Hallacas or Hayacas (Venezuelan Christmas dish) (1975)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Wed Dec 15 20:42:22 UTC 2004

HALLACAS--5,480 Google hits, 385 Google Groups hits
HAYACAS--393 Google hits, 32 Google Groups hits

"Hallaca" is not in OED (miserable on food, even worse than  basketball, and
we're talking not a few dozen terms, but about thousands of  terms, from many
countries and in many languages),.

The Wednesday New York Post "Tempo" section has "top Latin chefs share
recipes for the holidays. Included are Moros y Cristianos (discussed here years
ago), Pasteles, and Hallacas. Tempo says this dish is Colombian, but most sites
have it as Venezuelan.

Pg. 72, col. 2:

This exotic Colombian dish is also a staple in Venezuelan Christmas-time
cuisine. Like tamales--corn flour puffs filled with beef or chicken, _hallacas_,
also spelled _hayacas_ (ah-yah-kahs), can be served as an appetizer or
entree.  With a filling consisting of beef, chicken and pork, this dish is a
carnivore's  dream. Gather the family and prepare to work assembly-line style--you'll
need  the extra hands, Here is a tasty recipe from CHef Flor Villazan of the
popular  East Village eatery, Flor's kitchen.


Origin and history of hallacas

'Latin-American culture is a mixture of indigenous, European and African
influences. The strong contrast of flavour and colour in the food reflect  this.
One the most exotic is undoubtedly the Hallaca,  Venezuelan national dish. It
combines the indigenous bananas leaves, a rich  Spanish filling of beef,
chicken, pork, olives and vegetables, with aromatic  African spices.
It's origin is unclear. It could have arisen for the Spanish colonists
homesickness for their tasty and elaborate meals. On this view we might relate  the
Hallaca to the Empanada  Gallega (a pasty from Galicia). The filling is
basically similar, with  maize substituting for flour and the banana leaf wrapping
filling, the lack of  the iron moulds the colonists could have used hard they
brought them from  Spain.
Another an alternative theory attributes the Hallaca to Venezuelan rich
ranches where servants and  slaves used the leftovers from the tables of their
masters, whose meals had a  distinctly European character. Adapting these eclectic
ingredients to their  African and indigenous tastes, the slaves created one
of the most creative,  flavourful and richly seasoned Latin-American dish.
_Restaurant  Reviews; People-Watching on a Cool Terrace Can Make Good Food
Taste Better _
By JOHN CANADAY. New York  Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Aug 22,
1975. p. 21 (1 page)
Frini, at 271 Amsterdam Avenue between 72d and 73d Streets, calls itself a
flamenco restaurant, but flamenco was about the only Iberian or Spanish
Colonial  motif we failed to detect there. The menu is a mixture, and we'd like to
say  immediately that a dish called Venezuela Hallaca, which is a hash of
chicken,  pork, raisins, olives, capers, onion, bacon and sweet red pimentos,
wrapped in  the best cornmeal blanket you ever tasted and served with white rice and
black  beans for $4.50--well, we didn't get to it immediately, but what we
wanted to  say is that this is a great dish.

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