Today I want to share a family staple with you: finadene. This ‘condiment’ is a staple of Guam, my island home. We Guamanians serve this with every meal… and it is PERFECT for giving some kick and flavor to whatever you may be eating. Pour some of this over meats, fish, eggs, rice – I even use it as a dressing for my spinach salad and my roasted veggies (once they are roasted).
Finadene is made with four simple ingredients: soy sauce, lemon juice, onions and chili peppers. The best (and most authentic way) to make finadene is with Calamansi Lemons. Sometimes they are referred to as Calamansi limes, Chinese oranges, or just kalamansi. They are native of Southeast Asia, but it seems they’re even being grown in California these days! So, keep an eye out for them. They are tiny little things that pack a real sour punch. (Here’s some photos and a good little article on Calamansi from ‘The Kitchn“.)
(I get Calamansi when I can, but most of the time I just have regular lemons on hand. So, the finadene recipe I’m sharing with you is for regular lemons.)
One more thing to note: every Chamorro has a slightly different version of finadene… but, this one is our finadene staple. A true taste of my home:
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup Kikkoman soy sauce (Yes, Kikkoman. Believe it or not, there is a huge difference in soy sauce taste – and Kikkoman is, hands down, the best)
1/4 cup diced white onion
fresh red chili peppers to taste (look for small, bright red Thai chili peppers)
OPTIONAL: You can also add diced green onions and cherry tomatoes into the finadene. (The best tomatoes will be garden fresh, tiny, and really juicy – otherwise, I’d just skip the tomatoes.) You can also do 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 lemon juice.
- Squeeze your lemon juice into a bowl. Be sure not to keep out the pulp – the lemon pulp is a must!
- Place your chilies on a non-pourous flat plate (so no wooden cutting boards!) and smash with the back of a fork as thoroughly as possible. (You can also use a mortar and pestle if you have one.) Pour a little of the lemon juice onto the plate so that all the flavor is captured. Pour the chili and lemon juice back into your bowl.
- Add your Kikkoman soy sauce and diced onions (and tomatoes if you’re using them).
That’s it! It’s great served fresh, but it gets even better after a couple days.
Yum. Now I’m gonna go pull out some of our BBQ from last night and have a little snack…