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Pastechi, croquettes and cheeseballs.

Bring the Flavours of Aruba to Your Home

Learn how to make some exceptionally flavourful Aruba food favourites!

While times may be a bit uncertain right now, there is one thing I can say with complete confidence: everyone should have a little bit of Aruban flavour in their home.

Whether you’re a long-time loyal visitor (aka an honourary Aruban) waiting for your chance to return on your next Aruban Vacation, or your very first adventure to the One Happy Island has just been postponed, I’m sure you all can use a little bit of the happy island right now.

Aruba's Flag

And if you ask me, there’s no better way to experience the authentic Aruba from home than by using your taste buds.

In this blog post I will highlight some of my favourite (relatively) easy Aruban recipes that you can enjoy with ingredients you might already have at your disposal!

Traditional Aruban breakfast.

1. Aruba’s Famous Pastechi

The pastechi is the quintessential Aruban breakfast food!

It might not be the most nutritious breakfast, but every now and then, especially in times like these, we deserve a little treat. Besides, pastechis are also perfect snacks to enjoy at any time of day.

The delicious bite is made by stuffing a pocket of slightly sweet dough with cheese, beef, chicken, fish, or seasoned vegetables and then deep-frying it to golden-brown perfection.

Pastechis are sold all around Aruba, even in some of our best-rated restaurants, but today, you’re going to learn to make them from your home.

Ingredients

  • 5 cups of flour
  • 5 tbs. of butter (softened)
  • 5 tbs. of shortening (Crisco)
  • 3 tbs. of sugar
  • Salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 to 1.5 cups of cold water
  • Vegetable oil
  • Smoked Gouda cheese, cod fish, tuna, ground beef, shredded chicken, seasoned veggies or any other filling you’d like to experiment with!

Directions

1. Add the flour, butter, shortening, sugar, salt, egg and 1 cup of cold water. Knead the dough until it's no longer sticky. Keep adding water.

2. Create flat thin circles with the dough.

3. Fill each flat circle with Gouda cheese.

4. Fold the circle over & pinch the circle together. Use water to seal if needed.

5. Fry in the oil until golden brown.

Stuffed cheese.

Ingredients:
1 lb. Dutch Gouda, sliced 1 large onion, chopped
4 tbsp. butter
2 cups cooked and diced chicken
8 large green stuffed olives, sliced
¼ cup raisins
1 ½ tbsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. prepared mustard
1⁄2 cup ketchup
1⁄2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
 1 cup cashews, chopped butter

Directions:
Butter a deep 10-12 –inch baking dish and line with 2/3 of the sliced Gouda. Melt 4 tbsp. of butter in a skillet and add onions until golden brown. Add tomatoes, pickles, green pepper, olives, raisins, garlic, mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and cashews. Spread the mixture on top of the Gouda, then cover with the remaining slices of Gouda. Nets the baking dish into a large baking pan and fill with water about halfway up the sides. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

2. For Cheese Lovers, Keshi Yena

Another local favourite is keshi yena. This translates directly to filled cheese, and essentially, that’s what it is!

Originally, this local delight was made by filling the left-over rind of an Edam or Gouda cheese wheel with seasoned chicken, onion, tomato, green peppers, olives, capers, raisins, and pickles; covering the wheel with its original cap; and then baking the stuffed wheel in the oven until hot and bubbly.

We realise you may not have an entire wheel of cheese or a giant oven at your disposal right now, so here’s the recipe for the contemporary version. It’s just as delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Dutch Gouda, sliced                               
  • 8 large green stuffed olives, sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped                                  
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 4 tbsp. butter                                                 
  • 1 ½ tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 cups cooked and diced chicken                  
  • 1 tbsp. prepared mustard
  • 1 large tomato, chopped                               
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 dill pickles, minced                         
  • ½ tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded                 
  • 1 cup cashews, chopped                                                                     
  • butter

Directions

  1. Butter a deep 10-12 – inch baking dish and line with 2/3 of the sliced Gouda.
  2. Melt 4 tbsp. of butter in a skillet and add onions until golden brown.
  3. Add tomatoes, pickles, green pepper, olives, raisins, garlic, mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and cashews.
  4. Spread the mixture on top of the Gouda, then cover with the remaining slices of Gouda.
  5. Nest the baking dish into a large baking pan and fill with water about halfway up the sides. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Black cake.

Ingredients
1 lb. prunes
1 lb. currents
1	lb. dates
½ lb. figs
½ lb. mixed dried fruits 1 cup brandy
2	½ cups flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder 1 lb. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup molasses
½ lb. butter melted 
6 eggs, beaten

Directions
In a large bowl, mix together prunes, currants, raisins, dates, figs, and mixed fruit. Add brandy and mix well. Cover and let soak for at least a day. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, sugar and cinnamon. Add vanilla, molasses, melted butter and eggs, and mix well, then add to fruit mixture. Pour into well-greased 15 ½ by 10 ½ baking pan or two 9-inch baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Is served minimum one day after baking, as it has to settle and is served in small 1 inch pieces.

3. Time for Dessert: Bolo Preto

Bolo preto, which literally translates to black cake, is usually handed out at weddings and other celebrations as a party favor.

This is very fitting, as we could all use some celebratory vibes right now. Interestingly, this particular recipe serves up to 50 people.

This may seem like a strange recipe to share while we are not allowed to leave our homes, but actually it’s perfect, because bolo preto is known for its (alleged) inability to expire! The brandy in the cake makes that it can be stored for a very long time.

Set some squares aside to enjoy at home with the family and freeze the rest for when it’s safe to have friends over again.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. prunes                                                                
  • 1 ½ tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 lb. currents                                                              
  • 1 lb. brown sugar
  • 1 lb. dates                                                                  
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • ½ lb. figs                                                                                 
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • ½ lb. mixed dried fruits                                              
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup brandy                                                              
  • ½ lb. butter, melted
  • 2 ½ cups flour                                                
  • 6 eggs, beaten

 

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together prunes, currants, raisins, dates, figs, and mixed fruit. Add brandy and mix well.
  2. Cover and let soak for at least a day.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, sugar, and cinnamon. Add vanilla, molasses. Melted butter and eggs, and mix well
  4. Add to fruit mixture.
  5. Pour into well-greased 15 ½ by 10 ½ inch baking pan or two 9-inch baking pans.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Bolo preto is typically served starting the day after baking, as it has to settle. It is served in small 1-inch pieces.

So, there you have it. Three simple ways to bring some Aruban happiness to your home.


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