Today, we are heading to Micronesia for a traditional chicken kelaguen, a healthy recipe without a drop of oil!
Micronesia is a region of Oceania that consists of 607 islands. Its name is derived from the Greek mikros (micro) and nesos (islands). It is located in the Western Pacific, south-east of the Philippines and west of Polynesia.
After hundreds of years of Spanish, American, Malay and Chinese rule, the majority of the islands of Micronesia are now independent with the exception of Guam, Mariana and Wake which areUnited States territories. Micronesian cuisine therefore varies greatly between the different islands.
What is kelaguen?
Let’s get back to our chicken kelaguen. Kelaguen in Chamorro (native language) is a dish that is prepared by marinating the main ingredient (most commonly chicken, deer, fish or seafood) in lemon juice. The chicken is always grilled whereas the other types of kelaguen are prepared raw and cook for just a few hours only in lemon juice. Freshly grated coconut meat and scallions (green onions) are then added.
Kelaguen is a common dish of Chamorro dinners. At major festivals and rituals, an entire table is devoted to several types of kelaguen. Finadene sauce is made primarily of soy sauce and lemon juice. It is the inevitable accompaniment of kelaguen which is also eaten with tortillas. I used tortillas that I had prepared for my chicken roti 3 weeks ago (they were frozen). In some preparations of raw kelaguen, the marinade is made with finadene sauce.
What can I say about chicken kelaguen other than it is a very simple and delicious recipe? At home, it was so popular on Sunday lunch that they all begged me to make it again on Sunday night. Of course, I refused, I said “later”! So I waited… Not long at all… until the day after. And on Monday night, I made chicken kelaguen again!
- 4 boneless chicken thighs (with skin)
- ½ lb fresh coconut , coarsely grated
- 3 scallions , finely chopped
- 4 red and/or green chili peppers
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- 4 small tortillas , heated on the grill
- Juice of 2 lemons and their zest
- 3 tablespoons white vinegar
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 3 scallions , chopped
- 3 red and/or green hot peppers
- A few cherry tomatoes , sliced
- Marinate the chicken in half the lemon juice and scallion.
- Grill the chicken thighs on the barbecue for about 8 minutes on each side.
- Remove the skin and cut into small pieces.
- Mix with coconut, onions, lemon juice, and chilies.
- Add salt and pepper
- Serve with tortillas.
- 12 hours (or more) before eating the sauce, combine all ingredients and refrigerate.