Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Vegetarian Chamorro Meal

This meal consists of a lot of key staples of Chamorro cuisine that would be served at a fiesta. Usually these things would be served with some sort of meat, chicken or fish dish but these things are way more than enough just by themselves.

The meal consits of red rice with finadene sauce, cucumber salad and eggplant finadene.

Red Rice -All you need to make red rice is some sort of white rice (as much as you want per person and annatto/achiote powder or liquid. You can also used annatto seeds that you strain the pigment out of...this is a lot of work and annatto seeds are harder to find than the powder. I tried to make red rice for a friend years ago and had a hard time finding seeds. Today, they sell annatto powder in the regular grocery store and also in asian and spanish markets. I bought some achiote liquid online at Mytienda.com and am I really pleased with it. If you do go the liquid route just know it does stain...I found this out the hard way.

-white rice, any variety
-achiote powder/liquid
Cook rice according to package directions, when the package instructs to add rice, add achiote seasoning and salt and pepper. The more powder or liquid that you add the more deeper in color the rice will be so the amount is really up to you. I add a tablespoon of the liquid. Also add as much or little salt or pepeper as desired according to your taste.
This is my pot of red rice before it boiled. You will notice the green flecks- I sauteed some onions and peppers and added them to the bottom of the pot before I put the rice in. I like the flavor they give to the rice. Some red rice in Guam does contain onion and some contain bacon as well.

Finadene Sauce- Finadene is served everywhere in Guam, even KFC has finadene for your meal. There are different variations of finadene but they all have the same main ingredients: scallions (green onion), red hot pepper (donne), yellow onion, and lemon juice. In some finadene's coconut milk is added, some add soy sauce and still others include a combination of soy sauce and cocunut meat. This finadene uses soy sauce. This finadene can be used as a topping for rice, a marinade for meat or chicken or just on as a sauce on top of the meat. These ingredients are sometimes used in a dish called Kelaguen. In Kelaguen meat, chicken, fish and shrimp are marinated in finadene. Sometimes it is then cooked, in the case of shrimp or fish they are not cooked because the lemon juice in the marinade "cooks" the dish. Finadene tastes great on anything-even pizza!
Some donne (hot red peppers) that I smuggled back from Guam - these little guys pack a lot of heat!

Ingredients: soy sauce, lemon juice, 1 stalk scallion, 1-2 red hot pepper(s), yellow onion
Directions: In a small bowl/container mix 4 parts soy sauce with 1 part lemon juice, slice scallion into small pieces and add to mixture, use about 1/5 of the onoin and slice into small/thin slices and add to mixture, dice up hot red pepper as much or as little as you want (i take the seeds out because then the sauce is way too hot for me!) put this mixture in the fridge to let the flavors mix until you are ready to use it. Finadene will stay for about a week in the fridge.
You may notice the lack of scallions in my finadene...I bought some at a local farms market and they were pretty slimy when I went to use them so I omitted them-tasted just as good!
Cucumber Salad-
Ingredients: 1 cucumber (sliced), soy sauce, white vinegar, salt, pepper, onions sliced
Directions: Slice 1 cucumber and half of an onion and place in a container/bowl. Pour in enough soy sauce to cover 75% of the cucumbers, cover the other 25% with vinegar and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix and place in fridge until ready to eat so flavors can combine.

Salad before adding soy sauce and vinegar

This is approximately how much soy sauce should be in the dish/container before you add the vinegar.

Eggplant Finadene-

Ingredients: 1 eggplant, 1 stalk scallion, coconut milk, lemon juice, 1/2 a yellow onion sliced, 1-2 hot red pepper(s) diced


1. cut eggplant in half and place on a baking tray, lightly salt and drizzle olive oil over both sides of eggplant. Bake in oven at 450 degrees for about a half hour or until the eggplant is golden.

This is what the eggplant should look like when you take it out of the oven. Be careful because the eggplant will be very hot. Give it some time to cool down. Cut eggplant into small slices on a cutting board. The skin should just peel off easily at this time. The eggplant should be so soft it almost breaks apart for you without much effort. If the eggplant it still hard on the inside then it should go back in the oven for a little while. Put slices in a dish or bowl.

2. Cover eggplant with coconunt milk. Add sliced scallions, yellow onions and hot peppers.

3. Start adding lemon juice, a few drops/squeezes at a time to taste. It should be sweet, spicy and sour all at the same time. Serve this immediately. Do not refridgorate beforehand.



  1. Is this a regular eggplant, or chinese eggplant?

    1. Hi Tom! I used regular Italian eggplant but you could use either...you would just need to use more Chinese eggplant as they are smaller!