Saturday, May 14, 2011

BBQ steak, chicken kelaguen and potato salad at the Firehouse..

Every fireman knows that the firehouse or fire station as we refer to it on Guam, is our home away from home. Aside from responding to emergencies and conducting non-emergency public services and fire inspections, we keep the station in good repair, train and yes....we even cook our own meals. We are known country wide as good cooks. Heaven knows we get a lot of practice. If a newbie doesn't know how to cook when they first get hired on, believe me, they will learn. Everyone takes their turn in the kitchen.

On Guam, the firefighters are jockeying for the cooking duties. Well on this day we decided that we would BBQ for dinner. On the menu was BBQ'd beef steak, chicken kelaguen and potato salad. Now I'm sure most of you that are not from Guam are probably wondering what in the world is "chicken kelaguen"? Well I can tell you don't want to miss out on trying this dish.

Chicken kelaguen is a local favorite. It consists of  BBQ'd chicken that is cooked to about 3/4 done, de-boned and diced up, mixed in with thinly sliced yellow or white onions, diced green onions, hot pepper to taste as well as salt and mixed in with freshly squeezed lemon juice. The lemon juice finishes off the cooking of the chicken similar to ceviche. Once the lemon and salt are just right, the chicken sampling is just about unstoppable. Add in your favorite ice cold "cocktail" and forget about it. 

Here are the steps to making chicken kelaguen:

 First if all you can use whole chicken or pieces. We typically use whole chicken and then de-bone the chicken after it is BBQ'd. But here we already had chicken thighs on hand and Chef "Richard" de-boned the thighs ahead of time.

The next thing you do is grill the chicken until it is about 3/4 cook over medium to high heat. High heat really locks in the flavor but it has to be constantly turned. Here are the Grill Masters themselves, Jeff Soriano and Jess Acfalle. BTW, you needn't marinade or season the chicken. Grill it naked.

Here is a closer look at the chicken being grilled.

While the two grill masters are taking care of the chicken, Chef Richard is squeezing the lemon juice out of the freshly picked Calimansi lemons.

The strainer is catching all the seeds as each lemon is being squeezed.

Chef Richard slices up the hot peppers. He has already sliced up the yellow onions and has diced up the green onions. You can see the lemon juice in the white bowl.

Once the chicken is cooked to spec, Richard then cuts the chicken up into small pieces.

Here is a close up of the cutting.

The following step is to dice up the chicken pieces into the right size. Usually about 1/8 to 1/4 inch pieces.

Then the prepared hot pepper, onions and lemon juice are poured in and mix thoroughly.

The mixture is tasted and if it needs a little more tartness you can add more lemon or in this case lemon powder. You will also salt the mixture down until it is slightly salty but not overpowering. The saltiness and lemon levels should blend in with each other and balance the mixture out. 

You will know when it is right because when you taste it the flavor just "pops" and you will just know as you go looking for your beer.

Now let us move over to the steak.

The steak is first marinaded in the traditional Guam marinade. Click here for the recipe:

 The grill masters Jeff and Jess are taking care of business.

 The steak is well under control on the grill.

The steak has been grilled perfect. We like it medium to medium rare and very juicy. The steak is cut into 1/2 inch thick by about 2 inch long strips.

The next step is to put all the sliced meat into a container.

The lemon finadene is then made and poured over the steak. Click here for the lemon finadene recipe: 

The "Pouring".

The finished product!!!

And last but not least is the potato salad by Chef Richard. He can really dress it up. Tale a look: 

Our dinner table spread.

The plate but without the white rice.

It was another great meal to end the day. Well, the day was almost ended. We still had to respond to a few emergencies because "that's what we do."

Until next time....


cowgirl said...

Oh wow! That looks and sounds so good Rueben! I can't wait to try the both the steak and chicken recipes..
The potato salad looks killer too!
My "must try" list is getting longer and longer thanks to you. :)
Hat's off to all of you at the station. You are definately master chefs!

Rueben said...

Well Cowgirl, I can't say I feel sorry for you regarding the "must try" list. Mine already is off the chart thanks to all the great recipes you have posted. Oh well, such is life. I can think of worse things. I love it!!!!

Dee said...

This is my husbands fav dish,his fam only makes it during holidays I want to surprise him and learn to make it but dont know if I could live up to the family recipe. After browsing around this is the test recipe I found that some people add coconut milk and meat to it. I want to achieve the best tasting version of this dish, would u say its wise to combine recipes? Also some recipes recommend broiling the chicken in finadene sauce what do u think? Thanks in advance for the tip. God bless

Rueben said...

Dee, I want to welcome you to my BBQ Guam site. It is a pleasure to have you aboard.

Now for the chicken kelaguen, for the best flavor always BBQ the chicken. You can never beat that BBQ flavor. That is the traditional way. They didn't have fancy stoves back in the old days here on Guam. Everything was cooked over a wood fire. But if you can't BBQ for whatever reason, then go ahead and bake or broil it.

Now about coconut. Some folks use it others don't. It is a matter of personal preference. I don't use it. But not to discourage you, I would make the chicken kelaguen without it, split the kelaguen into two portions and add the grated coconut to one of the portions and see which one everyone likes. Then you can make your favorite one in the future.

Hope this helps you out. Enjoy!! Either way, chicken kelaguen is a fantastic dish.

-Rueben- (:{

Unknown said...

Holy Cow!
Your recipes look awesome!! I can't wait to try them!!