A Classic Aruban Dish: Keshi Yena

aruba marriott keshi yena

Aruba Marriott‘s Executive Chef Ever de Peña at La Vista has invited you to learn how to make a local favorite dish, Keshi Yena. Keshi Yena is a traditional Aruban and Curaçaoan dish made with chicken, vegetables, and spices stuffed in melted Gouda cheese.

Keshi Yena is a perfect dish to make as a family, where the children can choose the ingredients, and mix everything together.

Find a Keshi Yena recipe below, courtesy of Chef Peña.

Keshi Yena

aruba marriott resort keshi yena
Keshi Yena Cooking Class at Aruba Marriott.

Serves 10-12

For the chicken filling, rub with the juice of several limes:

  •  chicken breast

Season the breasts and thighs with:

  • Salt and pepper
  • Poultry seasoning
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Minced onion

Let them stand for several hours. Then either arrange the pieces in a shallow baking dish, and after browning the chicken under the broiler, bake it for one hour at 350°, deboning it when cool enough to handle, or choose this more frugal method of preparation.

Brown the chicken in three tablespoons butter, and then place it in a heavy kettle with:

  • 4 quarts water
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 12 peppercorns
  • 1 or 2 onions
  • 1 celery stalk with leaves
  • 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.

After the chicken has been prepared by one of the above methods, sautéed in two tablespoons butter or olive oil:

  • 3 cups Diced Tomatoes
  • 3 cups Diced Onion
  • 3 cups Diced Bell Pepper
  • 3oz Chopped Garlic

Add and stir in well:

  • 5oz Cocktail Onions
  • 5oz Green Olives
  • 4oz Raisin
  • 3oz Cashew Nuts
  • 1 Tbs. parsley, minced, or a few drops Tabasco sauce
  • 12oz Catchup
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Continued Directions

aruba traditional dish keshi yena
Images courtesy of Aruba Marriott

Simmer until the tomatoes are reduced, about 20-30 minutes. Remove from the fire and permit mixture to cool. If Keshi Yena is to be baked, preheat oven. Add rest of ingredients, stir well and place in 13 x 9 x 2 baking pan. Top with 10 oz Dutch Gouda, sliced.

Bake covered loosely with tin foil, 350 degrees for about 60 minutes.50°, if it is to be steamed, begin heating water in the bottom of a double boiler.

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