Archive for Fina’ Mames (Chamorro Desserts)


Åhu is a sweet and warm soup of sorts, and is a very popular dessert drink on Guam.  It’s one of the first things I make when I go home for visits.

While you can make this dish using frozen månha (the meat from young coconuts) and the juice from the månha, there is nothing like using the real thing.

This delicious and sweet drink is thickened by the månha dumplings, made by mixing pureed månha, sugar and tapioca starch.  The dumplings — I call them lumps — cook in boiling hot månha juice until they float to the surface indicating they are done.


It doesn’t take long to cook up a huge pot of åhu.  What DOES take long, however, is cutting down a bunch of månha, cutting them open and collecting the juice, then scraping the meat.

Here’s an entertaining (at least I think so) video of the guys working hard at harvesting the månha for us. 🙂

I’ll bet many of you didn’t know there are some species of coconut that are orange when young, not just the common green ones.

My sister and I recruited the men to do the gathering with the promise we’ll do the cooking.  They eventually enjoyed the fruits of our labor and relaxed with a huge cupful of delicious åhu. 🙂


After draining out the juice, cut open the månha and scrape out the meat.  Be careful not to scrape out any of the husk if you can help it.  The månha meat is very tender; it doesn’t take much effort to scrape it out of the shell.


After you’ve collected the juice and meat, it’s time to get cooking.  Place the månha juice into a large pot.  You don’t need much juice to get great tasting åhu.  You can use all juice or a mixture of juice and water.  My dad likes to drink the månha juice so when my sister and I made this, we diluted it by mixing 8 cups of månha juice with 8 cups of water, saving the rest of the juice for dad.

If the juice is sweet, you don’t need much sugar.  We added about 3 cups of sugar to all that liquid.  Add a cup at a time and taste as you go, adding as much sugar as you like.

Bring the liquid to a slow boil while you make the månha dumpling mixture.


Place the månha in a food processor.  Use more månha if you like lots of “lumps” — we used 4 cups of månha (my family likes lots of lumps) for a large pot of åhu.


Process the månha until it’s smooth and creamy.


Add the entire bag of tapioca starch to the pureed månha.  Save the rest of the tapioca starch in case you need to thicken the åhu liquid later or to add more to the månha-starch mixture (more on this later).



Add sugar to the månha-starch mixture.  You don’t need much since you’ve already sweetened the liquid.  The amount of sugar also depends on how sweet the månha meat is.  This batch of månha was very sweet so we added just one cup of sugar.  The mixture will be very thick, thicker than cake batter.


Drop small dollops of the batter into the boiling liquid.  Do a test batch first to taste if it’s sweet enough.  Add more sugar if you want it sweeter.


The lumps will float to the top of the pot when done.  If the lumps break apart during the cooking, that means you need to add more starch.  Add a few spoonfuls at a time, then cook a test batch to make sure they stay intact.


This recipe makes a LOT of lumps — just the way my brother likes it.  The starch in the lumps also serves to thicken the åhu.  Let the mixture cook over low heat for a few minutes after all of the lumps are done.  If, after a few minutes, the liquid is not thickening, mix any reserved tapioca starch with a cup of water; stir the mixture into the åhu and cook for a few more minutes until thickened.


Serve while still hot and ENJOY! 🙂




Cuisine: Chamorro
A warm, sweet dessert drink made from the juice and meat of young green coconuts.
  • 8 cups Månha juice
  • 8 cups water
  • 3 cups sugar, more or less, to taste
  • 4 cups månha meat, pureed
  • 1½ (15 oz) bags tapioca starch
  • 1 cup sugar
  1. Place the månha, juice, and sugar in a large pot. Bring to a boil over low heat.
  2. Mix together the pureed månha, one bag of starch (reserve the remaining half bag), and sugar to form the batter for the dumplings.
  3. Drop the batter into the boiling liquid by the teaspoonful. The dumplings will float to the top when done. If the dumplings break apart during cooking, add a couple of tablespoons more starch to the dumpling mixture. "Test cook" a few dumplings to ensure they don't break apart and is sweet enough. If the dumplings still break apart during cooking, add a couple more tablespoons of starch.
  4. After all of the dumplings are done, check to see if the åhu is thick enough for your liking. It should be the consistency of not-too-thick gravy. If you'd like it thicker, mix any remaining starch with 1 cup water; stir the mixture into the hot åhu. Cook for a few more minutes until the åhu thickens.
Serve while still hot and ENJOY! 🙂

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Potu is a sweet steamed rice cake that’s a Chamorro favorite.  It’s traditionally made using sweet tuba, a Chamorro beverage made from fermenting (like wine) coconut juice.  Rice is soaked overnight in the tuba then ground into a super-fine consistency the next day.  The mixture is sweetened and steamed into these amazingly delicious rice cakes.

