Chalakilis (cha-lah-kee-lehs), the ultimate comfort food for CHamoru and people from Guam alike. I’ve easily turned this classic recipe vegan, with just a few simple swaps. This soup contains potatoes, onions, garlic, and thickened with toasted ground rice! Its beautiful red hue is also what makes this dish unique. This vegan CHamoru chalakilis is as hearty and filling as the original, and tastes just as great.
Back in the day, when the CHamoru people would cook rice, they would use the remaining dried up and stuck on rice on the pot to make Chalakilis. They rehydrate the rice by adding water and adding flavors such as achiote (annatto seeds), coconut milk, chicken, and some donne’ (red chili peppers). Today, they prepare the rice by simply toasting the rice before cooking it. To give that similar toasty flavor that was done in the past.
Furthermore, it could also be compared to the Mexican dish. Chilaquiles, a dish that reconstitutes stale dried-out tortillas by soaking them in a sauce. The methods and fundamentals are the same, to reconstitute a dried starch dish. For Mexico, it’s tortillas, and for Guam it’s rice.
I’m gonna be honest, I’ve never really appreciated CHamoru food as much as I do now. Chalakilis was served at most parties, but I remember it being served after a rosary or any church event. As a kid, I would rather eat other things. However, as a young adult, I’ve rarely had it. Probably because the parties I go to were with me and my friends, and we would do mostly barbecues.
Now, that I no longer live in Guam, and though I’m not CHamoru myself, I wanted to share the food from my home. Yes, I’m not gonna deny that more people are probably more qualified to make this than I am. But with the help of my friend Crista, I wanted to share a vegan-friendly version of the CHamoru classic, just like this Chalakilis. I want to bring more awareness to the beautiful island that I grew up in, and show their CHamoru culture through their food.
If you tried this recipe, let me know what you think in the comments below. You can also share it with me on Instagram, just tag @flouredframe. I would love to see your recreations! Happy cooking!
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