Pechanga Celebrates International Women’s Day & Women’s History Month With Culinary Excellence

March 8 marks International Women’s Day across the globe. It celebrates women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. The day also encourages action in accelerating women’s equality.

At Pechanga, there are many women in culinary leadership roles. Over the course of March as Women’s History Month, we will feature several women in culinary leadership roles and some of their favorite recipes. Check back here for the latest additions to the blog post.

pastry chef anna gedzul

See if you can recreate Chef Anna Gedzul’s Gorishki recipe. A favorite of hers growing up, these Walnut-shaped cookies are small but sweet and perfect during the holidays or any special occasion.

Gorishki ingredients  

200 grams melted butter

2 whole eggs

150 grams sugar

2 grams salt

5 grams vanilla

3 grams baking soda

9 grams lemon juice or vinegar

455 grams all-purpose flour

Vegetable Oil for greasing the mold

Walnuts as needed

2 small cans dolce de leche


  1. Melt the butter in the microwave
  2. Combine the eggs, vanilla, sugar, and salt in a bowl and give it a whisk
  3. Activate baking soda with lemon juice and add it to the eggs
  4. Pour melted butter into the egg mixture and continue whisking until smooth
  5. Start adding the flour while whisking. Stop about halfway and turn the dough onto the table and sprinkle the rest of the flour on top.
  6. Knead the dough by hand for approx. 3 minutes, until the flour gets absorbed into the dough. No need to overwork the dough. It will be soft and pliable but not sticky.
  7. Cover and put away to rest for 5 minutes.
  8. Once rested, start scooping the dough with 1/2 teaspoon.
  9. Roll each piece into a ball.
  10. Preheat the walnut cookie mold over the stove top on medium heat for about 5 minutes. The mold has to be heated well.
  11. Lightly spray the preheated mold with vegetable oil and place balls into each cavity. Close the mold.
  12. Bake the cookies in the mold for 1 ½ min on one side over medium low heat, flip and cook for another 1 minute. The mold has to stay firmly closed for the first 1 ½ min to ensure the shell comes out hollow.
  13. To fill the shells, transfer the caramel filling into a piping bag and cut the tip small. Fill one side of the shell with a small amount of caramel and place walnut inside it. Fill the other half with caramel only and glue two halves together. Tip: shells can be filled with a spoon as well.
  14. The cookies can be stored in the fridge for up to a month in an airtight container or even longer if put in the freezer.
  15. Enjoy!

Caramel Filling (dolce de leche)

2 cans condensed milk


  1. Fill a pot with water and place the condensed milk cans inside the pot, making sure they are fully submerged. Important tip: peel off the label before putting the cans in water.
  2. Bring the water to a boil.
  3. Lower the heat and boil the cans for about 4 hours.
  4. Keep refilling the pot with water as needed.
  5. After 4 hours, turn off the heat and let the cans cool down in the water.
  6. Once cooled, open the cans and transfer the contents into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 1 month.

Chef De Cuisine Marie Surakul

A favorite during Lunar New Year, try out Chef Marie Surakul’s recipe for golden bags. With full flavor and fun presentation, these golden bags make the perfect party snack to impress family and friends.

“Golden Bag” Ingredients:                                                  

1/2 cup Ground chicken

20 sheets spring roll wrapper

3-4 garlic cloves (peeled)

2 tablespoons cilantro stems

1/4 cup cubed sweet potato (1/4” cubes)

2 cups water

3 chopped shitake mushrooms

1/4 cup carrot julienned

1/4 cup green peas

1 teaspoon oyster sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/4 tsp black pepper

Pinch of salt

20 chive scrapes

5 tablespoon vegetable oil

Thai Sweet Chili Sauce Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 Tbsp. salt

1 1/4 cups vinegar

1/2 – 3/4 cup ground garlic chili

1/4 cup chopped garlic

Directions for Golden Bags
Combine oyster sauce, sugar, black pepper and cornstarch in a bowl. Stir until well combined and set aside. In food processor, add ground chicken, garlic, cilantro stems and 2 tbsp. of the just-mixed sauce. Blend together. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Blanch the sweet potato cubes for 15 to 20 seconds. Remove from the water and put in a colander to drain. Transfer sweet potatoes & chicken mixture to a large mixing bowl and add shitake mushrooms, carrots, peas with the rest of the initially mixed sauce. Stir together well. Cover and keep refrigerated for 1 hour.

Bring water from sweet potatoes to a boil again, or boil a fresh 2 cups of water add pinch of salt. Get a bowl of ice water ready. Put chives in boiling water for only a few seconds. Then remove them and immediately submerge them in the ice bath. Dry them off to remove excess water and set chives aside.

