Taste of Guam: Making Chamorro-style Chicken ala King at home

Taste of Guam: Making Chamorro-style Chicken ala King at home

by Army Lt. Col. (Ret.) Annette Merfale
Annie's Chamorro Kitchen

“My name is Annie. Food and I get along so well! Cooking and baking are more than a hobby for me – they’re a passion. I come from the beautiful island of Guam, U.S.A. The recipes you’ll find here are my creations, or those of my children, who are also budding foodies. I hope you like them. Drop me a comment or two to let me know how you like our island and other delicacies. Enjoy!”

- Army Lt. Col. Annette Merfalen, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Colo.

Chicken ala King

Chicken ala King is a classic comfort dish.

Growing up, chicken ala king was usually served at rosaries, after the prayers were completed, of course. It was chicken ala king, beef vegetable soup with glass noodles or long rice, rosketti, and custard pie that I remember being served most often after rosaries.

Now you don’t have to wait for those somber occasions to enjoy this comfort meal. My recipe and step-by-step photos show how easy it is to prepare yourself.

My daughter calls it chicken pot pie without the crust. I wouldn’t say it’s quite like chicken pot pie, however. I think it’s BETTER than chicken pot pie.  Who agrees with me? Give my recipe a try and I think you’ll agree too.

Ingredients for the filling:
• 2 chicken breasts
• 5 tablespoons butter
• 1 medium onion, diced
• 2 tablespoons minced garlic
• 3 to 4 tablespoons powdered chicken bouillon, more or less to taste
• 2 cups flour
• 3 cups water
• 2 cups heavy cream
• 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
• 2 16-ounce bags frozen corn
• 2 12-ounce bags frozen peas and carrots
• 4 hard boiled eggs, chopped

This is what heavy cream looks like. You can find it in the dairy section of your grocery store.

1. Cut the chicken breasts into very small pieces then place into a large soup pot.

2. Add the butter, garlic and chopped onions to the pot. Cook over medium high heat until the chicken is done.  Add in the powdered chicken bouillon. Stir to combine. This is the powdered chicken bouillon I use. You can find it in most grocery stores.

3. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the flour all at once; stir.

4. Pour in the water, stirring vigorously to prevent lumps from forming — the mixture should be very thick at this point. Mix in the heavy cream and evaporated milk. Keep stirring until there are no more lumps.

5. Stir in the frozen corn, peas and carrots. Bring the mixture back to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook over medium high heat until the mixture has thickened once again.

6. After the mixture has thickened, stir in the chopped eggs. Pour the filling into the pastry shells and enjoy!

Ingredients for the filling:
• 2 large eggs
• 1 cup milk
• 1 cup water
• 1 1/2 cups flour
• 2 cups corn starch
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder

1.  1.  Mix the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add the coconut milk, melted butter, and cream of coconut (start out with 1/4 cup; increase to a total of 1/2 cup, depending on how humid your day is–more humid means less liquid). Mix together until a dough forms; knead gently to form a smooth ball of dough.

2.  Break off golf-ball sized pieces. Flour your rolling surface and rolling pin. Roll out the piece of dough into a flat disc (about 1/8-inch thick). Place the titiyas on a dry skillet; prick all over with a fork to prevent bubbling during the cooking process.

3.  Pan-fry on a dry skillet over medium-low heat for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until the bottom begins to turn a golden brown; flip over and cook the other side until it turns a nice golden brown. For thicker titiyas, cook over low heat for 4-5 minutes on each side; the titiyas is done when you gently press down on the center and it feels somewhat firm to the touch.

4.  Place cooked titiyas on a plate covered with a clean kitchen towel to keep warm. Serve with my delicious chicken kelaguen. Enjoy!

Chicken Chalakiles

Chicken Chalakiles is one of my favorite Chamorro comfort foods. It’s a soup made with chicken, onions and garlic, thickened with toasted ground rice, and made even more rich with the addition of coconut milk.

Chalakiles can be served as your main dish or as a soup served before your entrée.

I make my Chalakiles the way my mom taught me — with freshly toasted and ground rice. A quick and easy substitute is to use Cream of Rice instead. Toasting rice is easy. Place the rice in a skillet over medium heat. Cook until the rice turns golden brown, stirring constantly to prevent any rice from over-browning (and burning).

Let the rice cool for a few minutes then place in a food processor (I have a mini food chopper/grinder that works well).

Grind the rice into a mixture that looks like cornmeal. A few large pieces of rice is okay; it will add texture to your Chalakiles once cooked. Set the ground rice aside.

