Plov – Плов. All you need is плов


All You Need is Plov

There is an old Uzbek saying, “If you’re rich, eat plov; if you’re poor, eat plov.”

Across Central Asia, this deceptively simple dish based around lamb, rice, onions and carrots simmered in broth accompanies every meaningful life-cycle event.

Now, a regional movement is growing to have plov recognized by the UN as an “intangible cultural heritage”.

The only problem is that, like hummus and falafel in the Middle East, plov is a matter of national pride to several different nations.

Last year, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan both separately applied to UNESCO - within a few weeks of each other - to have the plov recognized as part of their nation’s intangible cultural heritage.

Further afield, Azerbaijan has also raised the prospect of recognition. And while Kyrgyzstan and Kazakstan have made no formal applications, locals are similarly devoted to the festive dish.

“Nobody wants to yield the right of being regarded as a homeland of [plov],” said Sergey Rybakov, who heads the International Parliamentary Commission on Science, Education and Culture of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

At an October 19 meeting of the working group in Saint Petersburg he said that an internal convention was being prepared to help the CIS nations make joint applications to UNESCO.

He noted that “there is an example of several countries featured in UNESCO documents as joint holders of an intangible cultural heritage, such as the Mediterranean diet,” Rybakov said.

This was recognised by UNESCO on November 19, 2010, although the UN body made clear that the diet belongs equally to Cyprus, Croatia, Spain, Greece, Italy, Morocco and Portugal.

CROSS-BORDER CUISINE

Food historians note that versions of plov are spread across Asia.

The Turkish pilav, Persian polow and Indian pilau – and even Spanish paella - are all related, with versions including dried fruit, paprika, garlic, tomato, beans and spices.

“Although plov is considered to be an Uzbek dish [among Central Asians], in reality it has much wider geography and history,” said Kyrgyz chef Daniyar Derkembaev, who runs a popular blog specialising in Central Asian cuisine.

Now resident in Germany, Derkembaev still runs a Bishkek cooking school for both chefs and amateurs. There, he said, different ethnic groups came together happily to cook plov, which he described as “an intercultural dish” with the ability to unite people of different backgrounds.

Tashkent entrepreneur Gulnara Kadyrova also takes her plov extremely seriously.

“In theory, one has to study the art of plov-making for 15 years,” Kadyrova said. “People devote their lives to that.”

Kadyrova herself has taken several courses to help her master the dish.

“Plov is pan-fried, boiled and steamed for two-and-a-half hours,” she explained. “In addition, one has to know how to select the rice and carrots. The first carrots of the season behave one way; later ones are different. Same with rice. This is something to master.”

Then there are the myriad regional variations.

Uzbek plov is characterised by cooking all ingredients together in a traditional kazan pot using cotton-seed oil or sheep tail fat, apart from in Samarkand, where the constituent parts are cooked in separate layers.

“Carrot is thinly sliced in Bukhara and Samarkand, while in Tashkent they cut it into thicker straws,” Kadyrova said. “A standard Tashkent plov is unimaginable without ‘nohat’ peas, raisins and turmeric which is used for colouring… [while] in Ferghana they prefer to overcook the carrot.”

Customs and traditions surround the signature meal served at weddings, funerals and birthdays. Even business meetings in Central Asia are often conducted over a bowl of tea and a dish of plov.

“Over the dining table one can solve long-running problems with others as well as get to know the latest news,” Bishkek-based analyst Dmitry Orlov told IWPR. “It’s the same with politicians.”

In some regions of Tajikistan people sing special songs and dedicate a dance to plov, which is particularly prized when it has a golden crust, called zerab.

The atmosphere in which the dish is created is also vital. In Uzbekistan, a prayer is read before cooking plov to wish health to the household and their guests.

“It’s very important which type of mood the plov is prepared with. No kinds of conflict are tolerated on the premises while the plov is being cooked,” she emphasised.

It can also serve as a tool of communal or male bonding, she continued.

