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
Cook time
Total time
A savory soup made with chicken and ground toasted rice.
Serves: 8 servings
  • 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.
  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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  1. Erwin says:

    Hi Annie,

    I loved this dish when I had it for the first time as a young student at St. Francis Elementary School in Yona in the late 1960’s. I have been living in NYC now for over 40 years in Brooklyn, and I want to share with you and your followers that I have been searching for this dish for decades with no luck! I did not know the name of the dish, but recalled most of the ingredients and that golden color. I would contact old friends back in Guam describing the food, that golden color, the comforting thickness-yet no one could identify what I was talking about. Then very recently, just a few months ago, I stumbled onto a YouTube recipe video from someone in Guam showing how to make the filling for Chicken Empanadas when the host basically explained it is the recipe for Chicken Chilakiles! I then watched other videos and most had a slightly different take on how to make it that my intuition warned me their recipes weren’t sounding quite right to my foggy memory of this dish. I was already familiar with your website so I thought let me just go to Annie’s Chamorro Kitchen! I just wanted to thank you for this recipe as it brought me back to the cafeteria at St. Francis Elementary school and all those amazing and comforting flavors of this dish that I had literally been craving for decades came immediately back to me when I had my first taste making this dish a few months ago, Your recipe has that authentic home-made flavor. It’s so good! I am actually making It for the 2nd time tonight and bought a food processor for the occasion as I didn’t have one previously. (Grinding 2 cups of browned rice by hand with a mortar and pestle is not easy!)

    For the earlier question from another follower on where to find Achiote powder- it’s actually available on and alternatively achiote seeds usually packaged in a small
    bag can be found at Mexican food markets.

    I was already familiar with your great website of recipes from Guam when I discovered your Buñelos Aga page. I love that recipe BTW. I initially got into it during Covid lockdowns about 2 years ago when I had to find something new to do with leftover overripe bananas as I got bored with banana bread! I was making Buñelos Aga every other week and adding new ingredients each time such as chopped walnuts, dried figs, peanut butter, and even Nutella! I wouldn’t suggest anyone using the latter as the Nutella melted into the oil and it was a mess! I usually stick to your original recipe but may do half a batch with some new ingredient just for fun. I do use your glaze of maple syrup with honey, and I have added the last step of sprinkling organic dry coconut flakes topped with dusted powdered sugar. I can’t eat all of this so i usually give part of my batch to neighbors and friends. Everyone loves it!

    Si Yu’us Maåse/Thank you for what you do as your recipes bring back warm memories with great flavor!

  2. J says:

    When I add the coconut milk, it gave it this consistency I dont remember eating as a kid, it made the whole soup creamy, I think id hold off on the coconut milk next time and just use the coconut to saute instead

  3. Valerie A Piccioni says:

    I do not live on the island of Guam. where can i buy achote powder? SeaFood City? Asian Markets? Regular Grocery stores?

  4. Helena says:

    Hi Annie
    I’m craving this kind of familiar conform food back in my old times; thank you for the recipe
    Q: can I use pork rather than chicken.
    Helena (Rhode Island)

  5. Lia Quitano says:

    Hi Annie, can I also use this recipe for empañada filling of course with using less liquid?

  6. Val says:

    Can you sub for brown rice ?

  7. Ingrid Johnston says:

    Hi Annie, this recipe was right on point! My son was holding his first bbq and his wife made this dish but accidentally dumped a can of corn in this pot instead of the other pot on the stove…let me tell you, she got sooo many compliments for her Chalakilis! So, I guess if you want more texture, you can add a can of corn.

  8. Jo says:

    Hello was wondering what type of rice did u use? Thank u for sharing

  9. vince Pinaula says:

    can we use grits instead of rice

  10. Litasha B. says:

    We made this for dinner after a rainy day on Guam and it was a hit! The kids loved it! Thank you for sharing! We will surely be making this again!

  11. Lana Camacho Melander says:

    Do I have to put coconut milk or can I substitute it with something else?

  12. June San Nicolas says:

    If not using ground rice, how many cups of cream of rice?

  13. Iris Muna says:


  14. Chasity Mendiola says:

    Thank you for sharing your recipes!! I had a general idea of how to make this dish, but never attempted. I used your recipe and nailed it at my first try!! Thank you again!! 🙂

  15. michael says:


    I tried your recipe for chalaklas. It was the best!!!


    Michael from Mangilao

  16. shirley says:

    hi annie!!!
    im on your blog all the time and it always makes me hungry.but i love all your recipes im actually going to try your lumpia and shrimp patties 🙂 ive been making red rice and chicken kelaguen actually with some easier steps and it actually turned out good 🙂 now i wanna learn other recipes. so i will try them and this recipe as well. so i do have a question what if i dont have a grinder what else can i do?
    thank you

  17. Connie says:

    Sorry disregard my comment. I was looking at the picture and reading the caption the read the direction at the bottom. I went ahead of myself. LOL.

  18. Connie says:

    Do you add the achote powder with the water, seasoning and rice?

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