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Uzbek style Plov – Pilaf

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This dish is native to most of the countries in central Asia and was spread to Russia during its soviet days. Indian cuisine has its own versions as well. As with any dish such as this, there are countless variations and many different names. In this recipe we use pork; in my family we prefer pork over lamb. However, authentic plov will always use lamb. Just note that the meat will cook differently than pork.

Ingredients

  • 0.5 pork shoulder (1-2lbs) (cut up into 1 inch cubes, save the bone)
  • 3 cups rice (washed)
  • 3 onions (sliced)
  • 3 peeled carrots (coarsely chopped, 1 inch long thick strips)
  • 0.5 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 whole heads of garlic (washed but not peeled).
  • Salt, pepper, spices to taste
  • 1 large Dutch oven (you really need an iron pot with a thick bottom)

Directions

Preparation of plov requires a lot of attention; otherwise you will burn the meat and the veggies. Therefore, make sure you have the time to invest into the preparation.

Start by heating the vegetable oil in the Dutch oven until it just starts to let off smoke.

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Place the bone you cut out of the pork shoulder into the hot oil and fry on both sides until what’s left of the meat turns red-brown.

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Pull the bone out and discard. Throw the carrots and onions into the hot oil and stir thoroughly. Cook until the onions just start to caramelize on the outside.

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You should already have the pork prepared by this point. Make sure to trim off any excess fat.  Throw the meat into Dutch oven.

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Stir thoroughly and do not allow to burn. Add 1 tbs of salt, it’s not too much, you’ll be adding rice to this later. Set the heat to medium-high and allow to cook, it can take up to an hour. Stir every few minutes to make sure the meat is cooking thoroughly. The meat and the veggies will release a lot of water, and by the end of the cooking process it should all be almost submerged in it. If for some reason you’re boiling off a lot of water, don’t be afraid to add some. The pork has to be almost completely cooked and the onions will almost gone.

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Now pour the washed rice over the meat. DON’T STIR. It is important for the rice to sit on top. Use a large spoon to spread the rice evenly over the top of the meat.

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Add water to the Dutch oven, slowly, to add about an inch of water to the top of the rice. It should take several cups of water.

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Bring to a boil and lower the heat to simmer. With the Dutch oven uncovered, let the rice cook, after a while the water will be almost gone. Now here’s the important step, as soon as the water completely disappears from the surface (no more bubbles). Quickly use a spoon to make about 7-9 holes and add a table spoon of water to each hole.

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Cover up the holes by spreading the rice over them. Now take the heads of garlic and carefully insert them on the sides of the pot under the rice.

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Now, even out the rice at the top of the Dutch oven, cover it, and let it cook on the lowest heat possible for an additional 30 minutes.

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Once done, discard the garlic. To serve, use a big spoon or ladle to grab rice, meat, and veggies at the same time.

Enjoy!

3 Comments

  1. julia says:

    Can’t wait to try it!

  2. Jessica says:

    I have had this, served by a Russian/German friend, but I believe it was a simplified version. It had all the ingredients but I think she stirred it all together and just baked it in the oven.
    On a side note, their family sometimes uses bear meat instead of pork.

  3. Vitaly (from Kyrgyzstan) says:

    Hello,
    Great web-site! Thanks!

    However for this specific recipe I have to add the following details:
    1. Uzbek style plov can not be done with PORK. Never. You should call it Russian style plov. (Uzbeks do not eat pork, as many other Muslims).
    2. The plov you have on the pictute (top of the message) is not made quite well. Real Uzbek style pilov must look dry. You should see rice as separate particles. Rice should be able to spread. In Central Asia if plov does not look right (like the one you have on the picture) it called “Rice Kasha (slush) with meat” (risovaya kasha s myasom).
    3. For best plov you should use specific type of rice. It is very important. Use some of Basmatic rice sold in many stores in N.America.
    4. There you should have some specific spices. Real Uzbek style plov can not be without those spices. Otherwise it is not Uzbek Style.

    Change name, or consult with real Uzbek (male) who can cook the real plov.
    I had been to Tashkent and we eat plov for Breakfast Lunch and Dinner!

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