Archive for Easter

King Cake

King Cakes are part of a popular tradition that celebrates the 12th day following the birth of Christ, during which the 3 Wise Men or Kings visited the Christ Child.  The celebrations continue sometimes up to Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras, in French), the day before Ash Wednesday when the Lenten Season begins.  The custom of baking these “cakes” is in honor of the Three Kings, hence the name, “A King’s Cake.”

The custom includes baking a tiny porcelain or plastic baby inside the cake.  King Cakes are usually served at parties, and the person who finds the baby in their slice of cake is supposed to host the party the next year.  Instead of having a party, you could bake several smaller King Cakes and give them to your neighbors.  The neighbor who receives the King Cake with the baby gets to bake them for the neighbors the following year.

King Cakes aren’t really cakes, but a rich danish (I’ll keep calling them cakes, though).  Some King Cakes are baked without adding a filling, but I like to make mine with a rich and luscious cream cheese and cinnamon filling.  After the cake is baked, the baby is inserted.  Then the top of the cake is covered with a rich glaze and decorated in the traditional colors of purple, green and gold.

These colors have a special meaning as well.  One explanation is that the official Mardi Gras colors were selected in 1872 to honor the visiting Russian Grand Duke Alexis Alexandrovich Romanoff, whose house colors were purple, green and gold.  Another explanation is that the colors purple, green and gold were used by Catholic Church throughout history, and the colors represent Justice (Purple), Faith (Green), and Power (Gold).

This recipe takes some time to make, but it’s worth it in the end. Give it a try and let me know how you like it.

King Cake

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 Dough Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup white, granulated sugar
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (98-105 degrees)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white, granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

 Cream Cheese Filling Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 cup white, granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 Cinnamon Filling Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

 Glaze Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice or milk

 Decoration Ingredients:

  • Green sugar sprinkles
  • Purple sugar sprinkles
  • Yellow sugar sprinkles
  • One tiny plastic or porcelain baby (about 2 inches long)

 Directions:

Make the dough:

In a small microwave-safe bowl, place the butter and sugar.  Cook for 1-2 minutes in the microwave until the butter melts.  Transfer to a small mixing bowl.  Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves.  Stir in the sour cream. Set aside to cool.

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In another small bowl, mix together the yeast, warm water and 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar. Set aside to allow the yeast to proof. It should be very bubbly after five minutes; if not, then discard the mixture and start over. NOTE: Water that is too hot will kill the yeast. The water should feel as warm as the temperature of your skin.DSC_0011

Place the egg into the bowl of a large stand mixer (such as a KitchenAid).  Use the paddle attachment to slightly beat the egg.

The photo below shows two eggs–I doubled my recipe when I made this so I had enough cakes to give away to friends.

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Mix in the sour cream mixture and proofed yeast.

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Slowly mix in the flour, one cup at a time. NOTE: If you live in a low humidity environment, you may need less flour, about 2 1/2 cups. If you live in humid area, you may need slightly more than 3 cups of flour.

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After the flour has been roughly mixed with the wet ingredients, switch to the dough hook.

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Turn your mixer to medium-high speed and knead for 5 minutes. NOTE: If you are kneading by hand, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. After kneading, place the dough into a greased bowl (clear works best so you can see if the dough has doubled in size); place in a warm place to rise until doubled.

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While the dough is rising, make the cream cheese and cinnamon fillings.

Make the Cream Cheese Filling:

In a small mixing bowl, beat together the egg, sugar and cream cheese. Mix on high until there are no more lumps and the filling is smooth and creamy. Set aside.

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Cinnamon filling: In a small bowl, mix the cinnamon filling ingredients together. Set aside.

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Make the Glaze:

Mix together the sugar, sweetened condensed milk, and just half of the orange juice. Mix until smooth.

You want the glaze to be slightly thin but not runny. Add more orange juice if you need to thin it out more.

Set aside.

Put it all together:

After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down. Place onto a floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle, roughly 18×12 inches.

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Roughly mark lines in the dough to separate it into thirds (do NOT cut through the dough). Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the OUTER sections into diagonal strips about 1 inch wide; these strips are what you will use to create a woven or braided look for the top of the King Cake. NOTE: Make sure you do not cut through the middle third of the rectangle.

