Welcome to the vibrant and diverse world of Aruban cuisine, where flavors dance, and traditions come to life. In the heart of the Caribbean, the island of Aruba holds a culinary gem that has captivated locals and visitors alike for generations – the Ayaca. Join us on a gastronomic adventure as we unravel the secrets of ARUBA Ayaca, a dish that encapsulates the rich history, cultural fusion, and tantalizing tastes of this tropical paradise.

Just as Aruba itself is a melting pot of influences from indigenous Arawakan roots, Spanish and Dutch colonization, African heritage, and more, the Ayaca reflects this harmonious blend of flavors. This traditional dish is a labor of love, prepared with meticulous care and handed down through generations. As we delve into the layers of history and ingredients that compose ARUBA Ayaca, prepare to embark on a sensory journey that will transport you to the sun-soaked shores of this enchanting island.

In this exploration, we will uncover the significance of Ayaca in Aruban celebrations, the cultural rituals surrounding its preparation, and the unique ingredients that contribute to its distinctive taste. Whether you are a culinary enthusiast, a traveler eager to experience local traditions, or simply someone with a passion for good food, ARUBA Ayaca promises to be a feast for the senses. So, let the aromas of spices and the tales of Aruban kitchens guide you through the pages ahead, as we savor the essence of this beloved dish and the spirit of Aruba it embodies.


For the Dough:

  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup achiote oil (annatto-infused oil)
  • Salt to taste

For the Filling:

  • 1 lb boneless chicken, cooked and shredded
  • 1 cup pork, cooked and shredded
  • 1 cup beef, cooked and shredded
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup pitted olives, sliced
  • 1 cup capers
  • 1 cup prunes, pitted and chopped
  • 1 cup chickpeas, cooked
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, green beans), cooked
  • 1 cup achiote oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste


1. Prepare the Dough:

1- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, all-purpose flour, softened butter, achiote oil, and salt.

2- Gradually add chicken broth while stirring until a smooth dough forms.

3- The consistency should be similar to a thick pancake batter. Adjust with more broth or flour if needed.

2. Prepare the Filling:

1- In a large skillet, heat achiote oil over medium heat.

2- Add the shredded chicken, pork, and beef. Cook until browned.

3- Stir in the raisins, olives, capers, prunes, chickpeas, and mixed vegetables.

4- Pour in chicken broth, season with salt and pepper, and simmer until the mixture thickens.

3. Assemble the Ayaca:

1- Lay out banana leaves or parchment paper. Place a portion of the dough in the center and spread it out thinly, leaving room for the filling.

2- Add a generous portion of the filling to the center of the dough.

3- Fold the banana leaves or parchment paper over the filling, creating a rectangular or square package.

4- Tie the Ayaca with kitchen twine to secure it.

4. Steam the Ayaca:

1- Arrange the Ayacas in a large steamer.

2- Steam for 1 to 1.5 hours or until the dough is cooked and has a firm consistency.

5. Serve:

1- Allow the Ayacas to cool slightly before unwrapping.

2- Serve warm, and enjoy the flavors of this Aruban delight!

Ayaca is often enjoyed during festive occasions and holidays in Aruba. The combination of savory and sweet flavors, along with the unique touch of achiote oil, makes this dish a true representation of the island's culinary heritage.

Nutritional Values

Nutritional values can vary based on specific brands, preparation methods, and ingredient sizes. Below are approximate nutritional values for the main ingredients in the Aruba Ayaca recipe:

For the Dough:

Cornmeal (2 cups):

  • Calories: 880
  • Carbohydrates: 184g
  • Protein: 20g
  • Fat: 8g
  • Fiber: 16g


  • Rich in complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber.
  • Good source of energy and promotes digestive health.

All-purpose flour (1 cup):

  • Calories: 455
  • Carbohydrates: 95g
  • Protein: 13g
  • Fat: 1g
  • Fiber: 3g


  • Provides essential carbohydrates for energy.
  • Contains some protein and a small amount of fiber.

Butter (1 cup):

  • Calories: 1628
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Fat: 184g
  • Fiber: 0g


  • Good source of healthy fats.
  • Adds richness and flavor to the dish.

Chicken broth (1 cup):

  • Calories: 15
  • Carbohydrates: 1g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Fat: 1g
  • Fiber: 0g


  • Adds flavor and moisture to the dough.
  • May contribute to the overall taste of the Ayaca.

For the Filling:

Chicken (1 lb):

  • Calories: 1100
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Protein: 220g
  • Fat: 27g
  • Fiber: 0g


  • Excellent source of lean protein.
  • Provides essential vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins and selenium.

Pork (1 cup):

  • Calories: 340
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Protein: 39g
  • Fat: 20g
  • Fiber: 0g


  • Rich in protein, iron, and zinc.
  • Contributes to the savory and hearty flavor of the filling.

Beef (1 cup):

  • Calories: 339
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Protein: 34g
  • Fat: 23g
  • Fiber: 0g


  • Excellent source of protein, iron, and zinc.
  • Adds a robust and meaty flavor to the filling.

Raisins (1 cup):

  • Calories: 434
  • Carbohydrates: 115g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Fat: 1g
  • Fiber: 8g


  • Provides natural sweetness to the dish.
  • Contains fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.

Olives (1 cup):

  • Calories: 115
  • Carbohydrates: 6g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Fat: 10g
  • Fiber: 3g


  • Adds a briny and salty flavor.
  • Contains healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants.

Capers (1 cup):

  • Calories: 23
  • Carbohydrates: 5g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Fat: 0g
  • Fiber: 2g


  • Enhances flavor with a tangy and salty kick.
  • Low in calories and rich in antioxidants.

Prunes (1 cup):

  • Calories: 418
  • Carbohydrates: 111g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Fat: 1g
  • Fiber: 12g


  • Adds natural sweetness and a chewy texture.
  • High in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.

Chickpeas (1 cup, cooked):

  • Calories: 269
  • Carbohydrates: 45g
  • Protein: 15g
  • Fat: 4g
  • Fiber: 12g


  • Excellent source of plant-based protein and fiber.
  • Contributes to the overall texture and nutritional profile.

Mixed Vegetables (1 cup):

  • Calories: 54
  • Carbohydrates: 12g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Fat: 0g
  • Fiber: 4g


  • Adds color, flavor, and a variety of vitamins and minerals.
  • Contributes to the overall nutritional content of the filling.

Achiote oil (1 cup):

  • Calories: 1928
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Fat: 216g
  • Fiber: 0g


  • Infuses a distinct, earthy flavor and vibrant color.
  • Contains antioxidants and may have anti-inflammatory properties.

These values are approximate and may vary based on specific brands and preparation methods. It's always a good idea to check the nutritional information on the packaging of individual ingredients for accuracy.


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