What in the world is gollai hågun suni?!
Well, it is a local dish that comes from the island of Guam – a tiny US territory located in the vast Pacific Ocean. Quick history: the indigenous people (“Chamorros”) inhabited the island for over a thousand years before Ferdinand Magellan landed on the island and declared it a Spanish colony in 1521. The inhabitants of the island generally relied fish and farm for food because livestock animals were not introduced until after the Spanish colonization.
Back to the dish at hand. Traditionally, gollai hågun suni is prepared with nutritious taro leaves stewed in freshly squeezed coconut milk, but let’s face it: not everyone has time to squeeze the living daylight out of freshly grated coconut. Canned coconut milk does well in this recipe and you can choose the lighter options if watching calorie intake. In addition, fresh or frozen spinach is a great substitute when taro leaves are not available.
From the nutritional perspective, taro leaves are a good source of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, A, C, phosphorus, calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, and fiber. In addition, the medium-chain saturated fats in coconut milk help to make the dish more filling – which was beneficial for the active lifestyle of the typical islander back in the day.
4 cups water
2 pounds of taro leaves (can substitute fresh or frozen spinach)
1 ten ounce can of coconut milk
2 pieces of ginger (each about 1 inch long)
½ teaspoon each of salt and black pepper
What you gotta do:
- Boil the water in a pan that can hold about four quarts. Save time by chopping the taro leaves, grating the ginger, and dicing the onion while waiting for the water to boil.
- One the water is boiling, add the leaves, ginger, onion, salt, and black pepper. Cook for about five minutes.
- Add the coconut milk and let simmer uncovered for three to five minutes (depending on how “soupy” you like it).
Tips: If you like it spicy, feel free to add in some hot peppers! Also, many people enjoy adding a squeeze of lemon or sprinkle of lemon powder into the stew.
I hope you enjoy a little taste of the tropics! :)
Per serving: 231kcal, 17g carbohydrates, 16g fat, 9g protein, 260g salt, 8g sugar