Venezuelan Hallacas/Ajaka Venezolano
Venezuelan Hallacas/Ajaka Venezolano
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Submitted by : Antillean Eats
Submit Date : November 22, 2018, 11:38 am
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Information

Hallacas is a very popular dish in Venezuela and other parts of South and Central America. Curacao, Aruba and Bonaire are located close to Venezuela, and the islands picked up this traditional dish and made it part of their own tradition. The Venezuelan version is so much liked, that the islands did not make any changes to it. It is very popular around the holidays, especially Christmas. Preparation of the dish is a very time consuming process. So make them in large quantities. I can garantee you, none will go to waste. Enjoy


Ingredients

Hallacas takes a lot of time and work to do. It is custom to make it a gathering when making hallacas where different friends and family comes together and sit and help with the cooking. Especially the assembling part will be faster when you have more then one person helping. For this reason, it is custom that the hallacas are made in large quantities. These hallacas can stay in the refrigerator up to 4 weeks.

 

Filling Ingredients :

  • 4½ lbs of beef
  • 4½ lbs pork meat
  • 4 lbs of boneless chicken
  • 2½ lbs of bacon
  • 4 lbs of skinless and seedless tomatoe
  • 2 lbs of diced onions
  • 6 diced sweet red peppers
  • 2 diced green peppers
  • 2 medium Paprika diced
  • 1 cup of minced chives
  • 8 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of oregano
  • 2 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder 
  • 1½ tablespoon of pepper
  • 1½ bottle of red wine (25.4 oz)
  • 12 lbs of banana leaves
  • 1 cup of vegetable oil

 

Dough Ingredients :

  • 1 cup of pork fat/butter
  • 1 cup of ground annatto or annatto powder
  • 3 packs of cornmeal(2 lbs each)
  • 15 cups of chicken broth
  • 4½ cups of room temperature butter (unsalted)
  • Salt to taste

 

Ingredient when Assembling Hallacas: 

  • ½ cup of vegetable oil
  • 4 medium onions. Slice rings out of them.
  • 3 red pepper. Cut long slices out of them.
  • 4 cups of parsley
  • 1½ cups of raisons
  • 2 cups of canned chickpeas
  • ½ cup of caper
  • 2 cups of stuffed green olives without seeds
  • 2 packs of bacon cuts in little pieces
  • 1 roll of cotton cooking twine


Preparation

Prepare the Meat :   

  1. Cut the beef, pork in dices of about 1inch
  2. Slice the bacon into small pieces..
  3. Remove the skin and bones from the chicken and cut them in spaller pieces
  4. Add all the meat into a pot with a lid
  5. Add the onions, aji, onions, garlic in the pot.
  6. Season the content of the pot with oregano, salt, cumin, garlic powder, wine, and the vegetable oil.
  7. Mix them very well and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. To keep the mix consistency, Every couple of hours stir the content.

 

Banana Leaves Preparation :

  1. Wash the leaves with water; clean them well with a damp cloth and dry them with a dry one.
  2. Divide the leaves in two types:
    1. one that's the main one (the biggest one) which is where you have to place the dough and hallaca filling
    2. second leaf (smaller one) that covers, encloses and protects the hallaca while is cooking.
    3. You should remove the center stem from the leaves, since this prevents them from bending easily.
    4. Be careful not to break the leaf while you remove the stem, with the help of scissors.

 

Dough Preperation :

  1. Heat up a saucepan at medium heat.
  2. Add the pork fat and annatto grains.
  3. Let the pork fat dissolve and the annatto to render its color.
  4. Remove from the stove and let cool.
  5. In a large container, add the corn flour and incorporate little by little with the chicken broth, and the softened butter.
  6. Knead vigorously and add the pork fat with annatto and salt to taste.
  7. The dough has to be soft and with a yellow color.
  8. Divide the dough in 50 equal balls.

