Archive for Author AnniesChamorroKitchen

About the Author: AnniesChamorroKitchen
Hafa adam means "hello" in Chamorro, the native language of my island home, Guam U.S.A. Guam is the proverbial melting pot, abounding with cultural diversity that is aptly displayed in the variety of food we eat and share. The focal point of most Chamorro families centers around family gatherings and cooking. In my home, most of my guests congregate in my kitchen. It is where we do our best catching up, and whee lasting emories aremade. Browse through my selection of Chamorro and other recipes m and please leave me a comment if you try my recipes to let me know what you think of them. I hope you enjoyed your time in my kitchen. Come back soon! This site is work-in-progress, so please bear with me as I grow this site to a place where you'll love to visit. Happy Cooking! ~ Annie

Green Chicken Curry

There are so many varieties of curries — from chicken, to beef, to all vegetable — I haven’t found a curry I didn’t like. 😉

It’s such a versatile dish too.  Just find your favorite recipe and modify it to your liking.  Use your favorite vegetables and meat and add as much or as little spice as you want and voila!, chicken curry!  Serve over hot, steamed white rice and you’ll have yourself a delicious meal.

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

Green Chicken Curry
Recipe type: Soups & Stews
Cuisine: Thai
Serves: 6
  • 4 large chicken breasts, cut into small pieces (or a mixture of white/dark chicken meat)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons green curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 medium potato, cubed
  • 1 medium bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 can (10 oz) straw mushrooms or you can use fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can (15 ­oz) young corn, sliced into 1½ inch pieces
  • 1 can (8 oz) bamboo shoots
  • 1 can (14 oz) coconut cream or coconut milk *Use 2 cans if you like lots of kadu.
  • Other vegetables of your choosing
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil or use ½ cup freshly chopped sweet basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon or 2 bouillon cubes
  • Hot chili peppers, sliced, ­­optional
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup water
  1. In a medium saucepan, add water, bouillon, onions, garlic, pepper, and chicken pieces; bring to a boil; cook for approximately 10 minutes over medium­high heat.
  2. Add potatoes to chicken; continue cooking for 5 more minutes.
  3. Add curry paste, brown sugar, fish sauce, and remaining vegetables to pot; stir well to dissolve curry paste and brown sugar. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook for 5 more minutes.
  4. Add coconut cream to pot. Turn heat down to low and simmer for 5­8 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through.
  5. Add hot pepper to taste.
  6. Serve over hot rice.


Judy’s Empanadas

Chamorro empanadas are high up on the list of my favorite snacks, but they can easily be a meal in and of themselves.  In fact, when I was on Guam recently, I would visit the village store and buy empanadas, fresh out of the fryer, for breakfast.

My mom taught my sisters and me how to make empanadas years and years ago.  It’s quite the labor of love, although you can make the filling ahead of time, thereby cutting back on the actual preparation of the empanada.

A tortilla press, while not essential, is a great tool to have when making empanada.  While you’re at it, a bunch of kitchen helpers is good too. 😉  I remember when I was younger, we only had one tortilla press to share among my three sisters and mom; someone usually got stuck with using the much slower rolling pin.  We did it assembly-line style, with a couple of us flattening the dough, another couple of us filling it, and then someone sealing it tightly.

I’ve had a lot of requests for my empanada recipe, but my good friend, Judy Fernandez Dillinger, has an amazing recipe and she was gracious enough to allow me to feature it here.

As a side note, this is the packet of achote powder used in Judy’s recipe below.  Each packet contains 1/3 ounce of powdered achote, which is roughly 2 teaspoons.  Use this as a guide.  Some people like more or less achote to make the crust lighter or darker.  I also know someone who doesn’t use achote at all.