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Spread the cream cheese mixture down the middle of the rectangle. Sprinkle the cinnamon mixture on top of the cream cheese mixture.

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Fold the strips of dough over the fillings, alternating sides. Overlap the strips to form a braided or woven look.

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Tuck the ends of the dough underneath the end; use any extra dough to ensure both ends of the King Cake are sealed (to keep the filling in while baking).

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This is how you’d make a round King Cake.

Roll out two pieces of dough about 16 inches in diameter.

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Cut one piece of dough into strips, like you’re cutting a pizza.

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Place the uncut round piece onto a baking sheet.  Place the cut pieces of dough underneath the edge of the uncut piece (pointed part facing out), going all around the side (it will look like a large sun with rays pointing out).  Press along the edges of the cut pieces to the seal them to the uncut circle.

Spread the cream cheese filling around the edge of the uncut circle of dough.  Sprinkle cinnamon sugar filling on top of the cream cheese.  Fold each cut piece inward, pressing down at the pointed tip to seal the dough (you will have a small “well” of dough in the middle).

Into the small well, pour more cream cheese filling.  Top with cinnamon filling.

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Carefully lift the shaped dough and place onto a large baking sheet.  Spray the top of the King Cake (dough) lightly with butter flavored cooking spray, then cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise again until doubled.

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Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until nicely browned.

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Glaze the King Cake and Decorate:

While the King Cake is still warm, spread a thin layer of the glaze on top.

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Decorate with the sugar sprinkles, alternating the colors.

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Slice, Serve and ENJOY!
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Red Rice

Red Rice is a must-have for any Chamorro Fiesta menu.  Without red rice, it just won’t seem much like a fiesta.

You don’t need to go to a party or fiesta to enjoy this Chamorro staple.  My family loves red rice served with fried chicken, or pan-fried Spam. 🙂

Some people add peas to their red rice, but I like mine without it.

Serve some Chamorro Red Rice at your next gathering for that extra special touch.

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

Red Rice

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Ingredients:

  • 3 cups rice (medium or long grain)
  • 1 tablespoon Dashida seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon bacon fat (or substitute with olive or vegetable oil)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 4 stalks green onions, sliced
  • 1 packet achote powder (see note below)
  • 3 1/2 cups hot water (see note below)

To make 10 cups of red rice (enough for a small BBQ), use the following measurements:

  • 10 cups rice
  • 3 tablespoons Dashida
  • 3 tablespoons bacon fat
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 8 stalks green onions, sliced
  • 3 packets achote powder
  • 11 1/2 cups hot water

Note:

You can use achote water made with achote seeds instead of using powdered achote.  Scrub about 1/4 cup of achote seeds in 3 1/2 cups warm water.  Add the achote water (make sure to strain out the seeds and add just the achote water) to the pot where the directions call for adding water and achote powder.

Directions:

1.  Place the rice into your rice cooker pot.  Rinse the rice as required, draining out any excess water.

IMG_31472.  Into the pot, add the Dashida, bacon fat, black pepper, garlic, and achote powder.  If you don’t have any saved bacon fat, substitute with olive or vegetable oil. IMG_31493.  Add the green onions to the pot.   IMG_31504.  Carefully pour the hot water into the pot.  Stir to combine all the ingredients and to dissolve the achote powder and Dashida.  The bacon fat will start to melt; don’t worry if it doesn’t completely melt at this time.

Turn the rice cooker to the “cook” setting.  The only thing left to do is to stir the rice a couple more times.  Wait a couple of minutes then stir to ensure even mixing after the bacon fat melted.  Wait another 5 minutes or so and stir once more to ensure the rice at the bottom of the pot is evenly coated with achote coloring.

After stirring the rice for a second time, leave the rice to cook/steam until done.

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5.  Serve with your favorite meat dish (Chamorro BBQ, fried chicken, or pan-fried Spam goes fantastic with red rice!) and ENJOY! 😀

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Pot Roast, Chamorro Style

Whenever I find myself feeling a bit homesick, I think of something to cook that soothes my longing for my island home. Chamorro Pot Roast is one of those dishes. This is a dish that was usually on the menu for Chamorro gatherings. I remember going to parties when I was younger, and before the table was opened, I’d check to see if there was any pot roast. If there was, the ONLY things I’d have on my plate were rice (red or white), pot roast (with as much gravy as I could scoop up), and lots of fina’denne’. These days, I use a crock pot to cook my pot roast. Set it and forget it…what could be easier?

