Uzbek Pilaf is a rice, meat and vegetable dish that is said to originate from the country of Uzbekistan in Central Asia. Legend has it that Alexander the Great ate pilaf during the conquest of Samarkand in the region of Uzbekistan during his many conquests and brought it home to Europe. Whether Alexander the Great was the first European to taste Uzbek Pilaf or not, the food eventually spread far and wide all across Asia and into Europe.
Uzbek Pilaf is the national dish of the country of Uzbekistan. You will find many variations of Pilaf depending on which country and region you go. My family is from the former Soviet Republic of Belarus and I can attest that Pilaf or Plov as it is also called is one hearty and delicious dish! Find out why this dish is so popular and why it has become a national food by creating a batch yourself. It may take a while but it is well worth the time and effort your put in when it comes time for eating.
Ingredients and recipe to create Uzbek Pilaf at home
Creating Uzbek Pilaf using the traditional Uzbek is fairly simple, these are the ingredients you will need:
- Vegetable Oil or Lamb Fat
- Black Peppercorns
- Cumin Seed
- Coriander Seed
Now for the actual recipe:
1. Rinse and drain about two cups of rice. Set it aside and cover it with warm water for later use. Long grain or medium grain rice is best but you can use any kind of rice that you want. Brown or white rice is fine, it does not matter. Also clean and wash the heads of garlic and set it aside for later.
2. Heat the vegetable oil or lamb fat in a large pot until it begins to smoke but make sure it does not burn. Add about two pounds of chopped lamb cubes to the oil or fat and let it cook until it is browned. The meat should brown within 5-10 minutes. Then add 2 whole onions that have been sliced into rings and four of five grated carrots and let them cook for about 5-10 minutes. Stir frequently.
3. Once the onions have turned translucent and the carrots have softened sprinkle about two tablespoons each of cumin and coriander seed. These are spices readily available at any supermarket. Also add about a teaspoon of whole black peppercorns. Finally drop three or four whole garlic heads into the meat and vegetable mixture. Stir will so the spices mix throughout the meat and vegetable mixture. Cover the pot and let it cook over low to medium heat for about 20-30 minutes occasionally stirring.
4. Add the rice you set aside earlier to the mixture. Then, very important add enough boiling water to cover the rice. Season with as much salt as you desire and let the rice cook until it is tender. Once the rice has been cooked and all the water has been absorbed you can turn the heat off and stir the meat, vegetables, spices and rice. Serve while warm and enjoy this hearty central Asian dish.