Welcome to week 2 of the Five US Territories of New Recipe Tuesday. This week, we explore the island of Guam, who joined the US as a territory the same way that Puerto Rico did, when it was ceded to the US at the end of the Spanish-American War. Guam is often called the place where “America Starts Its Day”, because it is located on the other side of the International Date Line from the rest of the US. As I write this on the East Coast of the US, it is already morning on Wednesday in Guam. Good morning!
Guam is located in the South Pacific and is the southernmost island of the Marianas Archipelago. Its native population is the Chamorro people, who are believed to have come from Southeast Asia before 2000 BC. They are most closely related to people from the Philippines and Taiwan.
An interesting thing about Guam. One of its most visited tourist attractions is Yukoi’s Cave. In 1972, a Japanese soldier from WWII emerged from the jungles of Guam, totally unaware that the war handed ended decades earlier. He became instantly famous, and the hole where is lived is now a popular tourist attraction. And strangely, his story was foretold in an episode of Gilligan’s Island called “So Sorry, My Island Now”, which aired in 1965 and told the story of a Japanese soldier who captures the stranded islanders, thinking the war is still active.
When I went looking for a recipe to make this week, I focused on this group of native people, as they have a strong culinary profile and there were a number of choices to work with. Because of their early influences from Spain, Japan, the US and Filipino cultures, their food is a mixture of native ingredients mixed with foreign spices.
What I decided on was actually two dishes. The first was a chicken dish called Kadon Pika, which combines soy sauce and vinegar with turmeric and coconut milk to create a really delicious flavor profile. I was a little worried about this one, because it just didn’t sound like it was going to balance out. But let me tell you…this is one of the best New Recipe Tuesday dishes I have EVER made. It is amazingly simple, comes together in about 35 minutes and the taste is incredible. It hits all the flavor points… sweet, savory, spicy and salty. It is in my rotation from this day forward and you should make it tomorrow.
The other dish is a side called Red Rice. It is a staple in almost all Guam households, and uses an interesting spice called achiote powder, which are ground annatto seeds. It made a nice side to the Kadon Pika, but I didn’t think the achiote did a whole lot to the rice other than make it an interesting color. I am thinking that it if I made it again, I would try another version I saw online that uses the seeds and a soak of several hours to make an ‘annato water’ to cook the rice.
Overall, I loved the dishes from Guam and I am so glad I made them. This tiny island gets a solid A in my culinary cookbook and I think I need to add it to my travel bucket list.
Thanks for stopping by! Seriously, make this chicken dish. It is that good. See you next week in the US Virgin Islands!
Kadon Pika with Red Rice
Turmeric Chicken in Coconut Milk with Red Rice
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 3 red fresno chili peppers, chopped
- 1 – 15 oz can coconut milk
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 2 teaspoons achiote (annato) powder (you can find this at latin markets)
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup jasmine rice
For the chicken:
- In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until the onion are soft and translucent.
- Add the chicken and brown on both sides.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, except the coconut milk, and cook for about 20 minutes, turning occasionally until the chicken is cooked through. (while chicken is cooking, make the rice)
- Add the coconut milk and cook for another 2 minutes.
For the rice:
- In a medium pan with a tight fitting lid, heat canola oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until opaque.
- Add remaining ingredients, except rice and bring to a boil.
- Add rice, stir, cover and simmer for 18 minutes.
- Remove from heat, stir and recover for another 2 minutes.