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When I was younger, I usually only had potu when we went to parties or (I don’t mean to be morbid) at rosaries.  My late aunt used to make potu as well.  I remember those sleepovers at her house —  Auntie Frances had the entire kitchen and dining room filled with tubs of soaking rice and pans of potu ready for delivery.  Ahh…those were the good ‘ole days.

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This is my friend, Judy Dillinger’s recipe.  Being away from home, I definitely don’t have access to a lot of home-grown ingredients, tuba being one of them.  Judy’s recipe makes use of readily available ingredients that you can find in almost any grocery store.  It’s also quick and easy, using rice flour instead of soaking rice overnight.

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If you’d like to try another of my friend’s Potu recipes, take a look at this one by my friend, Rose Camacho.

I’ve made both recipes and I will tell you they are both equally delicious and definitely tried-and-true.

Give Judy’s or Rose’s recipes a try.  I think you’ll like them.

Here’s how to make Judy’s Potu.

Events - 017You’ll need to find rice flour that is NOT glutinous.  The label will tell you whether it’s glutinous or not.  The glutinous kind will NOT work for potu.  Glutinous rice flour is made by grinding sweet rice, which is very sticky when cooked.  The NON-glutinous rice flour (the kind you need for potu) is made by grinding short or medium-grain rice.

This is a photo of the brand of rice flour I used.  There are many different brands; make sure the label states non-glutinous.rice flour

I’ve also used this brand of rice flour (the red bag, pictured on the right).  Notice that the green bag clearly states “Glutinous.”  If you’re familiar with mochi, glutinous rice flour is used to make mochi.  Again, for potu, you want to use NON-glutinous rice flour.

Events - 0545As I mentioned above, tuba is not available here in the states, unless you have a friend or family member visiting from home bring you some.  An easy substitute for tuba in this recipe is coconut vinegar.  You only need a little bit of vinegar.  Judy’s recipe calls for four tablespoons mixed with enough water to make one cup of liquid.  I actually cut the amount of vinegar in half because it’s quite pungent.  This is the brand of coconut vinegar I use.

Mix the vinegar with enough water to make one cup of liquid.  I only used two tablespoons of vinegar, but Judy’s recipe calls for four.  It’s all up to you, really, on how much vinegar to use.  Remember, a little goes a long way.

Mix the rice flour, sugar and baking powder with the vinegar-water mixture.  Let the mixture sit for a few minutes — it will get very bubbly.

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Pour the batter into molds, filling them almost to the top.  I’ve used silicone molds, little glass cups and the silicone molds lined with mini cupcake paper liners, all with success.

Place the molds into your steamer basket before filling — it’s easier than trying to place full cups into the basket without spilling any batter.

Events - 020Place the steamer basket into the steamer.  Place a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth beneath the lid to keep the condensation from dripping back onto the potu.

Events - 023Steam for about 20 minutes.  The tell-tale crack on top indicates the potu is done.  Let the potu cool for a few minutes before removing from the molds.  Serve and ENJOY! 🙂


Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Chamorro
Serves: 2½ dozen
A sweet steamed rice cake that's light and fluffy and easy to prepare.
  • 1 cup rice flour (make sure it's NOT glutinous rice flour)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons vinegar mixed with water to equal 1 cup of liquid (OR use 1 cup sweet tuba)
  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
  2. Pour the mixture into miniature molds and steam for about 15-20 minutes.




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Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

My entire family loves, loves, loves cookies!  Soft, chewy, crispy, crumbly, chocolate, butter, coconut, sugar, stuffed, double-stuffed, you name it, we’ll probably love it.

One of our favorites are a crispy cookie from Guam called Chamorro Chip Cookies.  They are crispy bite-sized cookies that are perfectly sweet and chocolaty.  I still remember requesting bags of cookies be sent to me in care packages.  I was absolutely over the moon one trip home when the airline served small packages of the delicious morsels in lieu of peanuts! 🙂

Well, gone are the days of free snacks on the airlines, but you don’t have to wait until you get to Guam or for someone to send you a care package to enjoy these delicious, sweet and crispy cookies. It takes just a few ingredients to mix up a batch, ingredients you’re likely to have on hand already.

