Named for the Sound of Chopping Meat

Mama Sauce spent two enchanted childhood years in Guam and loved its food.

We nabbed this interesting yet simple recipe from allrecipes.com and thank them sincerely. Guamanian legend holds that this dish was named for the sound of a cook preparing the meat, but we’re using ground beef, so no chopping sounds if you strictly follow the recipe.


Serves 4


1 pound ground beef
2 TBSP olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup green onions
¼ cup soy sauce, divided
1 lemon, juiced, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cube beef bouillon
½ tsp ground pepper
1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, sliced
1 cup 1” green bean lengths
1 (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk
1 hot red chile pepper
(donne’sali), chopped (or substitute available hot pepper of your choice), as a condiment

Place beef in a large skillet over medium heat; cook and stir until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess grease.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, tomatoes, green onions, 3 TBSP soy sauce, 1/2 the lemon juice, garlic, beef bouillon, and black pepper. Cook and stir until flavors combine, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in water chestnuts and green beans; cook and stir until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir drained ground beef, remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and lemon juice into the skillet. Pour in coconut milk slowly; add chile pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer until coconut milk is heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Substitute the donne’sali with another hot chile pepper if preferred.

A nostalgic note

Donne’sali is nicknamed the “bonnie pepper” in the linked article. Mama Sauce remembers it as the “boonie pepper,” because the wild parts of the islands were called “the boonies,” at least by Mainland people. Donne’sali is the hotter of the two peppers that grew wild on Guam in the 1950s – hotter than my 10-year-old self could tolerate!