Potu

Potu is a sweet steamed rice cake that’s a Chamorro favorite.  It’s traditionally made using sweet tuba, a Chamorro beverage made from fermenting (like wine) coconut juice.  Rice is soaked overnight in the tuba then ground into a super-fine consistency the next day.  The mixture is sweetened and steamed into these amazingly delicious rice cakes.

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When I was younger, I usually only had potu when we went to parties or (I don’t mean to be morbid) at rosaries.  My late aunt used to make potu as well.  I remember those sleepovers at her house —  Auntie Frances had the entire kitchen and dining room filled with tubs of soaking rice and pans of potu ready for delivery.  Ahh…those were the good ‘ole days.

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This is my friend, Judy Dillinger’s recipe.  Being away from home, I definitely don’t have access to a lot of home-grown ingredients, tuba being one of them.  Judy’s recipe makes use of readily available ingredients that you can find in almost any grocery store.  It’s also quick and easy, using rice flour instead of soaking rice overnight.

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If you’d like to try another of my friend’s Potu recipes, take a look at this one by my friend, Rose Camacho.

I’ve made both recipes and I will tell you they are both equally delicious and definitely tried-and-true.

Give Judy’s or Rose’s recipes a try.  I think you’ll like them.

Here’s how to make Judy’s Potu.

Events - 017You’ll need to find rice flour that is NOT glutinous.  The label will tell you whether it’s glutinous or not.  The glutinous kind will NOT work for potu.  Glutinous rice flour is made by grinding sweet rice, which is very sticky when cooked.  The NON-glutinous rice flour (the kind you need for potu) is made by grinding short or medium-grain rice.

This is a photo of the brand of rice flour I used.  There are many different brands; make sure the label states non-glutinous.rice flour

I’ve also used this brand of rice flour (the red bag, pictured on the right).  Notice that the green bag clearly states “Glutinous.”  If you’re familiar with mochi, glutinous rice flour is used to make mochi.  Again, for potu, you want to use NON-glutinous rice flour.

Events - 0545As I mentioned above, tuba is not available here in the states, unless you have a friend or family member visiting from home bring you some.  An easy substitute for tuba in this recipe is coconut vinegar.  You only need a little bit of vinegar.  Judy’s recipe calls for four tablespoons mixed with enough water to make one cup of liquid.  I actually cut the amount of vinegar in half because it’s quite pungent.  This is the brand of coconut vinegar I use.

Mix the vinegar with enough water to make one cup of liquid.  I only used two tablespoons of vinegar, but Judy’s recipe calls for four.  It’s all up to you, really, on how much vinegar to use.  Remember, a little goes a long way.

Mix the rice flour, sugar and baking powder with the vinegar-water mixture.  Let the mixture sit for a few minutes — it will get very bubbly.

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Pour the batter into molds, filling them almost to the top.  I’ve used silicone molds, little glass cups and the silicone molds lined with mini cupcake paper liners, all with success.

Place the molds into your steamer basket before filling — it’s easier than trying to place full cups into the basket without spilling any batter.

Events - 020Place the steamer basket into the steamer.  Place a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth beneath the lid to keep the condensation from dripping back onto the potu.

Events - 023Steam for about 20 minutes.  The tell-tale crack on top indicates the potu is done.  Let the potu cool for a few minutes before removing from the molds.  Serve and ENJOY! 🙂

 

Potu
 
A sweet steamed rice cake that's light and fluffy and easy to prepare.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Chamorro
Serves: 2½ dozen
Ingredients
  • 1 cup rice flour (make sure it's NOT glutinous rice flour)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons vinegar mixed with water to equal 1 cup of liquid (OR use 1 cup sweet tuba)
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
  2. Pour the mixture into miniature molds and steam for about 15-20 minutes.

 

 

 

Caramel Apple Cake

Fall is probably my favorite season because of all of the yummy fall fruits that abound this time of year.  Apples are in full season right now, and rather than wonder what to make with them, how about you bake my friend, Vikki’s Caramel Apple Cake?

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This cake is incredibly moist, and the thick batter suspends chunks of sweet apple so that they don’t sink to the bottom of the cake during baking.  You get a taste of sweet apple and cinnamony (my new word) goodness in every bite.

My husband took some cake to work and shared it with his boss, who said this was the best apple cake he’s ever had. (Thanks, Vikki!) 🙂

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This cake is screaming your name…wait, it’s screaming MY name.  I need to make another one.  My family devoured the one I made the other night.  It’s that good.

Let’s get to it.

Whisk the oil and sugar together in a large mixing bowl.

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Whisk the eggs into the sugar-oil mixture.

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Add the vanilla extract, apple pie spice, salt and baking powder; whisk to combine.

