacon in the tamales, the bacon will cook as it steams.  Or, you can pre-cook the bacon before adding it to the tamåles.

Fold the sides of the foil over the tamales then fold together to seal.

Tamales gisu

Tamales gisu

Tamales gisu

Steam the freshly wrapped tamåles for 15-20 minutes (steam frozen tamåles for 30-40 minutes).

Unwrap and ENJOY!

Tamales gisu

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