“A choikhona [teahouse] plov is cooked by men who gather together for an entire day when their wives go out.  They’ve got a whole day [to make plov], no rush.”

While women cook plov for family events, it’s a male prerogative to cook plov for big feasts where more than 100 kilograms of plov might be cooked in a giant cauldron.

Indeed, plov championships are regularly held in Uzbekistan where they are viewed as a spectator sport.

“Plov championships are a matter of dignity for local cooks,” Kadyrova said. “They defend not their own honour but the honour of the whole mahallah [neighborhood]. The competition is broadcast on TV.”

“Cooks from various regions [of the country] participate,” she continued. “They are given same products. Once the time is set, each of them cooks plov his way. The general principle of plov-making is the same, but everyone has little secrets.”

Such championships are similarly popular just across the border in Tajikistan,

Last summer, Tajik president Emomali Rakhmon himself attended one plov festival in Qurganteppa in Khatlon district on August 25.

Another event held in October in Khujand in Sughd district saw 40 cauldrons employed to cook ingredients including an entire tonne of rice.

Tajik online news outlet Nezavisimoe Mnenie reported that the event included a “fastest plov eater” completion, with the winner Rustam Kholnazarov receiving a 2,000 somoni (250 USD) prize – a considerable win in a country where the average monthly wage is just 130 dollars.

A sign of plov’s potential international reach came in 2014 with the launch of Plov.com, a Moscow-based food delivery company, whose ad campaign went viral among young professionals in the Russian capital.

Offering a contemporary versions of “genuine Uzbek plov’  - including a vegetarian variety – their main slogan was ‘All You Need is Plov’ featuring the Beatles quartet in Central Asian-style hats.

Others included ‘Viva la Plov’ featuring an iconic image of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara, ‘I Wanna be Plov by You’ with Marilyn Monroe and ‘Plov Must Go On’ with Freddie Mercury.

Moscow-based Plov.com CEO Ilkhom Ismailov, who has Uzbek roots, called it “Uzbek pop-art.”

But those who claim plov as their own are often suspicious about other nations’ ability to prepare the dish.

“In Uzbekistan one tends to think that people of another ethnic grouping wouldn’t be able to cook plov the right way,” Kadyrova said.

Tajiks say they feel less bound by tradition.

 “Every plov maker cooks a different plov,” said a Dushanbe-based NGO worker who asked to remain anonymous.

“In Tajikistan, chefs started experimenting with spices and adding pomegranate, quince and lemon. It’s made to distinguish a cook or an eatery from the others.”

But he added,  “I think there is a consensus among ordinary people in Tajikistan that plov is both a Tajik and an Uzbek dish.”

For Kadyrova, however, there can only be one winner.

“Unlike others, an Uzbek plov is filled with more flavour and scent,” she said. The secret ingredient, Kadyrova concluded, are Uzbekistan’s particularly flavourful carrots.

Vasilina Atoyanz-Larina is an Almaty-based reporter. Dina Tokbaeva is IWPR Central Asia editor.

This article was produced under an IWPR project called Strengthening Capacities, Bridging Divides in Central Asia, funded by the Foreign Ministry of Norway.

iwpr.net

All you need is Plov – Food in Central Asia – Zeit ist Welt

 

Personally, I had no idea what the food was going to be like when we first decided we were going to make Central Asia our first stop. I was happy I could point at Kazakhstan on a map (it is very big, so harder to miss when taking a rough guess). We do love food and tried a lot of regional specialties, some of which I will present a bit further in this post, so as to shed some light on the black box that is food in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

 

As I wrote in my first post, before we head off I still thought I was going to live up to the cliché by missing German bread most among all the things from home. At least in Central Asia, there was absolutely no reason to. Especially in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, we had the most delicious, fresh bread, which mostly comes in round loafs of the size of a plate, its centre having been punctuated in elaborate patterns using specific dough stamps, and decorated with a few seeds of cumin or sesame here and there. We had the tastiest loaf at Osh bazaar in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, where I asked if I could take a picture of a baker working in one of the traditional bakeries. He waved us over and gave us a loaf of warm, crispy bread fresh from the oven, and signalled we should accept it as a gift.

