Friday, March 2, 2007

uzbek plov

this recipe comes from a good friend from uzbekistan (pictured above). she made it for the fiance and i once and we were hooked. this is so good i guarantee you'll want to eat it until you burst or fall out of your chair, whichever comes first. it tastes like pure comfort, and the flavor never seems to dull, no matter how much you eat. each bite as good as the first. the cumin seeds add a fantastic flavor and texture. get over the guilt about how much oil is in this dish. it's worth it. trust me.

plov is the national dish of uzbekistan and is traditionally cooked in very large cast iron pots. dilya tells me it varies slightly regionally and should be made with cotton seed oil (a dark, heavy oil) -which is not available in the u.s.
i begged for a plov tutorial and here's the result:

Plov – Dilya Bahrieva

Sirloin or London Broil (enough to cover the bottom of cast iron pot)

~2 cups canola oil

6-7 cups carrots cut into thin sticks

2 cups thinly sliced onion

3 Tbs whole cumin seeds

1 Tbs ground pepper

½ head of garlic

5 ½ cups rice

Salt to taste

  • Prep time: about 20 minutes
  • Steps 1-10 take about 15 minutes
  • Steps 11-13 take about 15 minutes
  • Steps 14-17 take about 30 minutes
  • Steps 17-26 take about 30 minutes
  • Total time: about 2 hours
1. Heat oil in bottom of cast iron pan (size of medium stock pot w/ lid)
2. Place meat in oil and cook on one side 3-5 mins
3. Turn meat4. Add a handful of carrots to pot. Push them under the meat.
5. Add 2 cups onion
6. Add the rest of the carrots over the meat and onion. Do not stir.
7. Add about ¾ cup water to help steam carrots and onions
8. Add 2-3 Tbs Of cumin seeds and 1 Tbs pepper. Crush a bit with hands to release oils
9. When liquid boils, reduce heat to low and leave uncovered
10.Push head of garlic into center of carrots, allow to simmer
11. Rinse rice a few times
12. Add 3 Tbs salt to rice and add warm water
13. Soak rice for 15 minutes
14. Drain water from rice and add rice to pot on top of carrots
15. Turn heat to high
16. Add salt to taste on top of rice, then gently add water to just cover rice. Oil will rise to top.
17. Cook about 30 minutes, covered
18. Remove lid & push spoon handle down through rice to bottom of pot and rotate to make a hole. Repeat 2 more times, - this is an important technique, it allows steam to rise through cooking food.
19. Turn heat to medium and cook 3 minutes.
20. Remove lid and push rice to center to form dome shape
21. Make one big hole in center with spoon handle
22. Turn flame to low
23. Cook 10 minutes
24. Turn over the top layer or rice and reshape into dome. Oil should be visible pooling at sides of pan.
25. Steam 15 more minutes
26. Serve on platter with rice on bottom, then carrots, and meat on top.

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