We have had the pleasure of visiting the Dutch Caribbean Island of Curacao invited by the Curacao Tourist Board. One of our stops, and of course a tour throughout the place, was at the Avila Hotel.  We also had the pleasure of trying the typical local dish, “Keshi Yená”. And of course we will share the recipe with you too.

The Avila Hotel is a luxury beachfront resort, which has received many awards from global travel platforms. It has been in continuous business for over 6 decades, far more than any hotel in Curaçao! Food is more than just Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner. Avila’s restaurants offer a variety of quality, fresh food at every time of the day and night. 

Belle Terrace Restaurant
Avila’s Belle Terrace is a unique open-air location with an exceptional classic atmosphere. Seated underneath the spectacular Flamboyant tree, you do not only taste the delicious dishes but, also the traditional atmosphere of the Avila Hotel. The restaurant features an exquisite à la carte menu with international, Danish and local-island cuisine, as well as a 3-course Chef’s Special dinner menu.

The signature dish at the Belle Terrace is their famous “Keshi Yená”, a typical local dish whose name literally means “stuffed cheese” in the local Papiamentu language.

“Keshi Yena” – recipe –

Frugality was the keynote of island living in earlier times, when provisions had to last from the visit of one sailing ship to the call of another. In this classic recipe the shell of a scooped out Edam (the thin rind remaining after a family had consumed the four pounds of cheese) is filled with spiced meat, then baked in the oven or steamed in the top of a double broiler. For these methods of preparation the red wax must be removed from the empty shell after it has been soaked in hot water. In a more dramatic version the filled Edam, with the red wax intact, is tied in a cheese cloth and suspended in boiling water for twenty minutes. The wax melts away in the hot water, leaving a delicate pink blush on the cheese. Use chicken or beef for the filling.

For the chicken filling, rub with the juice of several limes:
  • 200 grams of chicken breasts
  • 200 grams of chicken thighs
  • Season the breasts and thighs with:
  • Salt & pepper
  • Poultry seasoning
  • Minced onion

Let them stand for several hours. Brown the chicken in three tablespoons of butter, then place it in a heavy kettle 

  • 1 quart water
  • 1 tsb. Salt
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 1 celery stalk with leaves
  • 1 bay leaf, bruised

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for twenty minutes, or just until chicken is tender. Strain and reserve the broth, discarding the vegetables. Debone the chicken and set aside.

Sauté in two tablespoons of butter:
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, minced, or a few drops tabasco sauce
  • Salt and pepper 

Add and stir in well:
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • ¼ cup pimento olives, sliced
  • ½ tablespoon capers
  • ¼ cup of raisins
  • 1 tablespoon  picalilly
  • and the chicken

Simmer until the tomatoes are reduced, about twenty minutes. Remove from the fire and permit the mixture to cool. Generously butter 4 soup cups with butter, cover the sides and bottom with sliced cheese, fill in the mixture and close off with a slice of cheese. Put the soups cups in a put, where the bottom is covered with water, put a lit on the put and let steam for about 15 minutes. 

Bon Appetit!

If you tried it… Let us know! Send us a email with your name and pictures: info@victuals.ccmnv.sr

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