 

Friendly baker at Osh bazaar in Bishkek

At Osh bazaar, apart from bread, fresh fruit (and also socks, soap, the odd cow head and birch brooms), you can find enormous amounts and a huge variety of dried fruit and nuts. An entire market hall is filled with it. There were juicy, dark dried grapes, which don’t have much in common with the bland raisins you would get in a supermarket at home. Also, the big dried apricots were a lot more flavourful than their imported counterparts. Among all the tasty things, the almonds really stood out, their shell somehow having been slightly broken so that they could be cracked by hand. I had no idea almonds are actually supposed to taste like this! We went a bit “nuts” and bought way too much of everything.

 

Piles of dried fruit and nuts at Osh bazaar

 

Around any bazaar, you can normally find simple eateries and tea houses (called Chaykhana in Kyrgyz or Choyxona in Uzbek) which, if well-frequented by locals, are likely to serve excellent typical dishes at cheap prices – such as laghman. Consisting of thick, long noodles served as part of a red, rich soup full of fresh vegetables, spices and pieces of beef or lamb, it’s one of those dishes that you can’t go wrong with.

 

Delicious laghman, an Uyghur specialty

 

Another safe bet which was almost always delicious is plov. Similar to laghman, which is actually an Uyghur specialty, we found plov in all three countries we visited. The dish is made of fried rice (the more oil, the better seems to be the rule here), raisins, bell peppers, carrots or whatever vegetable is in season, and, of course, meat (in this case, lamb). We had some delicious plov when staying with our host family in Arslanbob, Kyrgyzstan, which was served with a side dish of cooked apple and persimmon. Along with laghman, plov turned out to be one of our favourites. If you’re not one for surprises, plov is all you need. Plus, I really like saying it. Try it. Plov.

 

Plov, glorious plov

 

A surprise element is definitely carried by somsa, the crispy pastry filled with – yeah well, that we only ever found out after buying it. To our untrained eyes, the outside carries no hint at the somsa’s inner values. Through quantitative research (we had A LOT of somsa) we found out that in most cases, it was a savoury mixture of small pieces of mutton and onions. One major conclusion to which we got eating our way through Central Asia aka somsaland: They always come with meat.

 

There's always space for one more somsa.

 

This is equally true for manty, which are yummy steamed dumplings usually filled with mutton, onions and sometimes other ingredients. As was explained to us by an Uzbek guy, there are also variations with pumpkin or spinach depending on the season. Judging from the tons of pumpkins piling up at bazaars, I have to assume were there in pumpkin season, but for some reason all we ever had in our manty was mutton, which I became a bit fed up with after a while.

 

As you have probably guessed by now, Central Asia is not really a vegetarian’s paradise. It seems that if a dish has no meat in it, it is not really considered food. In a small restaurant in Samarkand, a “Kabob soup” was enthusiastically recommended to me by the quirky young waitress. I, sheepishly, asked: “It probably has a lot of meat?”, to which she answered: “Yes. This is good.” For omnivores like us, the ubiquity of meat is generally not a major problem; we even had our fair share of horse meat in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. However, we preferred the delicious kabobs or shashliks, which consisted of beef or lamb, either in big chunks or minced. You’ll see little barbecue stations outside restaurants everywhere, especially in Uzbekistan, where the skewers are grilled over smouldering coals. The scent fills entire quarters at dusk, when the eateries are humming with people

 

Delicious flame-grilled Kabob in Uzbekistan

 

Though not really Central Asian, I feel obliged to mention one of the most memorable food experiences we have had so far on this trip. Since then, I have been asking myself the same question: How is Georgian cuisine not a thing in Germany? It is in Central Asia, and for a very good reason. We went out one night with Victor’s friend Tobi, a German living in Bishkek, to a Georgian restaurant he had suggested. The food was sensational. So good that we looked up a Georgian restaurant later in Tashkent and persisted during a lengthy odyssey of ending up in three different wrong places, just to have another go. Did I say we love food? We do. Go ahead, look up the Georgian restaurant closest to your place and try as many of the fantastic salads as you can (heavy on the garlic – awesome), for example with eggplant, walnuts and/or pomegranate seeds, or the shashliks and khachapuri, a Georgian-style pizza.