My complete recipe is at the bottom of this post.  Give my recipe a try. I’m sure you’ll like it. 🙂

Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

~ My version of the beloved “Chamorro Chip Cookie”


These are all of the ingredients you need.  You probably have all of these on hand already.  As I mentioned above, my family loves cookies and baked goods, so I make sure I always have flour, sugar, butter, eggs, baking soda (and powder), salt, vanilla extract and chocolate chips in my pantry.

I made a double batch of cookies, which is why you see two bags of chocolate chips.  Otherwise, one batch uses only one bag of mini chocolate chip morsels.


Mix the flour, salt and baking soda together.


Place the butter and suar in a medium sized mixing bowl.


Use a hand-held mixer to cream the butter and sugar together.


Add the eggs and vanilla extract to the mixing bowl.


Mix until creamy.


Add one third of the flour mixture to the bowl.  Mix for a minute or until the dry ingredients are well-incorporated with the butter mixture.


Add another third of the flour mixture; mix another minute then add the remaining flour mixture.  Mix until all of the flour is well-incorporated and a thick, creamy cookie dough forms.


Add the entire bag of mini chocolate chips to the bowl.


Use a spatula to fold the chocolate chips into the cookie dough.


Place 1 tablespoon of cookie dough about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet.  I use a small cookie scoop to get nicely rounded scoops of dough.  These cookies will spread while baking so make sure you don’t place them too close together.

I used a Pampered Chef large round stoneware pan in the photo below.  I fit about 18 balls of dough on this pan — don’t try to fit much more than that on this size pan or your cookies will spread and touch during baking (my daughter calls those “butt cookies” when they spread and touch during baking).

I also used the rectangular stoneware pan (also Pampered Chef), fitting 20 balls of dough on it.


Bake the cookies in a pre-heated 400-degree oven for 12 minutes.  The cookies will be slightly brown around the edges.


Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then place on a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Serve with a tall glass of milk and ENJOY!


Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
A crisp cookie loaded with mini chocolate chip morsels, reminiscent of one of Guam's favorite cookies, the "Chamorro Chip Cookie"
  • 2⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups white granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 bag (12-oz.) miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl; mix together.
  3. Place the butter and sugar in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Use a handheld mixer to mix together until creamy.
  4. Mix in the the eggs and vanilla extract.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, one third at a time, mixing until you get a thick creamy dough.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  7. Scoop tablespoonfuls of dough onto the baking sheet, spacing them about 2-inches apart.
  8. Bake for 12 minutes or until the cookies are light brown around the edges.
  9. Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
This makes about 7½ dozen cookies about the size of a Chips Ahoy cookie.

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Månha Pie

This has got to be my most favorite Chamorro dessert!  For non-Chamorro-speaking friends, månha means the sweet, tender meat of the young, green coconut.

My recipe makes 6 — yes, SIX — pies, but in my family, we eat one or two when they’re done, save another two for breakfast, then give two to family members.  So, really, six is NOT ENOUGH.  😉

If you make this for a party, then six pies really won’t be enough!  Two might end up on the dessert table and the rest will be “set aside” for påtte (sharing or distributing amongst family) later! 🙂

My recipe uses “regular” pie crusts, not the deep-dish ones.  If you use ready-made deep-dish pie shells/crusts, you can probably make this into four pies instead of six.

I usually only make månha pie when I’m visiting Guam, and that’s because I prefer to use fresh månha.  You can used canned månha and juice, however.

It takes a while to make these pies, but the end result is worth every minute you spend slaving over the hot stove.

Give my recipe a try.  I know you’ll love it! 🙂

Månha Pie

Manha Pie



  • 3 cups månha juice
  • 2 cups chopped månha
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cans (12 oz) evaporated milk
  • 2 cans (12 oz) water (use the milk cans)
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • ½ box cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup water
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups superfine or granulated sugar
  Additional ingredients for making Meringue in High Altitude areas: (see NOTE below)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  Other ingredients:
  • 6 “regular” 9-inch pie crusts (or 4 deep dish pie crusts), pre-baked
  • 1 egg plus 1 tablespoon water, beaten together


1.  Pre-bake the pie crusts; this is also called “blind baking”:

If your pie crusts are frozen, remove all packaging material and place the crusts at room temperature until they are completely thawed.

Heat your oven to 400 degrees.

