You know you’ve eaten at a good restaurant when you get home and can’t stop thinking about the food. This is what happened to me soon after I ate the kelaguen at Booniepepper Grill in Newark. A nondescript Guamanian eatery in an even more nondescript strip mall in Newark, Booniepepper Grill, which will heretofore be known as the notorious BPG, is an unassuming restaurant–loosely termed–that specializes in the kelaguen mannok, a tart/salty/spicy chopped chicken. This flavor profile is just what my palette craves. I think it comes from being raised on a mixture of Thai chili peppers, fish sauce and lemon juice as condiments to everything ranging from crab to fish, and oysters–I’ve always loved that spicy and salty lemony kick in foods.
But at $10 for a serving of kelaguen and red rice, BPG is not cheap, especially when the ingredients are so easily accessible and cheap at that. So when I got home, I looked up everything kelaguen and found that it’s like the ceviche of Guam; even better, it’s a cousin of a native Filipino dish, ‘kilawin’ which uses vinegar not just as a marinade but also to cook various fishes and meats.
So easy this dish, I won’t bother you with step-by-step pictures.
- 1 whole cooked rotisserie chicken, chopped
- *Thai red chills
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (I can’t stress this enough. Do not make the mistake of using the sweetened coconut you normally find in the baked goods aisle.)
- 3/4 – 1 1/2 cups lemon juice
- 1 small onion, diced finely
- 4 stalks green onion, chopped
- salt to taste
*Red chili pepper flakes can be substituted
Quantities listed for the ingredients above can be adjusted to your liking. After awhile, I stopped measuring and just used the force.
- Buy rotisserie chicken from Costco, no need to cook or grill your own. As Marilyn McCoo once said, “One less bell to answer, one less egg to fry.”
- Chop said chicken
- Mix the rest of the ingredients and pour the entire concoction over chicken
- Stir and let marinade coat the chopped chicken pieces
- Let marinated chicken stand for at least an hour and allow all flavors to meld
- Serve with *red rice or regular steamed rice (red rice is better)
* Recipe in next post, stay tuned!
2 thoughts on “Kelaguen in Guam, do as the Guamanians do…”
You are still hilarious…just read your other post on cauliflower rice and had my husband laughing as well! Happy New Year🍾
Sent from my iPhone