 

Georgian-style stuffed eggplant with walnuts and pomegranate

 

All in all, I honestly can say that although I didn’t know what to expect (and hence didn’t expect too much) of Central Asian cuisine, I was pleasantly surprised. Except for Kumys, which is fermented mare’s milk (of which we ordered one cup in Kazakhstan, much to the approval of the waiter, and found ourselves unable to finish it), I will definitely be missing some of my favourites from the region. Perhaps I’ll be longing for Kyrgyz instead of German bread from now on.

zeit-ist-welt.com

All You Need is Plov – CABAR.asia

Central Asians vie for ownership of a much-loved dish. There is an old Uzbek saying, “If you’re rich, eat plov; if you’re poor, eat plov.”

Across Central Asia, this deceptively simple dish based around lamb, rice, onions and carrots simmered in broth accompanies every meaningful life-cycle event.

Now, a regional movement is growing to have plov recognized by the UN as an “intangible cultural heritage”.

The only problem is that, like hummus and falafel in the Middle East, plov is a matter of national pride to several different nations.

Last year, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan both separately applied to UNESCO – within a few weeks of each other – to have the plov recognized as part of their nation’s intangible cultural heritage.

Further afield, Azerbaijan has also raised the prospect of recognition. And while Kyrgyzstan and Kazakstan have made no formal applications, locals are similarly devoted to the festive dish.

“Nobody wants to yield the right of being regarded as a homeland of [plov],” said Sergey Rybakov, who heads the International Parliamentary Commission on Science, Education and Culture of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

At an October 19 meeting of the working group in Saint Petersburg he said that an internal convention was being prepared to help the CIS nations make joint applications to UNESCO.

He noted that “there is an example of several countries featured in UNESCO documents as joint holders of an intangible cultural heritage, such as the Mediterranean diet,” Rybakov said.

This was recognised by UNESCO on November 19, 2010, although the UN body made clear that the diet belongs equally to Cyprus, Croatia, Spain, Greece, Italy, Morocco and Portugal.

CROSS-BORDER CUISINE

Food historians note that versions of plov are spread across Asia.

The Turkish pilav, Persian polow and Indian pilau – and even Spanish paella – are all related, with versions including dried fruit, paprika, garlic, tomato, beans and spices.

“Although plov is considered to be an Uzbek dish [among Central Asians], in reality it has much wider geography and history,” said Kyrgyz chef Daniyar Derkembaev, who runs a popular blog specialising in Central Asian cuisine.

Now resident in Germany, Derkembaev still runs a Bishkek cooking school for both chefs and amateurs. There, he said, different ethnic groups came together happily to cook plov, which he described as “an intercultural dish” with the ability to unite people of different backgrounds.

Tashkent entrepreneur Gulnara Kadyrova also takes her plov extremely seriously.

“In theory, one has to study the art of plov-making for 15 years,” Kadyrova said. “People devote their lives to that.”

Kadyrova herself has taken several courses to help her master the dish.

“Plov is pan-fried, boiled and steamed for two-and-a-half hours,” she explained. “In addition, one has to know how to select the rice and carrots. The first carrots of the season behave one way; later ones are different. Same with rice. This is something to master.”

Then there are the myriad regional variations.

Uzbek plov is characterised by cooking all ingredients together in a traditional kazan pot using cotton-seed oil or sheep tail fat, apart from in Samarkand, where the constituent parts are cooked in separate layers.

“Carrot is thinly sliced in Bukhara and Samarkand, while in Tashkent they cut it into thicker straws,” Kadyrova said. “A standard Tashkent plov is unimaginable without ‘nohat’ peas, raisins and turmeric which is used for colouring… [while] in Ferghana they prefer to overcook the carrot.”