So, without further ado, here is Judy’s empanada recipe.  Give it a try.  I KNOW you’ll love it. 🙂

Judy's Empanadas
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: Chamorro
Serves: 2 dozen
  • ½ cup cream of rice mixed with ½ packet of achote powder*
  • 2 cups of chicken broth (you can use water but will have to season with salt)
  • ½ onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup chopped chicken or imitation crab meat
  • black pepper to taste
  • hot pepper (optional)
  • 2 cups masa harina
  • 1 packet achote powder*
  • ½ cup corn starch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons oil
  • 1½ - 1¾ cups chicken broth or water (if using water, increase salt to 2 teaspoons) - warm
*If you don't use achote powder, just make sure you soak achote seeds in the broth or water for color.
For the filling:
  1. Saute onions and garlic in a large pot. Cook till onion becomes transparent. Add chicken and saute for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add chicken broth or water. Remember, if you use water you'll have to season it with salt (to taste). Bring to a boil.
  3. Using a whisk, gradually add the cream of rice. Keep stirring so that there are no lumps. Bring heat to medium and cook for about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add hot pepper (as hot as you want it) and then remove from heat.
  5. Completely cool before filling the shells.
For the crust:
  1. Mix masa harina, corn starch, salt and achote powder in a bowl. Add oil and broth or water to the flour mixture. Kneed with hands until dough is pliable.
  2. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Use a tortilla press to flatten to form a circle. Be sure that you press the dough between 2 sheets of wax paper.
  3. Fill the bottom half of the circle with the cooled filling. Fold over the top of the dough to meet the bottom and press to seal the edges.
  4. Deep fry until nice and crispy. The trick is to fry at a very low heat. I like to set my dial at the 4th interval, right below the middle. If you fry it at high heat it will burn and the crust will not be crunchy but stale.


Easy Phở

Phở is a Vietnamese noodle soup made with an intensely flavorful broth poured over flat rice noodles and garnished with thinly sliced meat.  A friend once told me that what I just described is considered the “northern Vietnamese Phở” whereas the “southern Vietnamese” version adds aromatic herbs.  I like the southern version myself.  The more vegetables and herbs, the better. 🙂

Phở also varies with the types of condiments, vegetables and noodles used.  Most Vietnamese restaurants serve phở with a side of bean sprouts, Thai basil (not the sweet basil commonly added to pasta sauces), cilantro or coriander leaves, and various hot chili peppers.  You might see a squeeze bottle filled with hoisin sauce, or get a small bowl of fish sauce served alongside your phở.  Hot pepper sauce in lieu of fresh hot peppers is also an option.  As for the varieties of noodles used, rice is most common, but you can use potato noodles as well.

I’ve also had phở a little more on the sweet side, and other restaurants I’ve been to serve their phở less sweet or not sweet at all.  My preference is to omit the sugar.  I like a savory and aromatic broth, not a sweet one.

You can use beef or chicken in your phở.  Your choice of meat will determine your choice of broth.  My family likes beef phở so I use beef broth.  Chicken phở, logically, uses chicken broth.

Speaking of broth, I think this is what determines a GOOD Phở from an average or so-so one.  You can serve as many different herbs and vegetables as you like with the broth, but if the broth is flavorless, you might as well call your concoction a tea, or water infused with herbs.   As your broth cooks, get a whiff of it — if the aroma doesn’t make you want to dunk your face into the pot, then you need to add some spice to it.

You can find my complete recipe at the bottom of this post.  Give it a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

These are the ingredients I like to use.image

If you have the time, homemade beef broth from scratch is always best, but you can use good quality ready-made broth.  To save time, I use 100% natural, low sodium broth.  If you want a less concentrated broth, you can use 1/2 broth and 1/2 water, but you may need to add some salt.  Just make sure you have enough liquid as called for in my recipe below.



Fish sauce goes into the broth, but a little goes a long way.  You only need a couple of tablespoons of this pungent but flavorful sauce.  Don’t omit it…while you can’t really tell it’s in the broth, you CAN tell that something is missing from it if you don’t add it.  I recommend using Three Crabs Brand fish sauce.  It’s not as pungent as most other brands.



Look in the Hispanic foods section of your grocery store for a small package of cilantro cubes.  It will most likely be next to other bouillon-type seasonings.  I add fresh cilantro leaves to the finished dish, but adding cilantro seasoning to the broth gives it a greater depth of flavor.

