Marianas Variety

Last updateSat, 20 Apr 2019 12am







    Friday, April 19, 2019-12:48:21P.M.






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Three takes on Fina’denne’

WHEN it comes to a true staple of Chamorro cuisine like fina’denne’, three recipes don’t even scratch the surface of all the possible versions — and with this versatile dish, even the spelling varies (I use the spelling, but “finadene” seems to be just as common).

You can make this spicy sauce for red meat, poultry, or fish. It can be soy sauce-, vinegar-, or lemon-based. You can whip it up in a heartbeat like my Chamorro co-worker, or you can be an overachiever like Hyatt executive sous chef Zenn Tomokane and add extra ingredients to the traditional recipe. Not sure which fina’denne’ fits your mood? Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

Click to enlarge
Soy Sauce & Lemon Fina’denne’ step 1
Soy Sauce & Lemon Fina’denne’ step 3

Soy Sauce & Lemon Fina’denne’

Step 1: Chop

Chop up about half a cup of onions; equal parts green and yellow. We chopped enough green and yellow onion for both sauces.

Step 2: Squeeze

Squeeze one local lemon’s worth of juice into half a cup of soy sauce.

Step 3: Stir

Add Tinian hot pepper to taste (we used about a tea spoon) and stir in with onions.

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Salt & Lemon Fina’denne’ step 2
Salt & Lemon Fina’denne’ step 3

Salt & Lemon Fina’denne’

Step 1: Chop

Chop up about half a cup of onions; equal parts green and yellow.

Step 2: Squeeze

Squeeze enough local lemons to collect around half a cup of lemon juice.

Step 3: Stir

Stir in two teaspoons of salt, half a teaspoon of MSG, onions, and Tinian hot pepper to taste.

Chef Zenn’s Green Fina’denne’

Chef Zenn makes fina’denne’ his way.

“My inspiration is to take local dishes in a healthy direction,” he told me as he rummaged through the Hyatt’s industrial-size refrigerator, his arm cradling a growing pile of greens. “It all starts with good ingredients — I want people to use local vegetables as much as possible, to support and encourage local farmers.”

Here’s how he does it:

Step 1: Chop

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Chef Zenn’s Green Fina’denne’ ingredients Chef Zenn’s Green Fina’denne’ step 1
Chef Zenn’s Green Fina’denne’ step 2 Chef Zenn’s Green Fina’denne’ step 3
Chef Zenn’s Green Fina’denne’ step 4 Chef Zenn’s Green Fina’denne’ step 5
Chef Zenn’s Green Fina’denne’ step 6 Chef Zenn’s Green Fina’denne’

Chop up yellow onion and the white bottoms of green onions until you have one cup’s worth of the green tops left over. Remove a cup of kangkung or water spinach leaves from stock, putting aside the stocks.

Step 2: Torch

Place the green part of the green onions on a cooking tray and roast them over a charcoal fire. Zenn didn’t have access to a barbecue, so he used a blowtorch.

“That’s why we say you have to be innovative,” he said as he torched the green onions. “Bet you never saw it done this way before.”

Step 3: Blend

Blend kangkung leaves, roasted green onion tops, and one cup of lime juice, until it becomes an even, smoothie-like texture.

Step 4: Sauté

Apply a layer of vegetable oil to the bottom of a deep braising pan, then add chopped yellow and white onion and put on medium-low heat. Allow to caramelize. 

Step 5: Chop again

Chop the leftover stems from the kangkung, a cup and a half’s worth of local green beans, and a green bell pepper.

Step 6: Stir

When the onions become translucent, add three tablespoons of soy sauce and the chopped kangkung stems, green beans and bell pepper. Stir in the blended mixture. Increase heat to medium-high and cover.

Step 7: Finishing touches

Stir in hot pepper and salt to taste.