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Gollai Hågon Spinach
...creamy green goodness!



This is not a dish I ate as a kid on Guam, but as an adult, omg, it’s the best way to eat spinach. More commonly on the islands, this is made with taro leaves and called gollai hågon suni. You’d be hard pressed to find taro leaves in the states, but spinach is a delish alternative. Try other greens if you’d like. I’ve mixed in a lone bag of frozen kale, and while it’s good, I didn’t like the hard stems of the kale. Collards might be good too, sans hard stems.

I made Chamorro corn titiyas, cut it into wedges, pan fried the wedges in coconut oil to crisp. Once removed from the oil, sprinkled some salt then topped with gollai hågon spinach, I’m telling you!! The bottom of the tortilla softened as it cooled but the top was crispy, talk about good and good for you.


Set 1

32 ounces frozen, chopped spinach

Set 2

2 tablespoons coconut oil or your choice of oil

½ cup diced yellow onions

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoon freshly grated turmeric (3 skinned pieces about 1 inch long and ½ inch wide), or ½ teaspoon ground turmeric

Set 3

3 cans thick coconut milk

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 ½ teaspoons regular salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Hot pepper or donne’

Tools: colander, microplane grater or good knife, large pot, rubber spatula or wooden spoon


Thaw the spinach then grab a handful and squeeze over a colander. Don’t make it bone dry but drain most of the water. Set aside and repeat to drain the remaining spinach. Collect bits in the colander and add to the stash. Set aside.

Skin the fresh turmeric by cutting the skin away with a knife. Carefully grate on a microplaner or mince with a knife. Consider skinning all the turmeric you have as you can freeze them. Frozen turmeric grates easily too.

In a medium pot, melt coconut oil on medium heat. Sautee onions till soft. Add garlic and sautee for one minute. Add grated turmeric or ground turmeric. Sautee another minute.

Pour two cans of thick coconut milk into the pot. For the third can, if the cream solidified, poke a hole through the cream then drain the water into the sink. Pour the cream into the pot. Stir with a whisk to dissolve the cream.

Add the spinach, salt, black pepper, and lemon. Stir to combine.

Taste. It should be more tart than salty, but oh so creamy delicious. Add hot pepper to taste. Heat through.

Once cooled, store in fridge overnight to get cold. May be frozen in smaller portions. When ready to eat, thaw then taste again. Add a bit of salt or lemon if needed. Reheat. 

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Effective March 2021, PaulaQ will begin replacing Canola and vegetable/seed oils in recipes with pure lard from Reverence Farm, coconut oil, and avocado oil. 



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© Copyright Paula Quinene. Check out Guam cookbooks and Chamorro cookbooks, A Taste of Guam and Remember Guam, for more Guamanian recipes and Chamorro recipes that are tested, tried and true. Get Macarons Math, Science, and Art, for foolproof macaron recipes and techniques. Enjoy a Guam romance novel in Conquered. Most photos courtesy Paula and Edward Quinene.