Customs and traditions surround the signature meal served at weddings, funerals and birthdays. Even business meetings in Central Asia are often conducted over a bowl of tea and a dish of plov.

“Over the dining table one can solve long-running problems with others as well as get to know the latest news,” Bishkek-based analyst Dmitry Orlov told IWPR. “It’s the same with politicians.”

In some regions of Tajikistan people sing special songs and dedicate a dance to plov, which is particularly prized when it has a golden crust, called zerab.

The atmosphere in which the dish is created is also vital. In Uzbekistan, a prayer is read before cooking plov to wish health to the household and their guests.

“It’s very important which type of mood the plov is prepared with. No kinds of conflict are tolerated on the premises while the plov is being cooked,” she emphasised.

It can also serve as a tool of communal or male bonding, she continued.

“A choikhona [teahouse] plov is cooked by men who gather together for an entire day when their wives go out.  They’ve got a whole day [to make plov], no rush.”

While women cook plov for family events, it’s a male prerogative to cook plov for big feasts where more than 100 kilograms of plov might be cooked in a giant cauldron.

Indeed, plov championships are regularly held in Uzbekistan where they are viewed as a spectator sport.

“Plov championships are a matter of dignity for local cooks,” Kadyrova said. “They defend not their own honour but the honour of the whole mahallah [neighborhood]. The competition is broadcast on TV.”

“Cooks from various regions [of the country] participate,” she continued. “They are given same products. Once the time is set, each of them cooks plov his way. The general principle of plov-making is the same, but everyone has little secrets.”

Such championships are similarly popular just across the border in Tajikistan,

Last summer, Tajik president Emomali Rakhmon himself attended one plov festival in Qurganteppa in Khatlon district on August 25.

Another event held in October in Khujand in Sughd district saw 40 cauldrons employed to cook ingredients including an entire tonne of rice.

Tajik online news outlet Nezavisimoe Mnenie reported that the event included a “fastest plov eater” completion, with the winner Rustam Kholnazarov receiving a 2,000 somoni (250 USD) prize – a considerable win in a country where the average monthly wage is just 130 dollars.

A sign of plov’s potential international reach came in 2014 with the launch of Plov.com, a Moscow-based food delivery company, whose ad campaign went viral among young professionals in the Russian capital.

Offering a contemporary versions of “genuine Uzbek plov’  – including a vegetarian variety – their main slogan was ‘All You Need is Plov’ featuring the Beatles quartet in Central Asian-style hats.

Others included ‘Viva la Plov’ featuring an iconic image of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara, ‘I Wanna be Plov by You’ with Marilyn Monroe and ‘Plov Must Go On’ with Freddie Mercury.

Moscow-based Plov.com CEO Ilkhom Ismailov, who has Uzbek roots, called it “Uzbek pop-art.”

But those who claim plov as their own are often suspicious about other nations’ ability to prepare the dish.

“In Uzbekistan one tends to think that people of another ethnic grouping wouldn’t be able to cook plov the right way,” Kadyrova said.

Tajiks say they feel less bound by tradition.

“Every plov maker cooks a different plov,” said a Dushanbe-based NGO worker who asked to remain anonymous.

“In Tajikistan, chefs started experimenting with spices and adding pomegranate, quince and lemon. It’s made to distinguish a cook or an eatery from the others.”

But he added,  “I think there is a consensus among ordinary people in Tajikistan that plov is both a Tajik and an Uzbek dish.”

For Kadyrova, however, there can only be one winner.

“Unlike others, an Uzbek plov is filled with more flavour and scent,” she said. The secret ingredient, Kadyrova concluded, are Uzbekistan’s particularly flavourful carrots.

Vasilina Atoyanz-Larina is an Almaty-based reporter. Dina Tokbaeva is IWPR Central Asia editor.

