Friday, March 10, 2017


Chamorro Eskabeche

I must admit that, when I was a kid, eskabeche was not one of my favorites and I think most kids feel the same. But, as I grew older, I began to appreciate it more, especially for the veggies.

Chamorro Eskabeche is made from ingredients that can be found locally. Our mañaina were making it long before Payless was opened after World War II.

But some of the ingredients, such as the biringhenas (eggplant) and friholes (beans) and even the repoyo (cabbage) had been brought to Guam by the outside settlers, either from Mexico or the Philippines or both. Thus they all have foreign names and eskabeche, as well, is a foreign name.


Escabeche started in the Mediterranean countries of Europe where they cooked the protein (fish, fowl, pork and even rabbit) in some acid, usually vinegar, and saffron, which gives it the yellow color.

Spaniards brought this recipe wherever they went, but ingredients had to change, depending on the resources of the country.

Apparently, the Moors who ruled over most of Spain from the year 711AD, gradually beaten back by the Spaniards until 1492, brought the recipe to the Spaniards. The original name was al-sikbaj, which morphed into escabeche when said by Spaniards.


Wherever the escabeche recipe changed, one thing stayed the same : there was always some vinegar included in the recipe.

In fact, in Spain, one can get a kind of escabeche in a jar, made up entirely of pickled vegetables. Below is an American brand of vegetable escabeche .

And here are examples of escabeche in other countries :

There are many Chamorro recipe resources on the internet. Here's one that cooks eskabeche in a somewhat different way :

Enjoy! Especially for Lent!

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