Plov is the most classic dish of Uzbekistan, consisting of rice, onion, carrots and meat, all cooked slowly in layers in a traditional cast-iron kazan (essentially, a cauldron). If you don’t have a kazan lying around, you can sub it for a cast-iron casserole dish.
For Uzbeks, plov represents hospitality and identity. While the ingredients can vary (you can make it using lamb or beef and spices to your taste), one thing that is consistent is it’s always served in generous portions!
- 750 g of beef or mutton
- 900 g uncooked rice
- 600 g onions
- 900 g yellow carrots — if yellow carrots are not available, use orange carrots
- 200 ml vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Spices optional — try a combination of ground coriander, cumin, fenugreek seeds, cayenne pepper and paprika
- Heat oil in a pan.
- Fry sliced onions until golden.
- Cut meat into large cubes, add to oil and cook until meat is brown.
- Slice carrots longways and add to meat and onion.
- Add salt, pepper and spices to pan.
- Pour water just to cover the ingredients, heat until water bubbles, then simmer on very low heat until carrots and meat is cooked. Do not stir.
- Wash and drain rice and layer it on top of the carrots in the plan. Season generously with salt.
- Pour boiling water over pan until it just covers the rice (around 2 cm).
- Increase the heat until boiling and water boils away and rice is cooked al dente.
- Reduce heat to very low, cover pan with lid and let it steam for 20 minutes.
- To serve, place rice on the bottom of the plate, followed by sliced carrots and chunks of meat.
Makes 5-6 portions.