Bring the Flavor of Aruba to Your Next Barbecue with These Local Recipes

satee-chicken
Image: courtesy of Samer Daboul

Start your summer the Aruban way with savory dishes and drinks inspired by the “One Happy Island”. While most people associate the tropical island with its breathtaking beaches, it also has a bustling foodie scene. The Caribbean cuisine, truly as diverse as it is delicious, is a fusion of global flavors and spices that has been simmering in local kitchens for centuries. Menus are filled with freshly caught seafood and locally-grown produce inspired by traditional African, Dutch, and Latin food. If you’re inspired to visit the tropical destination for your next trip, you’ll have over 250 restaurants, including fine dining and small, local joints, to choose from to fit every appetite and craving.

For those of us that want to bring some of the traditional dishes to our kitchens, we’ve rounded up meals and drinks you can easily recreate at home. From the iconic “Aruba Ariba” rum-based cocktail to “Sateemeat skewers”, “Salada di Batata” potato salad, and more, these popular dishes capture the essence of the island.

Satee Skewers

Image: courtesy of Aruba Tourism Authority

Marinated Meat on Skewers, while a typical Indonesian dish, it has been adopted by the Dutch who introduced it in Aruba. 

Ingredients

·         1 large onion, coarsely chopped

·         2 cloves of garlic

·         Juice of 2 lemons

·         2 Tbs. of sugar

·         1 cup of soy sauce

·         1 tsp. salt

·         1 tsp. ground coriander for beef (or chicken) or 1 tsp. ground ginger for pork

·         1 cup of oil 5 lbs. of beef or pork tenderloin, cubed

·         1 cup of oil

·         2 Tbs. Soy sauce

Directions

To make the marinade for the satee put in the container of an electric blender:

·         1 large onion, coarsely chopped 2 cloves of garlic

·         Juice of 2 lemons

·         2 Tbs. of sugar 1 cup of soy sauce

·         1 tsp. salt 1 tsp. ground coriander for beef (or chicken) or 1 tsp. ground ginger for pork

·         1 cup of oil

·         Blend thoroughly and pour over

·         5 lbs. of beef or pork tenderloin, cubed

Do not marinate overnight, but only for a few hours. Place the meat on 36 skewers

Mix 1 cup of oil and 2 Tbs. soy sauce and pour into a large shallow dish.

To keep meat from becoming dry, roll each skewer in seasoned oil before frying.

Satee is also excellent when barbecued.

Aruba’s Famous Pastechi

Image: courtesy of Aruba Tourism Authority

The delicious bite is made by stuffing a pocket of slightly sweet dough with cheese, beef, chicken, fish, or seasoned vegetables and then deep-frying it to golden-brown perfection.

Ingredients 

·         5 cups of flour

·         5 tbs. of butter (softened)

·         5 tbs. of shortening (Crisco)

·         3 tbs. of sugar

·         Salt

·         1 egg

·         1 to 1.5 cups of cold water

·         Vegetable oil

·         Smoked Gouda cheese, cod fish, tuna, ground beef, shredded chicken, seasoned veggies or any other filling you’d like to experiment with!

Directions

Add the flour, butter, shortening, sugar, salt, egg and 1 cup of cold water. Knead the dough until it’s no longer sticky. Keep adding water if it’s still sticky. Create flat thin circles with the dough. Fill each flat circle with Gouda cheese. Fold the circle over & pinch the circle together. Use water to seal if needed. Fry in the oil until golden brown.


Aruba Ariba

Image: courtesy of Aruba Tourism Authority

Coecoei, a local Aruban liquor is one of the major ingredients in making the famous “Aruba Ariba”. Many outside of Aruba may find they do not have this on hand, as it is not exported and is only found on the island. If you do not have any on hand, no worries! You can substitute it with several different ingredients for a similar taste like Passion Fruit Nectar, Agave Nectar or Cherry Brandy. 

Ingredients

·         1/2 oz. vodka

·         1/2 oz. 151 proof rum

·         1/8 oz. Coecoei

·         1/8 oz. Creme de Banana

·         1/2 cup orange juice

·         1/2 cup cranberry juice

·         1/2 cup pineapple juice

·         Crushed ice

Directions

In a cocktail shaker, add the above ingredients and shake vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour into a tall cocktail glass and add a splash of Grenadine and top with Grand Marnier. Garnish with an orange and maraschino cherry… and enjoy!

Salada di Batata (Potato Salad) 

Ingredients

·         8 potatoes

·         2 eggs

·         2 cups mayonnaise

·         2 tbs bacon bits

·         1 tbs beef broth

·         1 tbs mustard

·         1 tbs vinegar

·         Salt & Pepper

Directions

Boil the potatoes and eggs and let them cool down. Once cool, peel the potatoes and cut into cubes. Peel the eggs and chop them into big chunks. In a bowl mix the cubed potatoes and eggs. Add the mayonnaise, bacon bits, beef broth, mustard and vinegar. Finally add salt and pepper to taste and serve on a bed of lettuce.

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