Anise seed and star anise

I also use anise seed to flavor my broth.  You can find it in the spice section of your grocery store.  If you have some star anise already on hand, you can use that instead of anise seed, but you’ll need 3 whole star anise to every tablespoon of anise seed for my recipe.  If these ingredients are new to you, star anise and anise seeds are two very different spices.  Anise is an herb in the parsley family and produces small seeds with a strong, licorice-like flavor.  Star anise is the star-shaped fruit of a tree that’s a member of the magnolia family.  The two spices contain the same flavor compound, a substance called anethole, but whole star anise is a bit more bitter in my opinion.

whole clovesWhole cloves go into the broth, and like the other ingredients I described above, this packs quite a flavor punch.  You only need a few — I use about 6 in my recipe.  If you’re not familiar with whole cloves, you might recognize it as those tiny wood-like spikes studding a baked ham.  See the picture on the right for what it looks like.  You can find it in the spice section of your grocery store.



You’ll need a few more aromatic and savory ingredients to flavor the broth. Into the pot goes some whole cinnamon sticks, chopped garlic (lots of it), and fresh ginger.

Pictured on the left (clockwise from the top) are Whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, garlic, ginger, cilantro cubes, and anise seeds.



At the local Asian market where I live, there are several different brands and types of dried noodles.  Look for the package that says “Bánh Phở”.  This is the brand I buy (see the photo on the right).  The noodles are in little bundles within the package.  I cook about half the package for my family of four, estimating about two bundles per person (my husband, who usually orders a LARGE bowl of phở at Vietnamese restaurants, gets three bundles).

Now let’s get down to the business of making Phở.

First, you’ll need to get the broth going.  Place the broth (or broth-water mixture) in a large soup pot.


Add the fish sauce and the rest of the herbs and aromatics (cloves, cinnamon sticks, garlic, ginger, cilantro cubes and onions).  Cover the pot and turn the heat to medium-high.  Bring this to a rolling boil.  Most of the herbs will sink to the bottom of the pot as the broth cooks.  If you have a small cheesecloth, you can place all of the aromatics in it, creating a sachet d’espice.  Or, just before serving, pour the broth through a strainer and into a large bowl, discard the aromatics then return the broth to the pot.  Bring the broth to a boil again before serving.  I actually don’t bother straining this out.  You can safely eat the cooked onions and any anise seeds that find their way into your bowl.  However, I recommend discarding any cloves, cinnamon and large pieces of ginger that accidentally get poured into your bowl.


While the broth is happily cooking, prepare the vegetables.  Rinse the leafy greens and bean sprouts.  Slice the onions and peppers.  Arrange everything on a large platter.


Slice the limes into wedges.  That’s hoisin sauce in the little bowl.  My youngest daughter and husband like stirring some hoisin sauce into their broth.  My oldest daughter and I prefer it without.


Slice the beef as thinly as you can.  It’s easier to create thin slices when the meat is still partially frozen.  I like using flank steak, but you can use any cut of lean beef.  The reason for slicing the beef as thin as possible is because it’s cooked only when you pour the boiling broth over it.  If you prefer to cook the beef instead of adding it raw, it’s simple — just add the sliced beef to the pot of boiling broth.


Once the vegetables and meat are prepped, it’s time to get the noodles going.

Set a medium pot filled 3/4 full with water to boil.

Fill a large bowl with hot water.  Add the dry noodles to the bowl.  Let the noodles soak in the hot water for about 5 minutes, or until pliable.


As soon as the pot of water comes to a boil, and once the noodles are soft and pliable, you’ll need to cook the noodles.  Place some of the noodles in a metal colander or strainer.  Use a strainer that can fit easily into your pot of boiling water.  You’re going to submerge the strainer — noodles and all — into the hot water.  Do not dump the noodles into the pot.  The reason for using the strainer is so that you can easily lift the noodles out of the pot.


Keep the noodles submerged in the boiling water for about a minute.  The noodles don’t take long to cook.  Lift the strainer out of the pot, allowing the water to drain out.


Place the drained noodles into your serving bowl.


Add some sliced beef to the bowl.


Pour the boiling-hot broth over the meat and noodles.


