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Aruba and Curacao's National Dish: Keshi Yena Recipe

Keshi Yena is a popular dish in both Aruba and Curacao, and while there are some similarities in the preparation of the dish, there are also some differences.


In Aruba, Keshi Yena is typically made with a combination of Dutch and Caribbean ingredients such as chicken, raisins, olives, capers, tomatoes, and onions. The dish is often baked in the oven and served with rice or potatoes. Some variations of the dish may also include shrimp or beef.


In Curacao, Keshi Yena is traditionally made with a mixture of spiced ground beef, chicken, or goat meat, along with raisins, olives, capers, onions, and peppers. The filling is then wrapped in Edam cheese and baked in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly. The dish is often served with rice and beans or plantains.


So while both Aruba and Curacao's versions of Keshi Yena share some common ingredients, the preparation and presentation of the dish can vary between the two islands.


Here are the recipes for Keshi Yena from Aruba and Curacao:


Aruban Keshi Yena Recipe:


Aruban Keshi Yena

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound chicken breast, diced

  • 2 cups cooked rice

  • 1 cup shredded Gouda cheese

  • 1/2 cup raisins

  • 1/4 cup sliced green olives

  • 1/4 cup capers

  • 1/4 cup chopped onion

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tomato, diced

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste


Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and sauté onions and garlic until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

  3. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink.

  4. Add raisins, olives, capers, and tomato and stir to combine.

  5. Add cooked rice and mix everything together.

  6. Grease a baking dish with butter or oil.

  7. Spread half of the rice mixture into the bottom of the baking dish.

  8. Sprinkle half of the shredded cheese on top of the rice mixture.

  9. Spread the remaining rice mixture over the cheese.

  10. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.

  11. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

  12. Serve hot with additional toppings if desired.



Curacaoan Keshi Yena Recipe:

Curacaoan Keshi Yena

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion

  • 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/4 cup raisins

  • 1/4 cup sliced green olives

  • 1/4 cup capers

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 pound Edam cheese, sliced

  • 1 tablespoon butter


Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef until no longer pink.

  3. Add onions, green pepper, and garlic and cook until vegetables are tender.

  4. Add raisins, olives, capers, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper and mix everything together.

  5. Grease a baking dish with butter or oil.

  6. Layer half of the cheese slices over the bottom of the dish.

  7. Spoon the meat mixture over the cheese slices.

  8. Cover the meat mixture with the remaining cheese slices.

  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

  10. Serve hot with rice and beans or plantains.



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