Hi it’s Chef Mireille from Global Kitchen Travels and I am so honored to bring some flavors of the Dutch Caribbean to Natasha. My family is from this part of the Caribbean with our fusion flavors of Dutch, African, Indian and Indonesian. It really is a unique cuisine I hope you will grow to love as much as I do.
My website, Global Kitchen Travels, is a place where delicious food from around the world are used as a vehicle to spread diversity and inclusivity. Let’s be friends on Instagram @chefmireille or visit my website for inspiration with over 1500 globally inspired recipes.
My family comes from the Dutch Caribbean, a cuisine minimally represented here in the United States. While we do eat many foods similar to other Caribbean islands like curry and coo coo (what we call funchi), we also have many foods that are unique to us due to our Dutch colonization and the influence of Indonesian cooking in our cuisine.
Keshi Yena – translated literally as stuffed cheese, is one of the most popular holiday foods in Aruba and Curacao. In fact, it is the national dish of Curacao. Essentially it is a gluten free pie, with cheese serving as the crust for the pie. You want to pick a good melting Dutch cheese like Edam or Gouda. If you are using gouda, make sure it is young and not aged. The aged gouda will not melt as well.
It can be stuffed with anything and often leftovers are used in the stuffing, so it is a great vehicle to use up leftover turkey and veggies. However, another thing unique to the Dutch Caribbean is how popular tuna fish is. We often make skillet tuna meals and it is the most popular stuffing in our meat patties, what we call pastechi.
Traditionally, Keshi Yena would be made inside a whole Edam Cheese ball. The ball would be stuffed with the filling and then the top would be put back on and then sealed with the egg. However, for ease and convenience, it is most often baked in a pie plate now or in individual servings as I did here, using ramekins.
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 2 tablespoons raisins
- 1 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoons mustard
- 1 tablespoon Sambal Olek
- 2 7 oz. cans tuna fish
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 12 oz. Edam Cheese, sliced
- 1 well beaten egg
- Heat oil. Add onion, bell pepper and celery. Saute for a few minutes.
- Add garlic and continue to saute until the vegetables are softened.
- Add tomatoes, capers, raisins, ketchup, mustard, chili paste. Simmer for about 5 minutes until the tomatoes are soft.
- Add tuna and break it up into smaller pieces.
- Cook for about 5 minutes until everything is heated through and well combined.
- Add a generous sprinkling of black pepper and scant amount of salt.
- Add parsley. Stir to combine and cook for 1 more minute. Let cool.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Spray 10 ramekins with non stick cooking spray. Alternately, you can bake it in 1 pie plate.
- Place cheese slices along the bottom and sides of the dish, overlapping the slices, making sure there are no spaces.
- Place a few tablespoons of filling in each ramekin.
- Cover with more cheese slices, again making sure there are no spaces.
- Brush the top liberally with the egg to seal, especially at the edges.
- Repeat until all the ramekins are stuffed.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
P.S. Check out my last recipe here.