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Add the flour to the bowl.  This batter is very thick.  Use a spatula to fold in the flour.

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See how thick the batter is?  My spatula is standing straight up in the batter.

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Fold in the chopped apples.  You can’t tell from the photo, but I cut the apples very small and relatively thin to ensure they cook through during baking, but not too small that they turn to mush.  I used Honeycrisp Apples in this recipe, which I recommend you use as well.  They are sweet, crisp apples that hold up to baking.  The apples were still somewhat firm after baking, but cooked through (not over cooked at all).

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Pour the batter into a greased baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until it tests done (insert a knife or skewer into the middle; it should come out clean).

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While the cake is baking, make the caramel sauce.

Place the butter, brown sugar, and milk in a small sauce pan over low heat.

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Whisk occasionally, cooking until the butter and sugar melt and the sauce thickens.

Don’t make the glaze until right before the cake is done, however.  The sauce thickens as it cools, so make it just minutes before the cake is done so that it’s thin enough to drizzle.

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Drizzle the caramel glaze all over the top of the cake.

This is wonderful just as you see it below, but if you want to take it over the top, add a huge dollop of whipped cream and you’ll be in caramel apple heaven! 🙂

Vikki says this cake freezes well.  All you’ll need to do is defrost the cake at room temperature then make up a fresh pot of caramel sauce to drizzle over the cake just before serving.

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Cut yourself a huge slice of this sinfully delicious cake, serve and ENJOY!

Doesn’t that caramel sauce make you want to run your finger across that plate, scoop up some sauce, and lick your finger?  😉

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Caramel Apple Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A super moist cake with chunks of sweet apples and a luscious caramel glaze
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
CAKE:
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1½ cups vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½ teaspoons apple pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 medium apples, peeled and finely chopped
CARAMEL GLAZE:
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons milk
Instructions
Make the Cake:
  1. Mix the sugar and oil together in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, apple pie spice, salt and baking soda.
  3. Fold in the flour.
  4. Fold in the chopped apples.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes or until the cake tests done.
Make the Glaze:
  1. Cook the glaze in a small sauce pan on the stove, just until the butter and sugar melt and the sauce thickens.
  2. Pour the glaze over individual pieces or over the entire cake while it's still warm.
NOTE: I used Honey Crisp Apples (2 of them) -- I recommend them for this recipe. The apples stayed somewhat firm during the baking; they were definitely cooked through, and I liked that the apples didn't become mushy after baking.

 

Daigo’ Kimchi with Rokkyo & Pickled Garlic

This is a very simple salad or side dish made with pickled daikon radish, pearl onions, and garlic.  This is not a dish you want to eat before venturing out into public…your pores will exude an odor that is guaranteed to chase away even the scariest of vampires.

Daigo’ (pickled daikon radish), Rokkyo’ (pickled pearl onions) and pickled garlic are popular snacks on Guam.  Visit your local village store and you’re likely to see large jars filled with these pickled delights for sale.

imageTo make an easy kimchi, mix together Kimchee Base and white vinegar, adding it to the bowl of mixed vegetables.

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Let the mixture marinate for about 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to develop.  Serve and ENJOY! 🙂

 

Daigo' Kimchi with Rokkyo & Pickled Garlic
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 package sliced pickled daikon radish
  • 1 small package (about 2 cups) pickled pearl onions
  • 1 small package (about 1 cup) pickled garlic
  • ¼ cup Kimchee Base
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • Hot pepper, optional
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Let the mixture marinate for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
Serve and ENJOY!

 

 

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
Cook time
Total time
 
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!

 

Paranormal Pretzels

My niece, Chrystina and her son, Damian have so much fun making snacks together.

Damian shared these cute pretzel snacks with his friends at school, but they’d be perfect for a kid’s party or for Halloween (being that they look like aliens or bugs). 🙂

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Chrystina adapted this recipe from one she found in Parent magazine.  Here’s how she and Damian made them.

You’ll need to buy pretzels already covered in yogurt, but you can buy plain pretzels and coat them with white candy melts.

Use candy melts and multi-colored sprinkles for the eyes. Melt the candy melts in the microwave in 30-second intervals then pour into a frosting bag fitted with a small tip to do the eyes.  If you don’t have a frosting bag, you can also use a resealable bag, cutting a tiny piece off one corner.

NOTE: You need a helper to be putting the sprinkles on because the candy melts settle real quick!

From Chrystina:  “A lot of our little paranormal friends ended up looking like their eyes were gorged out and left empty and bloody — which is ok too.  Damian went as fast as he could. ☺️”

Have fun making these cute snacks.  Chrystina and Damian sure did. 🙂

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