It’s important to keep the broth at a rolling boil right up until you’re ready to serve.  The hot liquid cooks the raw meat.  If you’re cooking the beef in the broth, just be sure to scoop out some meat and pour it into the bowl along with the broth.


Add some of the sliced onion to the bowl.  The hot broth will begin to cook this too.


Now you can add the rest of your vegetables.  I like adding a couple of handfuls of bean sprouts to my bowl.


Add some cilantro leaves and Thai basil, tearing up large leaves into small pieces.  Add sliced peppers if you like your soup spicy.  My husband adds a Chamorro twist to this by stirring in lots of Tabasco sauce AND donne’ dinanche. 🙂


Squeeze some lime juice over the top, and add some hoisin sauce too if you’d like.


Serve and ENJOY!


Easy Phở
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Serves: 4
  • 3 quarts beef broth (4 quarts if you prefer more broth than noodles)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon anise seeds
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 6-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, cut into large pieces
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ small onion, very thinly sliced
  • 4 cups fresh bean sprouts
  • 1 bunch cilantro, leaves only
  • 1 bunch Thai basil, leaves only
  • 2 limes
  • ½ pound flank steak or other lean beef
  • 8 small bundles dry phở noodles
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, sliced
  • 1 hot red chili pepper (Thai, Dragon, or other pepper), sliced
  • Sriracha pepper sauce
  • Hoisin sauce
Prepare the broth:
  1. Place the broth in a large soup pot. Add the fish sauce, anise seed, cloves, cinnamon sticks, garlic, ginger and onion. Bring to a rolling boil.
Prepare the vegetables and beef:
  1. Rinse the bean sprouts, cilantro and Thai basil. Remove the thick, large stems from the cilantro and basil. Place the clean vegetables on a large serving platter along with the sliced onion and peppers.
  2. Slice the limes into thin wedges. Place on the serving platter.
  3. Slice the beef as thin as you can. It's easier to slice partially frozen meat then when it's thawed out completely. Place onto a separate serving dish.
Prepare the noodles:
  1. Fill a medium sized pot ¾ full of water; bring to a boil. Meanwhile, soak the dry noodles in a bowl of hot water. Once the noodles are pliable, place in a metal strainer, one that can fit into the pot with boiling water, and one that can be removed easily. Dip the metal strainer (with the noodles) into the boiling water. Let the noodles cook for a minute then lift the strainer from the pot and allow the water to drain. Place the noodles into your serving bowl.
Assemble the soup:
  1. Place the beef slices on top of the noodles. Pour the hot broth over the meat; the boiling hot broth will cook the raw meat. If you prefer not to use raw meat, you can add the slices of beef to the pot of hot broth to cook it.
  2. Add the thinly sliced onion next, then add the bean sprouts, cilantro and Thai basil.
  3. Add sliced peppers and pepper sauce if you like your soup spicy.
  4. Drizzle some hoisin sauce over the top if you want your broth a bit more salty.
  5. Enjoy!


Chicken Macaroni Salad

Macaroni salad one of my family’s favorite side dishes.  There are many, many macaroni salad variations, but we’re simple…we like two specific kinds.  The first is a Hawaiian style macaroni salad and the other is Filipino style Macaroni salad.

My recipe below is for a very basic Filipino macaroni salad.  It has chicken, cheese, pineapple, and sweet relish, but you can also add other ingredients such as hard-boiled eggs, ham, and raisins.  Some of my Filipino friends also add a spoonful or more of sweetened condensed milk, but I don’t like mine too sweet (to me, the relish and pineapples add just the right amount of sweetness) so I don’t add it.

This dish is best made the night before you intend to serve it.  An overnight stay in the ‘fridge allows all the pasta to absorb all the delicious flavors.

I like to add lots of chicken (more than what I have in my recipe below) whenever I want to serve this as my main dish.  It’s great for packed lunches, and it’s also a quick and easy pot-luck dish.

