a staple at guam fiestas and on party plates is red rice. it is most likely a bastardization of paella, the saffron-tinted rice dish from spain. saffron threads are from the stamen of the crocus sativa which is indigenous to western asia, but is not found on guam. its substitute is achote, or annatto seed, which is found in the pods delightfully named bixa orellana, a shrub originally from the carribbean but transplanted on the islands during the spanish exploration days. achote does not have a noticeable flavour, but when the seeds are soaked in water, it imparts a distinctive orange-red dye, which is essential to the dish.
for this recipe, prepare 3 cups of short grained rice for cooking in a rice cooker. set aside.
sautée one finely chopped medium yellow onion (or half a large one), with 6 to 8 slices of smoky streaky bacon, chopped finely (i cut this bacon rather chunkily, by request). drain off any excess oil, and add this to the rice pot. for a vegetarian version, add a little more onion, and a little hickory or kiawe liquid smoke, if desired.
achote comes in seed form, which must be soaked, but also comes in more convenient powder or liquid forms. i use powder, which can be found in many latino food shops as annatto or achiote. i add one scant tablespoon of the powder for every cup of rice cooked, but adjust it according to your colour preference--i like mine to be more orange, while others prefer a deeper, almost paprika-hued red. close the lid to your cooker, and cook as regular rice.
mix the rice through to distribute the onions and bacon and it's done!