Hafa Adai, Friends! Hafa Adai is the warm welcome greeting from my beloved island of Guam. Si Yu’us Ma’ase/ Thank you to all my friends and family members who reached out to my mother and I during this past week. It means so much to us. We are delighted that our beloved island has been spared. As a thank you, I wanted to share with you a very special and easy recipe for Titiyas or Tiyas (TEE-jus) as my family calls it- a delicious flatbread. You will find it printed here along with an excerpt from my book Dee’s Dishes. Read on for more information about Guam and her people.
Where in the World is Guam, Anyway? a blog post written by my dad!
Keep Calm, Guam. An interview with Korean expert and BBC notable Robert E. Kelly.
My Guam Journals – posts and pics from my family’s vacation in Guam two years ago.
MY GIFT TO YOU: An excerpt from my book Dee’s Dishes- Available on Amazon in print and on Kindle. Stories and Recipes including more about Guam, including the Chicken Kelaguen recipe mentioned in many of the above links.
Remembering Grandma Santos
I was so fortunate to have my grandma living with us when I was a young girl. I loved her then, and I have even greater respect and admiration for her now. She was with us for all of our special occasions. She let my beloved cat cuddle near her, even though she wasn’t particularly fond of cats. She was so warm, and genuinely loving, as my relatives from Guam are. She always made sure to snuggle and hug my sister and I when it was the other sister’s birthday. And she could fry Vienna sausage like no one else.
I cannot even imagine the hardships she endured, growing up on Guam in the early twentieth century. Her island was captured by Japan during World War II happened, and her family was forced to march between villages along with the other native islanders. Her young son became separated from her during the march, and wasn’t reunited with the family for a day. Can you even imagine?
She sure made me feel special and loved, and I know she did the same for her other twenty-six grandchildren. She walked us to the park at the top of the hill so we could play on the playground. She wore a lace shawl over her head, reminiscent of how Catholic women had to cover their hair in church in pre-Vatican II times. I still remember the shiny black patent leather Mary Jane’s with the big fat buckle that she gave me one year. (Maybe that’s why I have always loved Mary Janes!)
Sometimes when I find a food truck now I will ask them to prepare a meal that I remember my grandma cooking for us. It is basically eggs and rice, with fried Vienna sausage. Then I douse it with soy sauce. (You know you are an Asian Pacific Islander if you keep a bottle of soy sauce in your desk at work!) The likes and loves start pouring in when I post a picture of my meal on Facebook or Instagram! Many of my family, friends, and followers remember this comfort meal.
I remember the Tejas that Grandma cooked for us. Tejas is short for Titiyas, the traditional flatbread. I remember watching her making this in our home, when I was growing up. She’d give me a little of the dough and I could make my own tiny tejas. If I concentrate on the memory, I can almost smell her presence — Rose Milk hand lotion and Cheerios. It’s wonderful to now watch my own children make tejas with my mom.
I miss you, Grandma.
Flatbread from Guam
(pronounced tih-TEE-jus or TEE-jus for short.)
My grandmother would make this from memory, without ever measuring. My mom studied her process and came up with these measurements.
1 cube butter
½ cup sugar
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup milk (or coconut milk, per my mom)
Cream butter and sugar.
In the same bowl, pour in the flower and baking powder.
Stir just the top dry ingredients, before mixing all together with the milk.
Mix until contents form a ball.
Separate into five balls.
Flatten each ball and roll between two sheets of waxed paper with rolling pin.
Cook on griddle one to two minutes each side.
There is no need to use oil/spray on the pan because of the butter.
Makes five large tejas.
Great with cheese and ham. (Even spam.)
I hope you enjoyed reading. Let me know if you have tried Tiyas!