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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58 comments

  1. Shanta Fuller says:

    Aloha Annie! I lived in Guam for 4 years before I moved to Hawaii. Now I’m back on the mainland. Do me a favor beautiful, when you say a packet of achote powder, how much is that in teaspoons or tablespoons? Mahalo! Shanta from Atlanta GA

  2. Chelsea says:

    I just moved away from my island a couple weeks ago, and making red rice with fina’denne for dinner felt great! The time zone difference to Guam makes it hard to call people back home for the correct recipe, so I was thrilled to find it posted here. Do you have experience with mailing the achote seeds from guam? Is the flavor difference worth sending for the real stuff?

    • Hafa Adai! I’m glad you were able to feel like you were back home eating the food you love. If you can get achote seeds from home, I’d use that over the powdered achote any day! The flavor is so much better using fresh achote seeds.

  3. Emmy says:

    I’m so happy to have come across your website. I’ve been missing home and your recipes and instructions are so easy to follow and the outcome is delicious every time! Thank you!

  4. Shirley - Tacoma WA says:

    I have been searching for a comprehensive Chamorro Recipes online. So far – I am so hyped up with what your site has to offer. I would like to try your grilled-eggplant recipe out first since my children misses the good island-food eats back home. So, this will be one of their many real treats this month 🙂

    • Hafa Adai, Shirley! Thanks for stopping by. Stop by again soon and let me know how your family likes my recipes. Happy New Year!

      • Shirley - Tacoma WA says:

        I tried the Spam kelaguen to the letter and it was a grand-slam hit among friends and my family! Si Yu’us Ma’ase, Ms. Annie, for creating this beautiful Soulful-Chamorro food-blog. I am revisiting my Chamorro roots with my palate again sa esta ‘gof mahalang adai yo’ of our food items back home. Next on my list is the Red rice. Need to ask you about the empanada tools you used in making what looks like will be another future staple menu added to our house-hold especially when we are going to endure this cold freezing climate out here in the Northwest! So, question for the empanada recipe. What other alternative can we do to limit the use of cooking oil? Can this still be done while maintaining it’s original flavor and texture?

        • Spam kelaguen is definitely a staple in my book.

          As for an alternative to frying empanadas, there really isn’t one that will crisp up the crust the way frying will. One thing you could do is make an “empanada Dip” — make the filling and place in a serving bowl, then make the dough for the crust, only roll them thin and cut into small pieces. Deep fry the dough only to make chips for your filling “dip.” This way, you don’t have to worry about any empanadas (and filling if the crust opens up) soaking up too much oil.

          Let me know how it turns out.

          • Shirley - Tacoma WA says:

            I will try this then! Thank you so much for your insightful suggestions – when I am trying recipes I have to consider the friends health issues and my heart swells when they enjoy the meals I prepare I will let you know this suggestion turns out.

  5. Philip says:

    Is there a way I can find out how to make this with 2 cups of rice? Also, do I use the whole packet of achote powder? I’m using mama sita achote powder. Do I need to use Dashida seasoning? Thank you for posting this awesome recipe! I just need to bbq and kelaguen and it’s all good!

  6. Anthony says:

    I tried out your recipe and it tastes just how I remember it from my childhood!

    I even wrote about it on my own blog and gave you a shoutout! Thank you so much!

  7. Lulu says:

    Do you close the lid when you cook it on the cooker? or you leave it open?

  8. Lulu says:

    Should I measure the rice with the rice cooker cup or a regular kitchen measuring cup?

  9. Rae says:

    What do you mean when you say scrub the achote seeds?

  10. Kat Aflague says:

    Never heard of Dashida? What is that ingredient and where can I find it? Thank you!

  11. Margaret says:

    Sorry, achote

  12. Georzena Lynn says:

    Where would you buy this dashida seasoning?

  13. Rayna says:

    I’ve always had a problem with cooking red rice in the rice cooker…it never cooked! I followed your recipe and steps and it came out perfect and it was a hit! Thank you for making my life easier, now I don’t have to cook red rice on the stovetop haha

  14. Tony says:

    Thank you for this recipe . Is the dashida beef stock seasoning ?

  15. virginia untalan says:

    thank you so much for the red rice recipe with the rice cooker its a wizz as soon as I saw your recipe I sent it off to my girls in colo. they made it for EASTER AT THERE HOUSE since they could,nt come to home to calif my husband was from GUAM THANKS VIRGINIA UNTALAN

  16. Maya says:

    I think this is awesome! I have finally mastered making red rice. Im from southern cali but my fiancé is from GUam. His mom has taught me a lot and I love the food!!!!

  17. khanh says:

    where did the green onions go?

  18. J Pound says:

    i thought you had to use a gummy rice to make red rice?

  19. Ricky Crask says:

    Hafa Adai Annie.
    Could you please tell me where I could possibly find the dashida? As far as the achota powder, it’s the Goya brand which I think is a little sweet, but that should be ok to use? Appreciate you publishing these recipes for us!!

  20. Shirley says:

    Hey Annie ! I’ve accomplished my goal. It wasn’t that chamorro red rice “achote” taste but it was close enough 🙂 thanks for the help !!!! It was my Sunday dinner :)) I wanted to share pictures but I don’t know how could you let me know

    Shirley 🙂

  21. Shirley says:

    Thanks Annie! Yes but I think I found what I was looking for it’s not quite achote but I’ve seen it in one of your recipe GOYA? it’s in a small yellow box. I found it in the Spanish isle.. I hope it’s like achote? I’m going to try making the red rice so wish me luck :))

  22. Shirley says:

    Hello Annie! I love me some red rice I’ve made some actually with bacon. My aunt taught me. But now I live on my own and the only thing I don’t have is achote.. Where do you think I can find some the powder achote ? And I love to eat mine like fried rice mhmmm! But it’s so good with chicken kelaguen, and finadene !!! Thanks

  23. Cecilia says:

    How do you make red rice if you don’t have a rice cooker? I need to make a large batch for 15+ people. Can it be made in a crock pot or in the oven? Please help. Also I can’t get dashida seasoning where I live, will it taste okay without it? Thanks!

    • Cecelia, make the rice in a large pot and cook it on the stovetop. If you don’t have Dashida, you can use beef bouillon or plain salt (use less salt, then taste the liquid to see if it’s enough salt). To cook the rice on the stove, cook over medium high heat (with the pot covered) just until the liquid comes to a boil. As soon as the liquid boils, stir the rice once then turn the heat down to low (the lowest setting on your stove) and cook until the liquid dries up. Turn the stove off, and (leaving the pot covered) let the rice sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

  24. This is one of the few dishes my mom did teach me and in her version, she dices yellow onion and bacon (at least 6 slices) and precooks them, then adds it to the rice before cooking.

  25. Gerri says:

    Well, quite honestly I think your recipe is good and especially your method of putting all ingredients on top of the rice grains before cooking already looks attractive even before cooking; however, because the annato seeds is what gives the red rice its distinctive flavor, I think minus the dashida seasoning and bacon fat truly preserves what the annato seeds is meant to do, and that’s to give the red rice its distinct flavor simply because the seeds are not only used for coloring but for that true chamorro red rice taste! That flavor always makes me feel like I’m back in the warm climate in Guam and wonderful memories of many fiestas as a child growing up! Cheers!

    • Geri, I agree, the flavor that fresh achote seeds gives to our Chamorro dishes can’t be beat. I’d rather use the seeds to make achote water, if I had any. I do love the taste that bacon fat and Dashida adds as well, but that’s my personal preference. 🙂

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