The weather in March is so back and forth, it doesn’t hurt to have a warm and hearty dish – especially one that includes a hotter spice! Cumin is the dried seed of the parsley family and is thought to have originated in Central Asia, Southwestern Asia, or the Eastern Mediterranean.

This month’s recipe, pabellón criollo, is considered to be Venezuela’s national dish – incorporating several favorite foods, including shredded beef, rice, beans, and plantains. A popular variation includes placing a fried egg on top of the dish.

While the Spice Club is now full, we have shared this month’s recipe below so you can cook along from home!

FUN FACT: Cumin is sometimes confused with caraway – however, cumin differs from caraway in that it is hotter in taste, larger in size and lighter in colour. 

Pabellón criollo*


  • 2 lb beef
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 cups beef stock
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 ripe plantains, peeled and cut in 3-in pieces
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 cups cooked rice
  • 6 cups pre-cooked black beans


  1. Cook meat with bay leaf and stock until very tender. Cool in liquid, then drain, shred, and reserve.
  2. Cook onion in olive oil until soft.
  3. Add garlic, tomato, spices, and salt and pepper to taste. Add shredded meat and set aside.
  4. Brown plantains in vegetable oil. Drain.
  5. Arrange the meat mixture, rice, and beans on a rectangular platter, making 3 stripes with the rice in the middle. Arrange plantains on the edges of the dish.

*Recipe from Global Road Warrior™️ by World Trade Press. Access this online database for free with a Huron County Library card to get information about holidays, festivals, culture, travel essentials, and other beneficial travel knowledge.