Pierce the bottom and sides of each crust with a fork.  This keeps air pockets or bubbles from forming during baking.

Line each crust with heavy-duty aluminum foil.  If you don’t have heavy-duty foil, just double regular foil.  Make sure the foil covers the entire bottom of the crust and up the sides.

Fill the foil with pie weights (I just use dried beans).  Use enough dried beans to fill the pie crust at least halfway up the sides.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  The pie crust should be a pale brown.  Remove from the oven.

To prevent your crusts from getting soggy after baking the pies, brush with egg wash (the egg mixed with water) and return to the oven to bake for an additional 3 minutes.  Remove from the oven; set aside.

Save the dried beans for the next time you blind-bake pie crusts.

2.  Make the Meringue (low-altitude areas):

TIP:  Make the meringue first then prepare the filling. Place meringue on the HOT filling (the hot filling will start cooking the meringue, keeping it from shrinking too much during baking). When topping the filling, ensure you push the meringue all the way to the edge of the pie crust; this “seals” the meringue to the edge of the pie.  Using a stainless steel or glass bowl (ensure the bowl is completely dry before putting in the egg whites), beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until soft peaks form.

Once soft peaks have formed, gradually add the sugar, a few spoonfuls at a time, beating the entire time.  Keep beating on high speed until stiff peaks form.  The peaks are stiff enough when the tips stand straight (don’t droop over) when the beaters are lifted.  Once you start beating the egg whites, do not stop in the middle of the process or your meringue won’t form properly.

Spoon the meringue over the hot pie filling.

Make the Meringue (high-altitude areas):

*NOTE:  I live in a very high altitude area (approximately 6,300 feet above sea level).  If you live in an area with high elevation, prepare your meringue as follows in order for the meringue not to turn out weepy after baking.

In a microwave-safe bowl, mix together the sugar, cornstarch, salt and water.  Microwave for two minutes on max power.  Stir once more then set the mixture aside to cool.

Beat the egg whites as directed above, until soft peaks form.  Gradually pour the cooled cornstarch mixture into the bowl of egg whites, beating on high speed as you pour.  Continue to beat the mixture until stiff peaks form.  Cover the pie filling as directed above.

3.  Make the Filling:

Place juice, månha, butter, and sugar in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the evaporated milk and water; stir and bring to a boil.

Mix the egg yolks, cornstarch, vanilla extract, and ½ cup water in a bowl. Add the egg yolk mixture to the månha mixture and cook until the mixture thickens, whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming. The combined ingredients should thicken before it begins to boil. Cook a few minutes more then remove from the heat.

Pour two cups of the mixture into each prepared (baked) pie crust (or three cups if you are using deep dish pie shells).

4.  Bake the meringue and serve:

Top the hot filling with meringue, making sure to cover the pie filling all the way to the edge of the crust. Use a small spoon to make decorative meringue swirls before baking.

Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes or until the meringue is golden brown.  If you’re in a hurry, bake at 450 degrees for 7-8 minutes, but then the meringue won’t turn out as “dry” as when you bake it longer at a lower temperature (it’ll still turn out delicious, though).

Let the pies cool then serve and ENJOY!

TIP: To make clean slices through the meringue, dip your knife in cold water before slicing the pie.

Refrigerate any uneaten pie (WHAAAT??? — uneaten pie???  Trust me, this pie will get eaten). 😉

Manha Pie

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Chamorro Potu (Sweet Rice Cake)

Chamorro rice cakes, or Potu, are rice cakes that are made by soaking grains of rice in tuba, or a sweet fermented coconut sap.  The soaked rice is then ground and sweetened then steamed into a light and fluffy cake.

Living in the mainland U.S., I’ve had to learn to make substitutions for those ingredients not commonly found or sold here.  A key ingredient for potu as I mentioned above is tuba.  Since coconut trees don’t grow where I live, I’ve had to figure out a substitute for this potent potable.

I use a combination of palm or coconut vinegar and coconut water when I make my potu.  I also use non-glutinous rice flour for ease in preparation.  I’ll post my easy-peasy shortcut potu recipe soon, but until then, this post features my good friend, Rose Camacho’s recipe.

Rose doesn’t use rice flour when she makes her potu.  Instead, she soaks grains of jasmine rice then grinds it.  She also uses palm vinegar in her recipe.

Rose’s recipe is “tried and true” and loved by many.