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

Chamorro Pot Roast

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Ingredients:

  • 1 2-lb chuck roast (look for one that is nicely marbled with fat)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 whole garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped into large chunks
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar (you can use white vinegar instead)
  • 2 tablespoons Dashida seasoning (Korean beef soup stock)
  • 1 teaspoon Accent or Ajinomoto
  • 1 cup water (if cooking this on the stovetop, use 2 cups water)
  • 4 tablespoons corn starch plus one cup water

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Directions:

1.  Place a large skillet or dutch oven over high heat.

2.  Using a long, sharp knife, CAREFULLY cut 8 deep slits into the sides of the roast. Push a whole clove of garlic into each slit.

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3.  Rub the sides of the roast with salt and pepper.

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4.  When the pan is hot, add half of the oil into the pan. Brown the roast on all sides then remove it from the pan and place it into a slow cooker or crock pot set to HIGH.

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5.  Add the remaining oil to the pan used to brown the roast. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent.  Add the sautéed onions and garlic to the slow cooker.

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6.  Into the crock pot, add:

the tomatoes with juice…

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the Dashida seasoning…

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the accent or aji…

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the balsamic vinegar…

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the soy sauce…

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and 1 cup of water (see note below) plus any remaining salt and pepper.

NOTE:  If making this on the stovetop, add 2 cups of water instead (a lot of water will evaporate as the roast cooks).

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7.  Place the lid on the slow cooker. Cook on HIGH setting for 2 hours then lower the heat to LOW and cook for an additional 2 hours then turn off the slow cooker.  If cooking this on the stovetop, cover the pot and cook over medium-low heat for 2 hours.

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8.  When the roast is done, remove the roast to a plate or cutting board and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing (don’t cut it sooner that this or all the juices will flow out and leave your roast dry).

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9.  In the meantime, while the roast is resting, prepare the gravy. Using an immersion blender, purée the chunks of vegetables in the gravy until it is completely smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer all of the gravy (the liquid and all vegetables) from the slow cooker to a blender and blend until smooth.

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10.  Pour the puréed mixture into a small pot; bring the mixture to a boil.

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11.  Mix the cornstarch with the remaining 1 cup of water.

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Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the gravy and return to a boil, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.  Turn off the heat once the gravy has thickened.

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12.  After the roast has rested, use a serrated knife or very sharp carving knife to slice the roast into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices.

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Pour gravy over the sliced roast beef.

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Serve with hot white rice and Enjoy!  I love to “drown” my pot roast and rice in lots and lots of gravy!  🙂

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Shrimp Patties

Hi everyone!  This is Hannah, Annie’s daughter.

I made some delicious shrimp patties for lunch one day. My version is somewhat different from the “regular” recipe most people have.

What’s different about my version? I don’t use any eggs. It started out as a mistake one time when I was making shrimp patties and forgot to put eggs in the batter. However, I liked how it turned out. The inside was nice and fluffy, and my shrimp patties were nice and round (my neighbor called them “shrimp balls”) and not flat.

Give my recipe a try. Let me know how you like them. My family loves them; I hope you do too!

SHRIMP PATTIES

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup thinly sliced fresh green beans
  • 2 cups peas
  • 1 cup chopped onions (about 1/2 a medium onion)
  • 3 cups corn kernels (I love lots of corn in my shrimp patties)
  • 4 cups shrimp, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 cans evaporated milk
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 5 tablespoons Dashida seasoning (the seafood flavored kind)
  • 1 teaspoon Accent
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Oil, for frying

 DIRECTIONS:

1.  Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Do you know how to tell if the oil is hot enough and ready? My mom taught me a great trick.  Use the tip of a wooden spoon (I used a wooden chopstick) and dip it into the oil.  If little bubbles start to form around the wood, then the oil is hot and ready. Make sure the wood is clean and dry first; you don’t want hot oil to splatter and burn you.

