Friday, November 6, 2009

UZBEK PLOV (uzbek pilav)


   If Uzbekistan could export the Uzbek plov to other countries, it would definitely bring a fortune. Uzbek plov is the most arguable recipe on the post-Soviet territory. There are many hundreds recipes of Uzbek plov and each of them claims to be the No 1 recipe. When people start to talk about Plov recipes, they unintentionally go into the argument about their skills or secret spices that only they might know. I am going to share with you the classic recipe that my Father taught me and I am sure that many of my friends who ate my Father's plov will be happy to try to make plov at their homes, but I also hope that it will not stop them coming to our house where we always happy to see them by the big family table with kazan of plov.

   If you want to spend evening with your friends in a nice, long conversation, with the very good bottle of vodka or cognac, the plov is the best dish that you can imagine. Usually, it takes good 2 hours to make plov. You will need a kazan -the original heavy pot from Ubekistan. If you don't have one you may use big cast-iron pot or some heavy duty cooking pot with a thick bottom.

I don't have measurements for small pots, that's why you will have to adapt the recipe for your own needs.

Let's start.... :)

Meat: We prefer good piece of Lamb, but beef is also acceptable - 1 pound.

Rice: We got used to Sushi Kokuho Pink Rice (available in Asian supermarkets), some claim that Basmati rice works fine; I used also Uncle Ben's. I never tried Turkish Pilav rice, but it could work I assume. - 1 pound.

Carrots- 5

Onion -2 medium size

Garlic- 1 head

Coriander crushed -1/2 tsp

Cumin crushed - 1/2 tsp

Kosher salt- 1/2 tbsp (to taste)

Corn oil or Vegetable oil

Full Kettle with boiling water

Cut the meat into medium size cubes.

Chop the onions.

Clean carrots and cut into long pieces. You can use the mandoline slicer but with the thickets attachment. I cut them with the sharp knife. The carrots should look like this:

Wash rice 5-6 times until the water is clear. Drain.

Peel the first skins of the garlic off.

Now we are ready! Poehali!(Let's Go!)

Put your Kazan (Pot) on the highest fire on your stove. The kazan should be hot when you add the oil. Oil should be approximately 1/2 inches high.

Put chopped onions. When onions are golden color (5-8 minutes) add the cubes of meat. Mix it up all together and let the meat fry its all sides through ( 10-15 minutes). You have to stand by the kazan all the time in order to mix the magic potion. Since, we cook on a very high fire we don't want our meat and onions to burn.

Add all the carrots and mix it again. The carrots will become soft after 8-10 minutes. Do not forget to mix it and mix it again.

Add 1/4 tsp of crushed cumin.

Then, add the hot water. The water should be two fingers ( 1inch) above the surface of the meat-onion-carrot mixture.

Let it boil and cover the lid. We wait till our meat will become ready. It all depend on the meat you guys bought. The good fresh lamb takes 20-30 minutes to cook. Chuck of beef may take an hour. Please, open the lid and check the meat and mix it,mix it, mix it. Perhaps you will need to lower your fire a little.

When you will feel like"Aha, my meat will be ready in 5 minutes"- add the whole head of garlic. Just leave it on top of meat.

Attention: If you lowered the heat, the heat should high before you add the rice.

The rice is clean and drained waiting for you. You  very carefully, put the rice equally on top of the meat. Smooth the top with the skimmer. It's very important to put rice equally everywhere.

Cover with the boiled water. The water should be your  two fingers above the surface of the rice.

After the water will start boiling , add salt and the rest of the spices. (cumin, coriander). Attention: You can try the boiling water for salt and decide whether it is enough or not.

As soon as water will get to level of the rice. (there will be no water above the rice),take the skimmer and carefully  make a mountain with the rice.

Carefully go around the rice and build the mountain. Take a chopstick or knife and make 5-6 wholes in the rice. Cover the lid. If you are using regular cooking pot, lower the heat to medium.Do not open it for  5-10 minutes.

You have time to make a salad.

2 tomatoes (without skin)
1 cucumber (without skin)
1 red onion sliced

Mix the rice with the meat and serve it on the big plate for everybody. The garlic will have a taste of the good roasted garlic, peel the skin and enjoy it!

Do not forget to have a good cup of Green tea after the dinner!!!

P.S. My smart mom, who does everything by rules and laws advised me to write the basic rule for the measures of the ingredients. You will need 3 equal parts of meat, rice and 3/5 carrots+2/5 onions.
For example: 1kg. meat+ 1 kg. rice+ (750 gr. carrots+250 gr. onions)


nurlana said...

It looks delicious & thanks to clear directions it does not seem to be very complicated to make this yummy Uzbek pilav.

Elena said...

Thank you for the comment, and welcome to my blog.