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

Chicken Macaroni Salad



  • 1 large chicken breast
  • Salt, black pepper, and garlic powder (for the chicken)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 cups cooked macaroni
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper (for the macaroni salad)
  • 1 10-ounce jar sweet pickle relish, with as much juice squeezed out as possible
  • 1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple, with as much juice squeezed out as possible
  • 7 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

Optional Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, diced


NOTE:  The photos below of the chicken show around 9 or 10 chicken breasts.  We like to cook several chicken breasts at a time so that we can use it throughout the week in various dishes.  We used one breast to make this salad; about 6 breasts were used in my daughter’s Chicken Marsala, and a couple more went into my daughter’s other dish, Mac-n-cheese with Chicken.  Cooking in bulk is a great way to save time during the week, especially if you’re pressed for time each morning.  It saves time at night too, when you’re trying to prepare dinner after a long day at work or school.

Prepare the chicken.

Place the chicken breast into a ziplock bag.  Use a kitchen mallet to flatten the chicken into about 1/4-inch thickness.


Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breast with salt, black pepper and garlic powder.


Dredge the seasoned chicken breast in the flour, covering both sides.

image  image

 Place a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the vegetable oil to the pan.


 Place the chicken in the pan when the pan and oil are hot.  Reduce the heat to medium.


 Cook the chicken for about 4-6 minutes on each side.

Turn occasionally to evenly brown both sides.


 Shred or thinly slice the cooked chicken and set it aside.



Prepare the macaroni salad.

Place the shredded chicken breast, cooked macaroni, black pepper, relish, crushed pineapple, cheese and mayo in a large mixing bowl.  Add in any other optional ingredients.

Gently fold all of the ingredients together.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour to allow the flavors to meld.

Serve and ENJOY!



In-N-Out Burger Sauce

In-N-Out Is a burger chain in several western states.  It is known for their juicy burgers slathered in their special sauce with optional (though I always get mine this way) grilled onions, called “animal style”.

Whenever I find myself in Nevada, California, and Arizona,  In-N-Out burger restaurants are at the top of the list for where we go to eat.  It’s Americana at its best…an ooey, gooey, cheesy, oniony (is that a word? It is now…),

After many trials and errors trying to replicate the “spread”, I think I finally came up with a sauce as close to the real thing as possible.  It’s not just a mixture of ketchup, mayo and relish like most people think.  It’s also not regular thousand island dressing.  This is my version of the sauce.  Adding a bit of apple cider vinegar, sugar and a pinch of onion powder to the K-M-R mixture did the trick.  Refrigerate the mixture for a good 30 minutes before assembling your burgers to allow the flavors to meld.

I also include a recipe for caramelized onions to go on top of your burgers.  It won’t be “animal style” without the sweet, gooey caramelized onions slathered on top of your burger.

Add your favorite cheese (use American cheese for a true In-N-Out replica) and voila! Homemade In-N-Out Burgers right at home.  Oh yeah, you mustn’t forget the pickles, sliced tomato and crisp iceberg lettuce.  Oh man, I want a cheeseburger now!

Give it a try and let me know what you think of it.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

In-N-Out Burger Sauce


  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons real mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 3/4 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder


1.  Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl.

2.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes; set aside until ready to assemble the burgers.

This makes enough for 4-6 burgers.  This sauce is also great on French fries, in a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, and even as a salad dressing.


“Animal Style” Caramelized Onions


  • 6 large onions, diced (use sweet onions, like Vidalia or Walla Walla, if you can find them, otherwise yellow Spanish onions will work well)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 8 tablespoons water (you can use beef stock instead for a richer flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


1.  Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.  Add the onions, salt and sugar to the pan.

2.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, cooking the onions and stirring occasionally until they begin to brown, about 20 minutes.

3.  Add four tablespoons of water to the pan, stir, and cook until the onions are dried down and the water evaporates.

4.  Add four more tablespoons of water to the pan, repeating step 2 above. The onions should be a dark brown (not burnt) and soft.  Remove the onions from the pan; set aside until you’re ready to assemble the burgers.

Total cooking time for the onions varies, but it should take about 40-45 minutes of cooking to get soft, sweet, dark brown onions.

This recipe makes enough caramelized onions for 4-6 burgers.


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