Ecuadorian Hayacas

Prep Time


Cook  Time



16 - 20

En Español​​

Ingredients for consommé
  • 2 ½ pounds chicken
  • 8 cups cold water
  • 1 large red onion, cut in 1/2
  • 1 green pepper cut in 1/2
  • 4 green onions
  • 1 whole garlic clove
  • 2 ribs celery, cut in 1/2
  • 10 springs fresh parsley with stems
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for the dough:
5 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups white corn meal
  • 1 cup salted butter, you can replace 1 tablespoon of butter for 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs yolk

To Assembly the Hayacas:
  • 8 to 10 banana leaves, hard spine removed or 2 packages of frozen banana leaves, cut into 12x8-inch rectangles (20 pieces)
  • Parchment paper, cut into 12x8- inch rectangles (20 pieces)
  • Kitchen string  cut 20 (30-inch long) pieces​
   Ingredients for the filling:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon achiote seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup roasted red pepper, chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and fresh black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup cooked green peas
  • ½ cup cooked chickpeas 
  • ½ cup raisin
  • ½ cup green Spanish olives stuffed with pimento
  • 2 ½ cups shredded chicken
  • ½ cup roasted red pepper cut into a inch long thin strips
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
1.  Place the chicken, vegetables and herbs in a large pot, pour over water and cook on high heat until you begin to see bubbles break through the surface of the liquid. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hours, Skim foam   from the stock with a spoon or fine mesh strainer every 15 minutes
2.  Set chicken aside until cool enough to handle.  Remove meat from bones and shred it with your fingers and set aside discarding the bones.  Strain stock through a fine mesh strainer into another large pot discarding vegetable.

3.  Sift the corn meal three times.  In a large saucepan, heat chicken broth, butter, salt and sugar until just boiling.      
Wisk in cornmeal in slow steady stream, stirring until mixture is smooth and forms a ball, remove from heat.  Beat egg yolks and stir into the dough and mix it well (the dough should be soft and moist). Cover with a dishcloht and set aside.
Ok..Once all the chopping and dicing and shredding is completed it's time to prepare the filling!  :D
4.  In a very small pan, heat ¼ cup olive oil and 1 tablespoon achiote, let it boil for 2 to 3 minutes or until the seeds are sizzling and the oil begins to darken. Strain the oil through a sieve into a small heatproof bowl and set aside; discard the achiote seeds.

5.  Heat 2 tablespoon achiote olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the minced garlic then onion until translucent.
6.  Add the chopped green pepper, roasted red pepper and tomatoes.    
7.  Add broth and cook for 5 minutes until all ingredients are soft and well blended.   
8.  Add cooked shredded chicken, chick peas, green peas, salt and black pepper to taste and cook for 5 minutes.  I personally don't add the peas in the filling because my husband does not like peas, so I add them separately at the end when I assemble the hayacas. That way I mark the ones that don’t have peas.
9. Wash banana leaves in cold water, pat dry with a paper towel.

10. Are you ready to assemble the hayacas?  Have the raisin, Spanish olives, hard eggs, thin strips of roasted red pepper, chicken mixture, dough and your assembly ingredients together in a workspace.
11. Lay out a piece of parchment paper, then center a piece of banana leaf over it. Wipe the banana leaf dry and brush the top side with achiote olive oil.
12. Scoop up ½ cup of the dough and place in the middle of the banana leaf, spread evenly over the leaf.  Place 2 tablespoon of filling, 2 raisins, one olive, ½ of 1 sliced egg and 2 to 3 strips of red pepper in the middle of the dough. 
13. Fold the top edge down over the filling. Bring the bottom edge up over this, then fold in both sides to make a rectangular package.  Be careful not to wrap it to tightly or the filling will squeeze out.  Flip the package over on the parchment paper so it is seam side down.  Fold the bottom of the parchment up over the wrapped package.  Fold in each side, then roll up, burrito like to complete the package.  Wrap the string around the hayaca lengthwise and then across the short side and tie a knot.  Steam the hayacas for 25 minutes and serve.  

Cook's Notes

  • The hayacas can be assembled 1 day ahead, just refrigerate, covered.  Steam hayacas for 25 minutes before serving. 
  • Hacayas make a great lunch leftover.