Typical Dishes Venezuelan Gastronomy

Pabellon Criollo – The Venezuelan National Dish

Pabellon criollo is one of the most emblematic dishes of Venezuelan cuisine.

Its popularity began in Caracas and the regions of Miranda, Carabobo and Aragua, but it spread soon after throughout the whole country in the twentieth century.

At some point, it was so popular that it is now considered an authentic national dish. It is composed of black beans, white rice, shredded meat and fried plantain slices.

Nowadays, it is a very famous typical dish as well as the rich empanadas and delicious corn arepas.

Black Beans of the Pabellon Criollo

Ingredients of the Pabellon Criollo’s black beans

  • 1 kg of black beans
  • 12 cups of water
  • 1 large onion, chopped or grated
  • ½ paprika
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 250 grams of papelón (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin (optional)
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 5 cloves of crushed garlic

Preparation of the Black Beans

Clean the black beans and select the grains. Discard all the ones floating in the water. Place them in a pot with water, the onion cut in half and the paprika.

Cook over high heat until they boil. Then, lower the flame and cook for approximately one hour until the beans soften.

Remove the onion and paprika; add salt, pepper and paprika or cumin (whichever you want).

Cook until tender and add more water if necessary. Remove the foam that forms on top with a skimmer.

Fry the bacon in a cauldron and when it releases the fat, add the garlic, the grated onion and crystallize; add the sofrito to the beans and cook for 20 more minutes or until the desired thickness is reached.

White Rice of the Pabellon Criollo

Ingredients of the Pabellon Criollo’s White Rice

  • 2 cups of rice
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 medium onion
  • ½ red bell pepper or 3 sweet chili peppers
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic

Preparation of the White Rice

Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in the rice pot. Add the garlic, onion, paprika or sweet peppers and then the rice, stirring it so that it is impregnated with the oil and seasonings.

Add the water and bring to a boil until the rice begins to dry. Lower the flame, cover until dry and turn off the fire.

Remove the garlic, onion, paprika or chili peppers and stir to separate the grains.

Carne Mechada of the Pabellon Criollo

Ingredients of the Pabellon Criollo’s Carne Mechada

  • 1 kilo of meat (any kind of brisket)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 cup of chopped onions
  • 2 chopped sweet peppers
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ onion
  • ½ bell pepper
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 cups ripe pear tomatoes
  • 1 ½ tablespoons salt
  • Pinch of cumin

Preparation of the Carne Mechada

Boil the meat in a pot with the water, onion, paprika and garlic cloves until tender. Approximately 1 hour (in a pressure cooker, 30 minutes).

Remove from the heat and let it cool, then shred the meat into thin strands and set aside.

Heat the oil in a pot and add the garlic. Brown, without burning, and add the onion, paprika and sweet peppers. Cook over medium heat until wilted.

Add the tomatoes, salt, Worcestershire sauce, cumin and tomato paste.

Then add the meat, and finally, the broth where the meat was cooked.
Cook over medium heat, stirring well. Let it dry until the meat is ready.

Fried plantain of the Pabellon Criollo

Ingredients of Pabellon Criollo’s Plantains

  • 2 or 3 ripe plantains
  • ½ cup vegetable oil

Preparation of the Plantains

Cut the plantains into slices, diagonally.

Heat the oil and fry the slices, first on one side and then on the other, until golden brown without burning.

Remove the slices and place them on absorbent paper to remove excess oil.

Variations of the Pabellon Criollo

Let’s see some variations to prepare this tasty typical Venezuelan dish.

  • With railing, the plantain slices are not placed on top of all the other ingredients but around the dish, forming a railing.On horseback, only adding a fried chicken egg on top.
  • With Arepas, this is usually eaten for breakfast, for this reason it is also known as pabellón mañanero. Instead of rice we will use arepas. It can be served with grated white cheese or scrambled eggs.
  • Vegetarian, instead of shredded meat, we will put eggplant or another vegetable that we like.
  • Margariteño, it is prepared in the East and in the coastal regions. It is necessary to add sugar to the black beans and sometimes the larded meat is replaced by fish or seafood prepared in the same way.

The truth is that each region has its own way of preparing it and there are even more variations.

For example, in the plains and countryside, it is used to add grated hard white cheese to the plantain and the black beans; and the larded beef usually comes from hunting meats (venison, chigüire, lapa, etc.),

In the western Venezuela, -sometimes- spaghetti is used instead of rice (remembering that in Venezuela there are many Italians), and then a fried chicken egg is added,

In the State of Lara, the larded meat is replaced by shredded and fried goat meat (called “pata e`grillo”), while in the Andes and in some places of Zulia instead of ripe plantain slices, they use green plantain tostones.

TIP: Try with the general recipe, at least the first time (if you are not a vegetarian) and then try some varieties according to your own tastes or inspirations of the moment.

TIP2: To the traditional recipe you can add a little sugar to the beans, as well as pieces of avocado and hand cheese or grated white cheese to taste.


Venezuela Arepas – All You Need to Know

Venezuelan Cachapas – All You Want to Know

All Caciques of Venezuela


Hernández, Alix. (July 11th, 2019). Recetas Gratis. Pabellon Criollo Venezolano

Daniel D'Amato

By Daniel D'Amato

Daniel D'Amato is a regular Venezuelan who wants to give a glimpse of his country, Venezuela, to the rest of the world.