Home Receptenside dish ayaka / hallaca – packets of cornmeal, chicken and vegetables
ayaka hallaca recipe antillean food venezuelan ayaca christmas jurino

ayaka / hallaca – packets of cornmeal, chicken and vegetables

door Linda Terrizzi

Ayaka is a small package of, among other things, corn flour and chicken. For added flavor, they are wrapped in banana leaves and cooked that way. In addition to these main ingredients, a 'good' ayaka includes paprika, nuts, fruits, gherkins and onion. Depending on the size, you can see this dish as a snack or as a mini-meal. 

The origin of the ayaka

The recipe originates from Venezuela, where it is called hallaca. Undoubtedly, traders from Venezuela brought them with them when they started selling their products in the Antilles.



The festive packages have therefore been established 'with us' for generations. You can find them everywhere during the Christmas season. From supermarkets to bakeries and from restaurants to home cooks. And of course grandma always makes the best!

When is Ayaka eaten?

The Ayaka is traditionally eaten at New Years and Christmas. But of course they taste great on another day too! You make the packages from pre-cooked corn flour (preferably from the harina PAN brand) that you fill with meat, vegetables, fruits and sauce. We always use precooked cornmeal, because you cannot knead dough from raw cornmeal. It does not absorb water!

blankAfter mixing the dough and adding the filling, the packets are wrapped in banana leaves. This is where the real taste sensation comes from.

The banana leaves themselves are not eaten by the way. They are thrown away, along with the strings used to tie the package. So you unwrap the ayaka on your plate… really like a present!

Button Ayaka

In this video Linda shows you within 1 minute how best to tie an ayaka:

Recipe for ayakas

The cooking process gives the dish a deep, complex taste. You just taste how much work the cook has had! Fair is fair: it takes a lot of time, but in the end it is not difficult to make them.

Do you want to make ayakas yourself this year? You can with the recipe in our cookbook 'The complete Antillean kitchen'. Did you know that there are no less than 300 (!) recipes in that book from the kitchen of Aruba, Bonaire en Curaçao?

It is the result of 7 years of research and we now finally dare to say that we have really “captured” Antillean cuisine in its entirety. Click on the image below to learn more about the book:

the complete antillean kitchen cookbook jurino ignacio


Also try

Crazy about cornmeal dishes? Then give it a try the baked version! When you leave cornmeal / funchi for one day and cut into pieces and bake the next day, it looks like French fries. A favorite with children.


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ayaka hallaca recipe antillean food venezuelan ayaca christmas jurino workshop

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Do you want to stay informed about our new recipes? Don't forget to follow us on FACEBOOK, PINTEREST of INSTAGRAM. Every day we post nice updates, news and tips that go with the recipes.

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