Colombian- Style Powdered Beef (Carne en Polvo)

by Erica Dinho on August 3, 2009

Carne en polvo001Carne en Polvo is a staple in the Andean region of Colombia. It is a bit bland if you it eat alone, but it is great as part of the “Bandeja Paisa”. My grandmother would mix it with hogao and serve it over white rice which was delicious too.

Powdered beef was one of my favorite foods growing up because I didn’t like to chew meat. My mom found that serving beef this way was the best way to get me to eat it.

Azulina Ceramics (Hand Painted in Colombia)



(4-6 Servings)

  • 1 pound flank steak
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 Scallions, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. Place the flank steak in a plastic bag and add the garlic, scallions, onion cumin, salt and pepper. Refrigerate for about to 2 hours.
  2. In a medium pot, place the flank steak and water and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the beef for about 1 hour or until the beef is cooked.
  3. Remove the beef from the water and set aside to let it cool. You can save the water used to cook the beef to make soup or just as a beef stock for other dishes.
  4. Cut the beef into chunks and place in a food processor. Process until the beef is of a powdered consistency as indicated in the picture.
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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 rebecca subbiah August 3, 2009 at 9:45 AM

good for babies love your use of cumin in food


2 velva August 3, 2009 at 1:49 PM

Your home must always smell delicious! I think the comment left by Rebecca was very true. This recipe would be a great way to serve beef to young children.


3 velva August 3, 2009 at 2:15 PM

Erica- would you be interested in doing a blog post as a guest on my site? You could write about anything that you would like about Columbian food and/or culture.

I love your web site and the recipes! If you are interested you can send me an email at



4 Erica August 3, 2009 at 9:29 PM

Thank you Rebecca and Velva for your comments!


5 Natasha - 5 Star Foodie August 4, 2009 at 6:00 AM

Sounds like a great recipe to serve with rice or pasta. My daughter would definitely like it, she’s getting better about chewing meat, but would prefer not to :)


6 Queen B August 4, 2009 at 12:48 PM

Oh my goodness, your blog is amazing !!


7 Rachel October 2, 2009 at 11:53 AM

Erica thanks so much for your great recipes! My husband is from Cali and I had been looking for some recipes in English to make him his kind of comfort food. :0) You should have seen his face when I told him about the bandeja paisa recipe.

We live in Madrid and I don’t have a food processor here… Any other way I can get a similar result for Carne en Polvo without one?

Thank you.


8 Erica October 2, 2009 at 12:06 PM

Hi Rachel, Thank you so much for your nice comment! I am glad you like my blog :) Actually, the best way to ground the meat is wit a “molino” It is a manual grinder we use in Colombia to ground the corn for arepas and the meat for carne en polvo, here in the USA I use a food processor. I have to check more to see if you can use something else.


9 Respondon November 11, 2009 at 9:43 PM

It looks delicious (and I do like it on a bandeja paisa) but flank steak is very expensive in the US to be treated that way. How would it work with a cheaper cut?


10 Erica November 12, 2009 at 7:45 AM

Hi Respondon- I always use flank steak for this recipe, but I am going to try a different cut next time and let you know.

Thank you for your comments.


11 Amy November 16, 2010 at 1:55 PM

Erica, thanks for sharing this recipe.

To help with others’ questions, we lived in Bogota, Colombia for 4 years and our maid always made this dish with ground beef (carne molida). We loved it.


12 OLGA January 25, 2011 at 3:23 PM

Hola Erica:
I am from Bogota andhave lived in Canada (Toronto area) for 39 years. I came to Canada with no knowledge in cooking, we always had maids. I learned to cook here and therefore my food was American/ Canadian ( Roast beef, Shepperd Pie etc.) I tried at the time but was very difficult to find the ingredients. In the last years more people from South American have inmigrated to Canada so it’s easier to find the ingredients. probably not as much as in US. I found your website going to google and looking for “pandeyucas”. I am delighted to find all these recipes and even though you are from a different region – Antioquia- Colombian food is Colombian food and delicious no matter where from. Thank you so much for bringing a little piece of our “tierra” to people like me.


13 melissa November 7, 2011 at 1:24 PM

Hi erica i am wondering what other type of meat could be used to make the carne en polvo.


14 Erica November 7, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Melissa-Skirt Steak.


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