Place your chicken into a large soup pot. You can cut the chicken to your desired size. I diced them small here so that we could have more of a soup. My mom would use chicken drummettes or leave the chicken pieces whole if we served this as a meal. She’d make it more on the soupy side as well so that we could also serve this with some steamed rice. Cook the chicken with onions, garlic, coconut oil and black pepper.

Once the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink, add chicken broth (or water and chicken seasoning), achote powder, and the ground toasted rice.

Bring the mixture to a boil; cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes (keep the pot uncovered). Stirring occasionally to prevent the rice from settling and sticking to the bottom of the pot.

This is what the Chalakiles looks like after the rice is done. The mixture is quite thick at this point, but will thin down once you stir in the coconut milk.

Stir in the coconut milk. Cook for another couple of minutes, just long enough to heat up the mixture after adding the milk.  Remove from the heat.

If you want a thinner soup, either add more water or another can of coconut milk. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.

My recipe makes enough for a family of four plus enough leftover for lunch the next day. Serve and ENJOY!

• 2 cups uncooked rice
• 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
• 3 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
• 1 med onion, diced
• 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
• 1 tablespoon coconut oil
• ½ teaspoon black pepper
• 3 tablespoons chicken seasoning*
• 10 cups water*
• 1 packet achote powder
• 1 can (14-oz) coconut milk
• Red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
*Note: You can use chicken broth instead of water; omit the water AND chicken seasoning if using chicken broth.

1.  Place the uncooked rice in a skillet over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes until the rice is evenly browned, stirring occasionally to ensure even browning. Let the toasted rice cool then grind in a food processor until you get the consistency of cornmeal. Set aside.

2.  Place the chicken, onion, garlic, coconut oil and black pepper into a large soup pot. Cook over medium heat until the chicken is no longer pink.

3.  Add the chicken seasoning, water, achote powder and ground rice to the pot. Stir to combine the ingredients then bring the mixture to a boil. Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4.  Stir in the coconut milk; cook for a couple of minutes then remove from the heat.

Chicken Pot Pie Casserole

Chicken pot pie is a favorite in my family. There’s something about the tender chicken, delicious vegetables and cream sauce that makes us happy-happy-happy. My favorite part of chicken pot pies, however, is the crust. Sometimes I go the extra mile and make a homemade crust, but lately I’ve taken to using frozen puff pastry.  You can also substitute the puff pastry with biscuits (find my homemade biscuit recipe here). Just top the filling with cut out biscuit dough and bake as directed below.

Rather than bake up individual pies, I make it casserole-style, baked in a 9×13″ pan and topped with the puff pastry.

Give my recipe a try. I think you’ll like it.

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 3 boneless, skinless chicken
• breasts, cut into chunks
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 1 small bag baby carrots
• 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
• 2 cups sliced mushrooms
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 2 cups water
• 2 tablespoons
• powdered chicken seasoning (or you can use 3 bouillon cubes)
• 1 small bag frozen peas (about 1 1/2 cups)
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
• 2 sheets puff pastry
• 2 egg whites

1. Place a large pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and chicken to the pot. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink. Remove the chicken from the pot; set aside.

2. In the same pot used to cook the chicken, add the onions, carrots and garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent.

3. Add the mushrooms to the pot; cook until the mushrooms begin to soften.

4. Add the chicken back into the pot.

5. Stir in the flour.

6. Mix the water with the chicken seasoning then pour into the pot (or you can just add the seasoning or bouillon to the pot and pour in the water). Stir the chicken mixture as you pour the water into the pot to prevent clumping.

7. Add the half-and-half. Stir to combine the ingredients.

8. Cook for 15 minutes or until the mixture slightly thickens.

9. Add the peas to the pot.

NOTE: We forgot to add the peas when we made this last night (oops!), but this is the step where you’d do so. :)
Add the black pepper.  Taste and adjust the seasonings. If you like it more salty, add more chicken seasoning.

10. Pour the chicken mixture into a 9X13 pan.

11. Top the chicken mixture with the puff pastry sheets. Cut off any excess puff pastry.

12. Lightly beat the egg whites. Brush the top of the puff pastry with the beaten egg whites.

13. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the puff pastry is golden brown (I baked this for a few more minutes so that the puff pastry was a deeper golden brown than what’s shown in the photo below.)

14. Let the pot pie cool for about 5 minutes before cutting.

Serve and ENJOY!

Annie's Chamorro Kitchen website

Subscribe to our Stripes Pacific newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, cultural information, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!

Follow us on social media!

Facebook: Stars and Stripes Pacific
Flipboard: Stars and Stripes Community Sites

Looking to travel while stationed abroad? Check out our other Pacific community sites!
Stripes Japan
Stripes Okinawa
Stripes Korea


Related Content

Recommended Content

Around the Web