This article was produced under an IWPR project called Strengthening Capacities, Bridging Divides in Central Asia, funded by the Foreign Ministry of Norway.

cabar.asia

Plov - Плов - Olga's Flavor Factory

So. I’ve been making Plov for many years and it always turned out PERFECTLY. Even my Mom ate my Plov and told me it was better than hers. She’s the best cook I know, so that’s the highest compliment for me.  I probably got too cocky. I decided to blog about it and made it over and over again and it wouldn’t cooperate with me. Ha ha. Finally, it worked.

Am I the only one this happens to? When you cook just for your family, you’re in a rush, you just throw things in the pot randomly, it turns out amazing. When you try to make the same dish and take special care, do everything perfectly, and serve it to guest, etc. all of a sudden it decides to have a mind of its own. What?

Anyway, Plov is a rice pilaf with meat, carrots, onions and spices. It’s borrowed and adopted from the Uzbek kitchen. I think every Russian family makes it. This is our type of comfort food. It’s absolutely delicious – tender chunks of meat, fluffy rice with lots of aromatic flavors given by onions, carrots and garlic. It also has several great spices to kick it up a notch. You can make it ahead of time, which is a big plus. It reheats and freezes very well, which is even better. Ingredients:

1 1/2 – 2 lbs beef chuck, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1/4-1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil

2 onions, chopped

3-4 carrots, peeled and julienned into matchsticks, or shredded

1 1/2-1 3/4 cups water, for braising

salt

freshly ground black pepper

2-4 dry bay leaves

1-2 teaspoons cumin

1-2 teaspoons paprika

3 cups long grain rice

1 garlic head

4 cups water, hot, when cooking the rice

Instructions:

Cut the beef, about 1 1/2 lbs, into 3/4-1/2 inch chunks. It really depends on how big you like your meat. I like it medium sized, so that’s the size I use.

Traditionally, lamb is used in Plov. I prefer the taste of beef. You can also use chicken, but if you do, use dark meat, not chicken breast.

Blot the meat dry using a paper towel.

Why? Because the meat needs to sear (get really nicely brown). If you put it in wet, first of all it will splatter in the hot oil and second of all, it will start to steam instead of sear. The golden brown meat will give an awesome flavor to the whole dish. 

Using a dutch oven or a large pot, heat about 1/4-1/3 cup of oil over high heat until it’s smoking hot.

You should have enough oil to generously cover the bottom of the dutch oven.

Add the meat to the oil, and cook for 7-10 minutes, until the meat has a deep golden brown color. Reduce the heat to medium and add the two chopped onions to the dutch oven. Cook for 5-7 minutes more, until the onions are tender and slightly golden. Add the shredded or julienned carrots, stir to combine and season with salt, pepper, dry bay leaf, paprika and cumin.

Instead of shredding the carrots, you can julienne the carrots or cut them into strips. It’s really up to you.

The cumin and paprika will add a lovely golden color to the Plov. They are both very aromatic and punch some real flavor into the finished dish.

Cover the beef, onions and carrots with about 1 1/2 -1 3/4 cups of water, enough to barely cover them. Cover with a lid and simmer for about 45 minutes – 1 hour, until the beef is tender.

Don’t skip this step, since the meat will be rubbery and chewy if you don’t give it enough time to cook into tender and moist chunks.

Meanwhile, if you want an extra precaution, rinse the rice in water, until the water runs clear. I place the rice in a fine mesh sieve and place it over a bowl, fill it with water, rinse, pour out and repeat about 5 times.

The point is to get rid of an extra starch that is on the rice. Starch will make the rice sticky, and for this dish we are trying to achieve fluffy rice, where each granule is separate.

When I use basmati rice, it cooks a little bit quicker than regular long grain white rice. If you use the plain long grain rice, cover it with boiling water and let it stand it in while the beef, onions and carrots are simmering.

This will help to ensure that the rice cooks all the way through. Basmati doesn’t need the extra soaking in hot water, otherwise it will overcook and turn into mush. I don’t even rinse basmati rice or steep it in hot water either.  When the beef is tender, drain the water from the rice (if you’re soaking it) and place the rice on top of the the beef, onions and carrots. DON’T mix them together. Spread the rice out evenly, and pour in about 4 cups of hot, or boiling water. Season with salt.

Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to medium high heat and keep cooking it, uncovered, until most of the water is absorbed. Insert a whole garlic head into the rice, make a few holes in the rice, to help the water cook out faster, (I use the handle of a long wooden spoon to create the holes, cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and cook for another 10-15 minutes, just until the rice is cooked through.

At this point, take out the roasted garlic and mix the whole dish, to incorporate the beef, onion, and carrots with the rice.

You can press some of the roasted garlic through a garlic press and add it to the rice, or used the roasted garlic in flavored butters, Garlic Bread, etc. Plov freezes very well too, so you can make a large batch and freeze the extra portions.

To reheat, thaw the Plov, and heat it up, either in the microwave or in a skillet. I like adding a little bit of grated cheese to leftover Plov when I’m reheating it in a skillet. The cheese melts, and becomes a little crisp in some places and adds creaminess and crispness to the dish.

Plov

 

Total time

2 hours 10 mins

 

Author: Olga's Flavor Factory

Recipe type: Entree

  • 1½ - 2 lbs beef chuck, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • ¼-1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3-4 carrots, peeled and julienned into matchsticks, or shredded
  • 1½-1¾ cups water, for braising
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-4 dry bay leaves
  • 1-2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1-2 teaspoons paprika
  • 3 cups long grain rice
  • 1 garlic head
  • 4 cups water, hot, when cooking the rice
  1. Cut the beef, about 1½ lbs, into ¾-1/2 inch chunks. Blot the meat dry using a paper towel.
  2. Using a dutch oven or a large pot, heat about ¼-1/3 cup of oil over high heat until it's smoking hot. You should have enough oil to generously cover the bottom of the dutch oven.
  3. Add the meat to the oil, and cook for 7-10 minutes, until the meat has a deep golden brown color.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and add the 2 chopped onions to the dutch oven. Cook for 5-7 minutes more, until the onions are tender and slightly golden.
  5. Add the shredded carrots, stir to combine and season with salt, pepper, dry bay leaf, paprika and cumin. Cook for about 5 more minutes, until the carrots also become tender. Instead of shredding the carrots, you can julienne the carrots or cut them into sticks, as thick or thin as you like.
  6. Cover the beef, onions and carrots with about 1½ -1¾ cups of water, enough to barely cover them. Cover with a lid and simmer for about 45 minutes - 1 hour, until the beef is tender.
  7. Meanwhile, if you want an extra precaution, rinse the rice in water, until the water runs clear.
  8. When I use basmati rice, it cooks a little bit quicker than regular long grain white rice. If you use the plain long grain rice, cover it with boiling water and let it stand it in while the beef, onions and carrots are simmering. This will help to ensure that the rice cooks all the way through. I don't rinse basmati rice or steep it in hot water either.
  9. When the beef is tender, drain the water from the rice and place the rice on top of the the beef, onions and carrots. DON'T mix them together.
  10. Spread the rice out evenly, and pour in about 4 cups of hot, or boiling water. It should cover the rice by about an 1 -1½ inches. Season with salt. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, high heat and keep cooking it, uncovered, until most of the water is absorbed.
  11. Insert a whole garlic head into the rice, make a few holes in the rice, to help the water cook out faster, (I use the handle of a long wooden spoon to create the holes), cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and cook for another 10-15 minutes, just until the rice is cooked through.
  12. At this point, take out the roasted garlic and mix the whole dish, to incorporate the beef, onion, and carrots with the rice. You can press some of the roasted garlic through a garlic press and add it to the rice, or used the roasted garlic in flavored butters, garlic bread, etc.
  13. Plov freezes very well too, so you can make a large batch and freeze the extra portions. To reheat, thaw the Plov, and heat it up, either in the microwave or in a skillet. I like adding a little bit of grated cheese to leftover Plov when I'm reheating it in a skillet. The cheese melts, and becomes a little crisp in some places and adds creaminess and crispness to the dish.

3.3.3077

www.olgasflavorfactory.com


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