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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Guamanian Red Rice

Guamanian Red Rice 1

The Crock Pot Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup) was just the tail end of a week of furious cooking. So I'll just blog backwards.

A while back, Canine Cologne of Pink Candles at Ridgemont High had posted a recipe for Guamanian red rice. I've never eaten Guamanian food before and was intrigued by the use of annatto seed powder to color the rice, rather than tomato paste like my Com Do Ca Chua (Vietnamese Tomato Paste Rice). Her secret ingredient, that she learned from an older Guamanian woman, was the use of roasted chicken base paste. Since I couldn't find the chicken paste, I had forgotten all about the recipe until Canine Cologne mailed me a tub. So nice and so unexpected! She had earlier generously sent me gourmet chocolates and handmade earrings!

Canine Cologne used celery leaves and chicken paste in her version. I didn't have any celery on hand, but, since I knew Santos of The Scent of Green Bananas lived in Guam, I checked her blog to see if she had another version. Sauteed bacon and onions, no celery. I had that. So I combined a bit of both recipes for my version. Since the chicken paste can be hard to find, I'd say it's optional. Or you could just roast a chicken and take a spoonful of the congealed juices, which is what it seems like to me. I bet the paste would be great with rice pilaf too.

When I originally made this, I added 2 tblsps of annatto seed to water and microwaved it to get the liquid red like I did with my Crock Pot Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew). Unfortunately, the rice turned out golden, and not red. So I added 2 tblsps of annatto seed powder and cooked it again and it came out reeeed! Use less if you don't want such a vibrant color.

Guamanian Red Rice 2

Guamanian Red Rice
Adapted from Pink Candles at Ridgemont High and The Scent of Green Bananas

For 2 cups of rice, you'll need:
4 to 6 strips of bacon, diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 cups uncooked rice
2 tblsp annatto seed powder

Optional: 1 tblsp roasted chicken base paste

Dice the bacon and onion. Saute in a pan on medium-high heat until the bacon is as softened or crispy as you'd like. Drain excess fat. I usually move the bacon and onion to one side, tilt the pan, and use a paper towel to absorb the excess fat.

Guamanian Red Rice 3

Then, if you have it, add 1 tblsp roasted chicken base and stir to mix.

Guamanian Red Rice 4

Add 2 cups of rice and mix again.

Guamanian Red Rice 5

Then add 2 tblsps annatto seed powder and mix again. You can pour everything into your rice cooker and cook as normal. Or add 1 1/2 cups water to the pan, cover, and cook on medium-low until the rice is cooked. Look at how red it became!

Guamanian Red Rice 6


Who else made Guamanian red rice?
Canine Cologne of Pink Candles at Ridgemont High used celery leaves and roasted chicken paste.
Santos of The Scent of Green Bananas sauteed bacon and half an onion.

I'm submitting this recipe to Regional Recipes, a food blogging event created by Darlene of Blazing Hot Wok, in which a different culture and cuisine is explored each month. Please read the Regional Recipe rules to see if you'd like to participate. Darlene is this month's host and we're spotlighting the Pacific Islands.

The only other Pacific island recipe I have is my very ineptly-made Hawaiian Spam musubi. I still make it pretty ugly, but it tastes good!

1 year ago today, Pumpkin Pie with Chai Spices.
2 years ago today, my geraniums give me Christmas colors year-round.
3 years ago today, I finally got around to writing an "About this blog" post.


  1. hi wc - that's great you were able to create a hybrid red rice recipe! i love that roasted chicken base. i was able to finally get it thru amazon.com which recently started carrying it. i've been using it in soups lately. i'm going to try your recipe because it has bacon in it!

    by the way, i can't believe i missed your post back in march about the chocolates and earring i sent. i'm glad you liked them! :)

  2. CC is so awesome...my friends go crazy for the guamanian rice but i havent had the occasion to try it yet. is yokoz any good for that kind of food for a quick taste test?

  3. CC,
    It's called the "I had no celery in my fridge" adaptation. ;) You've been so generous with your gifts, of course, I had to thank you.

    I have no idea what yokoz is? You mean the restaurant? If so, sure, why not? Trying any food will give you a general idea to see if you like it or want to try more.

  4. Love, love, love red rice. It is both a staple and a treat on Guam. You can even get red rice at KFC although it is never as good as homemade. Chamorro (the indigenous people of Guam) food is special and unique and totally worth exploring. Aside from red rice, I'd say the next two must try Chamorro foods are chicken kelaguen and finedene (sauce). Happy eating!

  5. Gia,
    That's so cool! I like visiting fast food restaurants when I'm abroad just to see the regional variations. I've heard of chicken kelaguen. Haven't had a chance to try it yet though.


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