Here is a short video clip. You can see all of the little bubbles form around the tip of the wooden chopstick. This tells you that the oil is hot and ready for frying.

2.  While you’re waiting for the oil to heat up, mix all of the ingredients (except for the oil, of course) in a large bowl.

3.  Drop spoonfuls of batter into the hot oil and fry until golden brown. Note: I used a small ice cream scoop that holds 1 1/2 tablespoons. This is also what makes the shrimp patties nice and round like doughnuts. (Maybe that’s why my neighbor calls them shrimp balls, LOL.)

 

I added a lot of photos below to show you the process.

Enjoy, and I hope you like them!

~ Hannah

 

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Place the shrimp and vegetables in a large mixing bowl.

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Place the flour and other dry ingredients in a smaller bowl.

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Add all of the dry ingredients to the bowl of shrimp and veggies.

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Pour the evaporated milk into the mixing bowl.

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Mix, mix, mix! 🙂

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Check to see if the oil is hot. Scroll up and watch my video that shows what to look for.

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When the oil is ready, use a small cookie scoop to drop the batter into the oil. This makes the shrimp patties nice and round.

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Don’t put too much into the oil. You want to leave enough room to allow the shrimp patties to cook evenly, plus overcrowding might make them stick together when you drop the batter into the oil.

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The shrimp patties usually turn on their own, but if they don’t, turn them occasionally to ensure even browning.

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Fry until nicely browned.

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Place in a colander or strainer to drain the excess oil.

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The small cookie scoop I use makes shrimp patties that are a little bit bigger than the size of a ping pong ball. I think it’s the perfect size — not too big, not too small.

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The inside is nice and fluffy.

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Pile on the goodness! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chicken Kelaguen & Flour Titiyas

Kelaguen and Titiyas ~ both staples on a Chamorro fiesta table.  But you don’t have to be invited to a fiesta in order to enjoy these tasty dishes — they are so easy to make that you can have it anytime you get the craving!

My two daughters (ages 11 and 15) prepared the dishes pictured in the photos below; if THEY can do it, so can you!

Give my super easy recipes a try.  I think you’ll like them!  🙂

Annie’s Chicken Kelaguen

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Ingredients:

  • 1 small rotisserie chicken
  • 6 stalks green onions
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon powder plus 3 tablespoons water (or use the juice of 1 large lemon)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (more or less, to taste)
  • Hot pepper, optional
  • Freshly grated coconut (unsweetened), optional

Directions:

1.  Debone the chicken; shred or cut into small pieces (I used a food processor to roughly chop the chicken).

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2.  Thinly slice the green onions then add it to the chicken.

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3.  Add the lemon powder, water, salt and pepper to the bowl of chicken; mix to combine.  Taste; adjust seasoning if required.

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4.  Stir in the grated coconut (optional).

5.  Serve with my super easy sweet flour titiyas (see recipe below) and enjoy!

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Annie’s Sweet Flour Titiyas

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Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup cream of coconut (the sweet one, used for mixed drinks)

This is what the can of cream of coconut looks like.  This is incredibly sweet so you do not need to add more sugar.  Cream of Coconut is NOT the same as coconut cream (thick coconut milk).

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Directions:

1.  Mix the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add the coconut milk, melted butter, and cream of coconut (start out with 1/4 cup; increase to a total of 1/2 cup, depending on how humid your day is–more humid means less liquid). Mix together until a dough forms; knead gently to form a smooth ball of dough.

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2.  Break off golf-ball sized pieces. Flour your rolling surface and rolling pin.  Roll out the piece of dough into a flat disc (about 1/8-inch thick). Place the titiyas on a dry skillet; prick all over with a fork to prevent bubbling during the cooking process.

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3.  Pan-fry on a dry skillet over medium-low heat for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until the bottom begins to turn a golden brown; flip over and cook the other side until it turns a nice golden brown.  For thicker titiyas, cook over low heat for 4-5 minutes on each side; the titiyas is done when you gently press down on the center and it feels somewhat firm to the touch.

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4.  Place cooked titiyas on a plate covered with a clean kitchen towel to keep warm.  Serve with my delicious chicken kelaguen.  Enjoy!

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