 

Assemble the Hallaca :

  1. Dampen a large leaf with a bit of vegetable oil.
  2. Place one ball of dough in the middle of a leaf.
  3. Extend the dough in a circular motion with your hands until it is of a 1/4 of an inch thick.
  4. Add one tablespoon and a half of guiso with its juice in the center of the dough.
  5. On top of the filling, place 2 onion rings, 1 pepper strip, one parsley sprig, 3 raisins, 2 chickpeas, 2 capers, 2 olives and a small piece of bacon.

Fold the Leaves :

  1. Take the wider edges and attach them upward.
  2. Create a fold until it is completely sealed.
  3. Fold the other two ends towards the inside and wrap it with the smaller leaf.
  4. Tie the hallacas with the previously cut yarn (of approximately 1 meter and a half lenght).
  5. Cross them three times in each direction (horizontal and vertical) and close with a knot or bow.

 

Cook the Hallaca :

  1. In a large pot, boil 8 gallons of water at high heat.
  2. Place the hallacas, cover and cook them to low heat for a period of an hour and a half.
  3. Repeat the process with the other hallacas or you can use two pots at the same time.

 

Serving or Storing them for later use :

  1. Remove and drain them, preferably in the vertical position.
  2. Let cool and refrigerate until you are ready to eat.
  3. When you need to heat the hallacas again, boil water in a deep pot at high heat. Add the hallacas you wish to reheat (make sure the water is covering them).
  4. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the stove. Drain the hallacas, cut the yarn, remove the leaf and enjoy!

 

Banana Leaves Preparation :

  1. Wash the leaves with water; clean them well with a damp cloth and dry them with a dry one.
  2. Divide the leaves in two types:
    • one that's the main one (the biggest one) which is where you have to place the dough and hallaca filling
    • second leaf (smaller one) that covers, encloses and protects the hallaca while is cooking.
    • You should remove the center stem from the leaves, since this prevents them from bending easily.
    • Be careful not to break the leaf while you remove the stem, with the help of scissors.

 

Dough Preperation :

  1. Heat up a saucepan at medium heat.
  2. Add the pork fat and annatto grains.
  3. Let the pork fat dissolve and the annatto to render its color.
  4. Remove from the stove and let cool.
  5. In a large container, add the corn flour and incorporate little by little with the chicken broth, and the softened butter.
  6. Knead vigorously and add the pork fat with annatto and salt to taste.
  7. The dough has to be soft and with a yellow color.
  8. Divide the dough in 50 equal balls.

 

Assemble the Hallaca :

  1. Dampen a large leaf with a bit of vegetable oil.
  2. Place one ball of dough in the middle of a leaf.
  3. Extend the dough in a circular motion with your hands until it is of a 1/4 of an inch thick.
  4. Add one tablespoon and a half of guiso with its juice in the center of the dough.
  5. On top of the filling, place 2 onion rings, 1 pepper strip, one parsley sprig, 3 raisins, 2 chickpeas, 2 capers, 2 olives and a small piece of bacon.

Fold the Leaves :

  1. Take the wider edges and attach them upward.
  2. Create a fold until it is completely sealed.
  3. Fold the other two ends towards the inside and wrap it with the smaller leaf.
  4. Tie the hallacas with the previously cut yarn (of approximately 1 meter and a half lenght).
  5. Cross them three times in each direction (horizontal and vertical) and close with a knot or bow.

 

Cook the Hallaca :

  1. In a large pot, boil 8 gallons of water at high heat.
  2. Place the hallacas, cover and cook them to low heat for a period of an hour and a half.
  3. Repeat the process with the other hallacas or you can use two pots at the same time.

 

Serving or Storing them for later use :

  1. Remove and drain them, preferably in the vertical position.
  2. Let cool and refrigerate until you are ready to eat.
  3. When you need to heat the hallacas again, boil water in a deep pot at high heat. Add the hallacas you wish to reheat (make sure the water is covering them).
  4. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the stove. Drain the hallacas, cut the yarn, remove the leaf and enjoy!