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.
- 1 cup – Jasmine rice
- ½ large yellow onion, roughly diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 packet annatto powder
- 1/2 packet Goya seasoning
- 1 box (32oz/1 qt) – vegetable broth
- 2 russet potatoes, diced into small chunks
- ½ cup coconut milk, or more
- 2–3 cups – additional water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 block extra-firm tofu, pressed, drained, and cut into small cubes
- Green onions or parsley, to garnish
- Dry toast the rice in a large pan until most of the rice kernels have browned. Stirring it constantly so the rice doesn’t get too dark or burn. Optionally, you can also dry toast the rice in a 350° F oven for about 15 minutes. Mixing it around every 5 minutes or so, until they’re brown and beginning to smell fragrant. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool.
- When the rice has cooled, grind it in a food processor or a high-speed blender until you get a chunky cornmeal consistency. Don’t grind it too finely. Set aside until ready to use.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add in the onions and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent.
- In a medium bowl, combine the broth, annatto powder, and goya seasoning. Mix until the powder has fully dissolved. Add it to the pot, and let it come to a boil.
- Add in the diced potatoes, cover the pot and let it boil for 5 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to a simmer, and add in the ground rice in batches, stirring in between. See notes
- Make sure there is enough liquid for the rice to boil, add more if you think it is too thick. Cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- After 10 minutes, taste the mixture. Add more seasoning if needed. If the rice is still gritty, add more water and continue to cook until the rice is cooked thoroughly. It should be a thick consistency.
- Mix in the coconut milk, this will help thin out the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve as is, or add in some fried tofu.
- Before starting, press and drain out all the excess water from the tofu. Cut them into small cubes.
- In a large saucepan, add in enough oil to submerge the tofu completely. Preheat the oil to 375 °F.
- Fry tofu for about 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. If the tofu sticks to each other, let them fry until they just start to turn golden before pulling them apart, if you pull them apart before they’ve had a chance to firm up you may tear them.
- Remove from the oil and drain them over a wire cooling rack. Add it to your soup and enjoy!
- You can use cream of rice you prefer.
- Dry toast the rice. It’s an added step, but it adds flavor and depth to this dish. If you are using cream of rice, you can skip this step.
- Ground the rice. I prefer having a bit of texture to my soup, so I don’t grind up the rice too finely. Use a high-speed blender or food processor.
- Add the rice a little bit at a time. When you’re at the stage to add the rice, add it in small batches while stirring in between. The rice starts cooking almost instantly when you add it in. By doing it in batches, it cooks the rice better. If you don’t, it will clump up together, and it won’t cook properly.
- Add more water if needed. You’ll notice once you’ve added your rice, it’ll start absorbing a lot of the liquid. Keep extra water handy to add to the soup.
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