Thursday, March 7, 2013

Finadene Recipe

Just like any good Chamorro meal, no blog about Guam would be complete without talking about Finadene. How to describe it... Some web-based recipe sites call Finadene a 'hot sauce' while others call Finadene a condiment. The only thing I know is that I love it and wonder what did I ever do without it. Now days our meals are almost never without it.

Essentially Finadene (also fina dene) is a salty/sour and spicy all-purpose condiment and/or marinade, and while there are several different varieties Finadene is made of soy sauce, lemon juice or vinegar, chopped onions and chili.

Now like with so many culturally significant recipes, local ingredients make the dish the best, living so far away from Guam and with somewhat limited resources, one must make do with what is available.

Finadene is often eaten over rice, pork, chicken, fish, vegetables... about the only things I haven't poured it over is icecream but don't believe that I haven't considered it.

What you will need:
  • Soy Sauce, AND
  • Vinegar, OR - White vinegar or apple vinegar. Apple vinegar gives your Finadene a really great flavor. Coconut vinegar is good if you can find it and best when you're eating fish.
  • Calamansi, a locally grown citris fruit on Guam. I've never been able to find calamansi in my local grocer store but have found frozen calamansi juice in the neighborhood Asian market, OR,
  • Lemons are a good and readily available alternative (no limes), even lemon powder will do in a pinch
  • Onions - We usually use yellow or especially green onion, AND
  • Chili - Boonie Peppers (donie sali) are the best but again, fresh peppers are not readily available in the Rocky Mountains but Thai peppers are a suitable alternative and in a pinch, dried and crushed red pepper will work. One word of caution, habanero peppers, while hot give Finadene an odd taste and should be avoided.

What to do:
Like most of my recipes, measurements can be somewhat relative and I always adjust to taste. Keep in mind that with Finadene, your finished dish should not be too salty or too sour and how spicy you want it is up to your own taste.

First chop your onion. The onion should be chopped, not minced and you'll need about a third to half a cup.

Second, if you're using Thai Pepers, roast them first. I use the stove but sometimes use a small flame. Other chilis can be roasted too. Roasting the pepers gives a good flavor to the finished dish.

Crushing the peppers will yield the most flavor and heat. 
If you've never seen Boonie Peppers, they are very small and very hot. I was able to bring some back home with me from my last trip home and keep them in the freezer. For dried and crushed red pepper, you will need about a teaspoon full, more or less depending on your heat tollerance.

Third, sqeeze one or two lemons and pour into the bowl holding your chopped onions. Drop your peppers in and using a fork, squeeze the chili and onions to get the most flavor out of them.

If  you're not using calamansi or lemon, use white or apple vinegar. Start off with a third cup or so. 

Fourth, pour in the Soy Sauce. Now comes the question of how much. The best way to describe it is, pour in the soy sauce a little at a time, mixing as you pour until the mixture is the color of a good cup of coffee. Then taste. If your Finadene is too salty, pour in more lemon juice or vinegar. If your Finadene is too sour, pour in more Soy Sauce. Again, it is mixed to taste. Exact measurements of your ingredients are not important and the best way to make Finadene is to taste and adjust as necessary to your liking. It is important to keep trying until you get it right. As I have mentioned before, I am Chamorro by marriage but so far everyone who has tasted my Finadene say that it is really good.  
Now the dark Finadene is usually best served with pork, chicken, venison, elk or beef. For fish, use the same basic recipe of onions, pepper and vinegar but instead of using Soy Sauce, use regular table salt.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.