Her original post is below.  Give it a try.  I know you’ll like it. 🙂



Rose’s original post and recipe for Chamorro Potu (Sweet Rice Cake):

Hmmm? How does one describe these pure white puff pillows of steamed ground rice?  Light, soft, sweet, and sticky!  Growing up, this has been many a childhood’s favorite.  Although the ingredients are simple, this recipe is pretty prized amongst the native Chamorro women and no one would share theirs.  It was a guarded secret recipe, and some have literally taken it to their grave!!

In my quest to find a GOOD recipe, because it is one of my husband’s favorite desserts, I’ve tweaked and wasted, and tweaked and wasted countless ingredients trying to perfect this recipe. I remember my sister-in-law, Mona and I, and mind you, she’s an EXCELLENT cook, I remember us mixing, beating, steaming and without any close results, have failed trying to perfect it.  I gave up! I just prayed that a passer by relative who’s flying in, stops and delivers some of these cakes, made all the way from the islands, to us.  I’d freeze them, steam them as we needed, and then one day our stash of sweet rice potu was G-O-N-E, gone!

With this recipe, I believe I’ve come close to, as close to can get, especially since one of the “main” ingredients is TUBA, which is not available in my area.  Because I have no access to this sweet “drink”,  I’ve had to improvise and use store bought jarred “Coconut vinegar OR Palm vinegar”.  Their flavor “ALMOST” mimics the taste of sweet Tuba, but of course, if you can get sweet Tuba, please use it.  This is how “I” make Chamorro Potu.  Please Please, pass on your comments and POSITIVE critiques, I would love to hear from you.  Until then, HAPPY COOKING, BAKING, and STEAMING! 😉


1 cup Jasmine rice  (pictured below)
1 cup water
3 to 4  tablespoons Palm Vinegar (pictured below)
1/4 to 1/3 cup Sugar (I prefer less sweet)
2 teaspoons baking powder


Because the rice kernels HAVE TO soak,  you need to start the night before you’re planning on serving it.  The brand of rice I use is pictured below.  If you decide to use another brand or type of rice, I will not be held responsible if you fail with this recipe.   I’ve only used this brand whenever I make my recipe.  The palm vinegar I used is also pictured below.  I’m sure other brands can be used.  I’ve also tried using coconut vinegar and it works fine.


Measure out 1 cup of the dry rice.  Wash the rice in water until the water runs clear!  Drain well.  Place into a container, add the  1 cup of water and cover.  Set this aside and allow to soak for a minimum of 8 hours but preferably overnight.

potu18    potu19

When you’re ready to prepare the recipe, start heating up the water in your steamer.  In the container that your rice is in, there may still be some water left from the soaking.  DO NOT drain this water.  Place the rice into a heavy duty blender container (I use my Vitamix Professional 750) for this process since it’s pretty heavy duty.  Add the sugar and palm vinegar to the rice and water.  NOTE:  If you do not have a heavy duty mixer, you may have to do this step in smaller increments.  Just process the rice in batches, rather than one whole time.  Although, I’ve never done it this way, if you have a heavy duty food processor, such as a KitchenAid,  I’m sure you could also use that.  The key is to grind the rice FINE!

potu7    potu6

Process this in your blender, until the rice kernels are finely ground.  Shut the blender off and add the baking powder.  Now process again for a minute or 2 being careful that the mixture doesn’t heat up.

potu21    potu22

While the mixture is still processing, line up your silicon cups in the steamer basket.   For easier handling, pour the batter into a smaller container and pour  3/4 of the way into each baking cup.  This mixture makes about 12 potu cakes OR more if you use smaller silicon cups.


Place the steamer basket into the steamer pot, which should already be producing heavy steam.  Place a CLEAN kitchen towel over the top of the steamer basket to catch any condensation that will occur during the steaming process.  Place the lid onto the pot.  The lid will also hold the towel taught so that it doesn’t fall onto the potu.  Steam this for a minimum of 20 minutes and up to 30 minutes, depending on the heat that’s produced.


After about 20 minutes, CAREFULLY lift the lid and towel away, to see how the process is going.  I get excited when I see that little “crack” in the center of my potu.  It tells me it’s gonna be PERFECT!  When done, the potu should spring back a bit, with a slight stickiness to the tops.


Remove from the steamer pot and allow them to cool before removing them from the basket.  Set them aside to cool completely before removing them from the silicon cups.

SERVE!  Place the leftovers in a plastic bag to keep them fresh.



Thank you, Rose Camacho (aka Chamorita Momma) for allowing me to repost and share your Tried and True Potu recipe!

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