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Siegried and Taco’s Keshi Yena

Siegried and Taco's Keshi Yena

Chefs Siegried Martina and Taco van den Berg
Curaçao chefs Siegried Martina and Taco van den Berg created this approachable adaptation of traditional keshi yena, which includes Martina’s special ingredient: piccalilli, a British-Indian relish of chopped tomatoes and sweet peppers (Heinz is a popular brand). Young (1- to 3-month) Gouda works best in this recipe.


  • 1 pound chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves minced
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 celery stalk with leaves chopped 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 dried bay leaf bruised
  • 3 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 10 pearl onions peeled
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • ¼ cup green olives sliced
  • 10 prunes
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced jalapeño serrano, or habanero pepper
  • 1 tablespoon piccalilli relish optional
  • Butter for greasing
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 pound young Gouda cheese sliced
  • 1-2 hard-cooked eggs coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 1 tablespooon parsley minced


  • Season chicken with lime juice, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate 2 hours.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, and celery; sauté until fragrant. Add chicken and brown well, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
  • Add chicken stock and bay leaf to onion-garlic mixture in pan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Whisk in tomato paste, curry powder, and paprika.
  • Cool briefly, then, using a blender, purée mixture until smooth (be careful to allow steam to escape). Return liquid to pan. Add pearl onions, raisins, capers, olives, prunes, hot pepper, and piccalilli (if desired), and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat, and allow flavors to steep 5 minutes more before adding chicken back to pan. Cook over low heat until chicken is done and onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove pan from heat and allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
  • Heat oven to 350°F.
  • Generously butter a quart-sized casserole dish or individual ramekins. Beat eggs, and set aside 6 tablespoons.
  • Whisk remaining beaten egg into cooled chicken stew, blending well.
  • Spoon 3 tablespoons reserved beaten egg into bottom of casserole dish (or divide evenly among ramekins). Layer Gouda slices, overlapping slightly, to cover bottom and sides of dish.
  • Pour half the chicken stew into cheese-lined dish. If using hard-cooked eggs, place eggs in the center and cover with remaining stew. (If not, pour all stew at once.) Cover with more overlapping Gouda slices. Spread remaining 3 tablespoons beaten egg over the cheese.
  • Place casserole dish or ramekins in a baking pan containing a few inches of water. Bake 1 hour 15 minutes, or until cheese is slightly golden.
  • Carefully remove keshi yena from oven and allow to cool slightly. Garnish with minced parsley and serve.

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