June 15, 2024


Food & Travel Enthusiast

Rooster Kelaguen Recipe | Saveur

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A traditional CHamoru staple that’s common on Guam, rooster kelaguen (in CHamoru, kelaguen månnok) is a dish whose attraction lies in its specialist harmony of familiar flavors: tangy citrus, fiery red chiles, and the creamy ease and comfort of grated coconut. Even though unseasoned, grilled chicken is utilised as the foundation of this recipe from author Larkin Fegurgur Clark, contemplate it an entry issue for experimentation—kelaguen can also be built with other proteins, which includes fish, beef, venison, and even Spam. In this recipe, you may possibly substitute the meat from a whole rotisserie hen for freshly-grilled, retaining in mind that you may perhaps want to adjust the volume of lemon juice and coconut to equilibrium the humidity stage you’ll also eliminate the smokiness that lends the conventional grilled edition it is complexity. 

On Guam, hen for kelaguen is grilled about 80 % of the way, then citrus juice or lemon powder is extra to finish “cooking” the meat to completion, much like fish proteins are denatured in Latin American ceviche. In the interest of food basic safety, Clark suggests grilling the hen until eventually it is thoroughly cooked by means of. And lastly, kelaguen is a dish that Guamanians like to get creative with, often incorporating minced onions or bell peppers experience cost-free to taste-examination and experiment as you go along to make this dish your very own. It can be eaten on its have, or together with heat white rice or titiyas (CHamorru lightly sweetened flour-and-coconut-milk tortillas). When the dish may possibly be served immediately after assembling, its flavors will improve just after a number of hrs or even a day or two in the fridge.

Showcased in: “Finding Comfort—and a Link to My CHamoru Heritage—in Rooster Kelaguen.”

Hen Kelaguen

On the island of Guam, whis lively, adaptable CHamoru dish is a fixture of the spouse and children table.


  • One particular 4½-lb. rooster, slice into 6 parts, skin eliminated
  • 2 tbsp. further-virgin olive oil (optional)
  • 1 cup clean lemon juice
  • ½ cups finely chopped scallions, as well as 1 Tbsp. thinly sliced, for garnish
  • 4 little purple bird’s eye chiles, seeded and minced (1 Tbsp.)
  • 1½–2 cups (6¾–9 oz.) freshly grated or frozen, thawed coconut or substitute dried, grated, unsweetened coconut, moreover additional to flavor
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • White rice or CHamorru titiyas, for serving (optional)


  1. Prepare a charcoal grill to cook more than medium-superior warmth.
  2. Rub the chicken pieces all over with the olive oil then transfer to the grill and prepare dinner, turning occasionally, until eventually evenly charred all in excess of and cooked as a result of, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a cleanse, heatproof dish and set aside to great somewhat.
  3. When the chicken is neat ample to manage, finely shred the meat (you really should have about 5 cups) discard the bones. Transfer the hen to a non-reactive bowl, then stir in the lemon juice, scallions, and chiles to merge. Fold in 1½ cups grated coconut to combine. The hen ought to remain moist and fluffy, neither drowned in marinade nor overladen with coconut. If required, increase more coconut, ¼ at a time and up to 2 cups, to attain the suitable regularity. Year to taste with salt, then transfer to a big serving dish, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 and up to 24 hrs.
  4. Garnish the kelaguen with thinly sliced scallions and serve at home temperature with scorching white rice or with heat Chamorro titiyas, if ideal. Store leftovers for up to 3 times.