Nov 14, 2016

Making Tatizas in Saipan

When John and I were in Saipan we learned how to make Tatizas (Chamorro snack made with coconut milk.) Tatizas are popular with the Chamorro people. By the way, the Chamorro people are the indigenous people of the Marianas. The Mariana Islands include Guam, a US territory, and the US Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. Coconut bread is also found in many other places especially in the tropics.  In Jamaica they make a pocket and stuff it with various fillings. In Honduras ladies with a wicker basket filled with coconut bread and rolls are often seen peddling them on the beaches.

The Marianas are an excellent destination and often overlooked by tourists, especially those on the East Coast.  When we visited we bought the least expensive air ticket to Asia and then used our frequent flyer miles to fly to Guam.  From Guam it was a short flight to Saipan; and, from Saipan the flight toTinian is very short. The takeoff for the flight from Saipan to Tinian is longer than the actual flight.  The Marianas are a good choice for those looking
for a relaxing, beach stay.  In fact, it is a favorite honeymoon destination for Japanese and Koreans. There is plenty to keep history buffs busy.  It is thought that the earliest people arrived about 6000 years ago and the islands were critical during WW II.
We enjoyed tatizas while at the Hyatt in Saipan where we learned how to make them by watching the chef as he prepared them.  It is rather easy.
4 cups flour
1⁄2 cup sugar
1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄3 cup shortening 
1can coconut milk

Mix together flour, sugar, and baking powder. Then add shortening to the mix with a fork. Add coconut milk and mix well using your hands. If dough is too dry, add one Tbsp of water at a time until dough is a little moist and holds together enough to make a ball. From the big ball of dough and then make six to eight mini dough balls. Roll out dough balls on a floured board until thin. Place rolled out dough in pan over medium heat (do not add oil or butter to pan) but you can brush with coconut oil if you want for more even browning. A cast iron pan or griddle is preferred. Use a fork to poke out any air bubbles. Brown on both sides. They can be served as is or get creative; they pair well with many things.