Archive for CHAMORRO DISHES

Braised Oxtail Soup

Don’t let the name of this dish turn you off.  Oxtail, as the name describes, was commonly the meaty part of the tail of an ox.  Nowadays, they are cut from the tails of cattle.  Oxtail is quite meaty, but it requires a long and slow braising to tenderize the tough meat.

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You can cut the cooking time down several hours by using a pressure cooker.  I prefer braising the oxtail long and slow, however, which helps to develop an incredibly rich broth.

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Look for oxtail with a lot of meat and not much fat.  Rinse the oxtail then trim off as much fat as you can.  This is what I trimmed off from 5 packages of oxtail (with about 4 oxtails per package).

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The richness of your broth starts by browning the oxtail.  I did this in batches so that I could turn each oxtail over to ensure even browning.  Browning creates amazingly delicious flavor compounds that ultimately gives the resulting dish an extremely rich, deep flavor.  Don’t skip the browning process; trust me.

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The next step to developing that incredibly rich flavor is to brown your aromatics.  Do this BEFORE adding any liquid.

Add onions, garlic and black pepper to the pot.  Do this when you have just one layer of oxtail in the pot.  Set the rest of the browned oxtail aside for now; you’ll add it back to the pot in a few minutes.  Cook the onions just to the point where they become a golden brown and begin to caramelize.

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Now the magic begins.  Add the rest of the oxtail back into the pot then pour in enough water to completely cover the oxtail.  Place a lid on the pot and cook over medium-low heat.  If you decide to braise the oxtail long and slow, plan ahead as this will take several hours — I braised mine for about 5 1/2 hours over a slow boil.

A note about boiling meat:  As meat boils, a foamy substance forms on the surface.  This is called scum.  The scum is denatured protein.  It is harmless, and eventually the foam breaks up and disperses into the stock.  Although harmless (and flavorless), the scum leaves the broth gray and cloudy.  Every so often, skim the surface, removing the scum.

Every 30 minutes or so, at about the same time you skim the scum off the broth, check to ensure the level of liquid stays above the meat.  Add enough water to maintain the level of liquid above the oxtail.  Keep doing this for the first three hours.

After hour number three of braising, add my secret ingredient (shhh…don’t tell anyone):  half a bottle of marsala wine.  Marsala wine adds deep, savory notes to the broth.  After adding the wine, if the level of liquid is still not above the meat, add more water.  Continue to cook over medium-low heat for another two hours.

After five hours of braising, taste the broth.  Add salt and pepper, to taste.  Instead of salt, I like adding a few tablespoons of Dashida seasoning.  If you can’t find Dashida (a Korean beef-flavored powdered seasoning), use beef bouillon.  Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.

Add your favorite vegetables during this last 30 minutes of cooking.  Sometimes I add potatoes and carrots, or squash (a favorite).  Baby bok choy is another favorite.  Squash cooks quickly, so add it last to prevent overcooking them.  Baby bok choy cooks in just a few scant minutes, so add them at the very end, just before serving.

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Serve over hot white rice with a good amount of broth and ENJOY! 🙂

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

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Braised Oxtail Soup
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: Serves 4-6
Ingredients
  • 15-20 pieces of oxtail, excess fat trimmed off
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Water, enough to completely cover the oxtail
  • ½ bottle marsala wine, about 2 cups
  • 4 tablespoons Dashida seasoning (or powdered beef bouillon)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 medium squash, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 12 baby bok choy
Instructions
  1. Brown the oxtail in batches over medium-high heat (brown one layer of oxtail at a time). Set the browned oxtail aside.
  2. Add the onions, garlic and black pepper to the pot. Cook until the onions begin to caramelize.
  3. Return all of the oxtail to the pot. Add enough water to cover the oxtail. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low; simmer for 5½ hours, skimming the scum off the surface periodically. Keep the water level above the meat throughout the braising.
  4. After three hours of simmering, add the wine to the pot. Simmer for 2½ more hours.
  5. Add the Dashida. Taste the broth then add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add any vegetables last, cooking until the vegetables are done to your liking.
Serve and ENJOY!

 

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Chicken Chalakiles

Chicken Chalakiles is one of my favorite Chamorro comfort foods.  It’s a soup made with chicken, onions and garlic, thickened with toasted ground rice, and made even more rich with the addition of coconut milk.

Chalakiles can be served as your main dish or as a soup served before your entrée.

I make my Chalakiles the way my mom taught me — with freshly toasted and ground rice.  A quick and easy substitute is to use Cream of Rice instead. Toasting rice is easy.  Place the rice in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook until the rice turns golden brown, stirring constantly to prevent any rice from over-browning (and burning).

Let the rice cool for a few minutes then place in a food processor (I have a mini food chopper/grinder that works well).

Grind the rice into a mixture that looks like cornmeal.  A few large pieces of rice is okay; it will add texture to your Chalakiles once cooked.  Set the ground rice aside.

Place your chicken into a large soup pot.  You can cut the chicken to your desired size.  I diced them small here so that we could have more of a soup. My mom would use chicken drummettes or leave the chicken pieces whole if we served this as a meal.  She’d make it more on the soupy side as well so that we could also serve this with some steamed rice. Cook the chicken with onions, garlic, coconut oil and black pepper.

Once the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink, add chicken broth (or water and chicken seasoning), achote powder, and the ground toasted rice.

Bring the mixture to a boil; cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes (keep the pot uncovered).  Stirring occasionally to prevent the rice from settling and sticking to the bottom of the pot.

This is what the Chalakiles looks like after the rice is done.  The mixture is quite thick at this point, but will thin down once you stir in the coconut milk.

Stir in the coconut milk.  Cook for another couple of minutes, just long enough to heat up the mixture after adding the milk.  Remove from the heat.

If you want a thinner soup, either add more water or another can of coconut milk.  Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.

My recipe makes enough for a family of four plus enough leftover for lunch the next day. Serve and ENJOY!

 

Chicken Chalakiles
 
Prep time
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A savory soup made with chicken and ground toasted rice.
Author:
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups uncooked rice
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
  • 1 med onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chicken seasoning*
  • 10 cups water*
  • 1 packet achote powder
  • 1 can (14-oz) coconut milk
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)


  • *Note: You can use chicken broth instead of water; omit the water AND chicken seasoning if using chicken broth.
Instructions
  1. Place the uncooked rice in a skillet over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes until the rice is evenly browned, stirring occasionally to ensure even browning. Let the toasted rice cool then grind in a food processor until you get the consistency of cornmeal. Set aside.
  2. Place the chicken, onion, garlic, coconut oil and black pepper into a large soup pot. Cook over medium heat until the chicken is no longer pink.
  3. Add the chicken seasoning, water, achote powder and ground rice to the pot. Stir to combine the ingredients then bring the mixture to a boil. Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in the coconut milk; cook for a couple of minutes then remove from the heat.
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)
 
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A spicy concoction with hot chili peppers, garlic, and the saltiness of miso paste ~ it's perfect with any meat dish.
Author:
Serves: 2½ cups
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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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”

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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.

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Mix the flour, salt and baking soda together.

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

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

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Add the eggs and vanilla extract to the mixing bowl.

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Mix until creamy.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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!

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Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies
 
Prep time
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A crisp cookie loaded with mini chocolate chip morsels, reminiscent of one of Guam's favorite cookies, the "Chamorro Chip Cookie"
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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.
ENJOY!
This makes about 7½ dozen cookies about the size of a Chips Ahoy cookie.

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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
 
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: Chamorro
Serves: 2 dozen
Ingredients
Filling:
  • 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)
Crust:
  • 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.
Instructions
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.
Enjoy!

 

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