After the mix has rested and cooled for 1 hour, lay out spring roll wrappers on a baking sheet for easy assembly. Put 1 & ½ tsp. to 1 Tbsp. of chicken mixture in the middle of wrapper. Grab the edges of the wrapper together at the top like a bag and tie one chive strand around it twice. Cut off excess chive if it’s too long. Continue until all wrappers are filled and tied. Fry in hot oil at 350F until golden brown.  Remove “bag” from the oil and set on cooling rack for a couple minutes to remove all the oil. Serve with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce.

Directions for Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Place all ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Boil on med-high for 15 minutes. Allow to cool down before serving.

Chef De Cuisine Amanda Colello

Chef Amanda Colello has grown a wealth of culinary knowledge from a career that ranges from coast to coast. Amanda’s mushroom risotto was a staple meal growing up and loves to offer guests a taste of the same homemade Italian cuisine.

Mushroom Risotto

1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 cup white or yellow onion, small dice

2 cups Arborio rice

2 cups white wine (any kind)

4 quarts low sodium chicken stock

4 cups sliced mushrooms of your choice

2 cups grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons chives, chopped finely

1 teaspoon dry parsley

Kosher Salt and black pepper to taste


  1. In a medium sauté pan or sauce pan add in 3 TB extra virgin olive oil. Heat over medium heat until oil begins to ripple.
  2. Add in onions and 1/4 teaspoons of salt and stir together until all of the onions are coated with the oil. Cook over medium low heat until the onions become translucent.
  3. Once Translucent, add in the Arborio rice. Coat with the oil/onion mixture until all of the rice is coated with oil. The rice will begin to appear translucent. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Over medium heat, add in the white wine and stir together. Cook the rice and onions in the wine until the rice appears dry.
  5. Once dry looking, begin to add in chicken stock to cover the rice.
  6. Cook the rice in the stock, stirring frequently for 20 minutes. Each time the rice appears dry, add in more chicken stock.
  7. In a separate sauté pan add in 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Heat over medium heat until oil begins to ripple.
  8. Add in the mushrooms and begin to sauté until golden brown. Remove from heat, season, and set to the side.
  9. After 20 minutes, taste the rice. If it is still crunchy you will have to add in more chicken stock and continue with steps 5&6 until the rice is no longer crunchy.
  10. Once the above texture is achieved, and most of the chicken stock is cooked out, begin to add in your cooked mushrooms and parmesan cheese.
  11. Once incorporated, adjust the texture of the rice mixture with chicken stock until it appears to resemble loose oatmeal.
  12. Add in the unsalted butter, chives, parsley and incorporate.
  13. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Plate and Enjoy!

Executive Sous Chef Marlene Moore

Chef Marlene Moore is no stranger to flavor, apparent by her famous Trinidad Curry Chicken. Moore’s recipe is a fiery dish that embodies her love of bold flavors and Trinidadian heritage. Try your hand at making this flavorful recipe and see if you can handle the heat!

Trinidad Curry Chicken and Potatoes
Served over steamed rice

1/2 diced green bell pepper

1/2 diced red bell pepper

1/2 diced onion

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup diced celery

2 diced tomato

2 pimento peppers

1 scotch bonnet pepper

1 habanero pepper

2 cloves minced garlic
1 whole Chicken or any bone-in skinless chicken.


Slice chicken into desired size and add to a clean bowl. Add 1/2 diced green, 1/2 red bell peppers, 1/2 diced onions, 1 cup diced carrots, 1 cup diced celery, 2 diced tomatoes, 2 pimentos, 1 scotch bonnet, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and 1 habanero to your cut-up chicken in a bowl. Add 6 tablespoons of curry powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper to the cut-up chicken in the bowl.

In a separate small bowl, dice up 6 potatoes and set to the side. Place a medium bottom pot on medium heat, add oil, 4 garlic clove and curry paste, sautéing for 1 minute. Fry until the curry deepens in color slightly and smells aromatic. The oil should start visibly separating.

Add your marinated chicken and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Once it starts browning, turn your heat down to low-medium.  Add 2 cups of water and let simmer, stirring periodically. After 5-8 minutes, it will thicken and reduce. Cover with your lid and let simmer for 15 minutes.

Add your diced potatoes, stir to make sure it is not burning and let summer for an additional 10 minutes. Check at the 5-minute mark to make sure it is not burning. Pour 2-3 cups of water over your chicken, cover and let cook for an additional 15-20 minutes until your chicken is cooked and potatoes are tender and can be easily pierced.

Uncover and let simmer for an additional 10 minutes to thicken your curry. If there is too much water, you may have to simmer for longer to thicken curry, if there is too little water, add water as necessary to prevent burning. Cook to desired consistency. Be mindful that it will thicken further when it is cooled.

Serve with your favorite rice and enjoy!