Plov ( Pilaf) is one of my favorite rice dishes. This is something you absolutely have to try. The recipe was given to me by a neighbor from Uzbekistan. It is a crown food of Uzbek cuisine. They serve it for weddings, funerals and just as a treat for guests. There are a lot of varieties of Plov in Uzbek cuisine.
Ferganskiy Plov is really tasty and fun to make .
Time to make: 1.5 - 2 hours
Skill level: intermediate

You will need:
1 and 1/2 cup of oil
2lb of lamb (beef or pork is acceptable as well)
a few pieces of lamb chops or ribs from rack of lamb
2lb carrots
4 onions 
1 and 1/2 tablespoon of salt
2 tablespoons of cumin
2 liters of water
2lb of any long grain rice ( I have used Basmati)
2 whole garlic cloves
2-3 chili peppers

To make a plov they usually use "Kazan"- a special type of cast iron pot with round bottom, but even a regular dutch oven will do the job.

First you have to peel and chop 3 onions and leave one whole.You will need to shred the carrot, do not cut it too thin.Wash rice thoroughly until the water is clear and keep it covered in warm slightly salted water. Cut your lamb meat into the neat cubic pieces 2x2x2" or so

You will need to preheat your "Kazan" and pour your oil in it, once you see light blue smoke coming out of it, put one whole onion in it and fry it on different sides, until it is brown, then throw it away. This is done so you will not have a smell or weird taste from the oil.

 Once it is over, put your lamb chops in it for 5 minutes or so, stirring it occasionally. Take it out and set it aside , we are going to use it later.

It is time to fry our sliced onions.

 Stir fry onions , until these are golden brown color. We are now ready to add our cut pieces of lamb.

We fry our meat, until a reddish crust appears on the sides of it. Don't just dump it in the pot, slide it on the side, since sides are really hot, it will fry really fast. Later you can mix it at the bottom with your onions.

Once this is done, you can cover everything with your carrots.

 Let it stand for a few minutes, then mix everything up stir frying it for about 20 minutes or so. Add a tablespoon full of cumin.

Add about a liter of boiling water, to cover everything up. It is time to add your garlic, chili peppers and lamb chops that you have cooked in the beginning . Bring everything quickly to a boil, then turn the fire down to be very small. If making it over the wood in the stove, take the wood pieces out, leave only some glowing charcoal. Add a tablespoon and a half of salt. Let it stew and boil over slow fire for 25-30 minutes.

This is called "zirvak", you can actually make it in advance and keep it refrigerated to make  "plov" by just adding rice in steps described below any time you guests are about to arrive, cutting preparation  time  in half.

The most crucial moment in making "plov" is adding the rice.

Make a big fire again. We drain water from our rice, place it on the top of "zirvak" and flatten it with a ladle. Pour about a liter of boiling water to cover the rice.The water should cover the rice at the high of the first joint of forefinger, and quickly bring it to a boil. It needs to boil, until all of the water is evaporated.

Once this is done, add another tablespoon of cumin on the top and cover the pot with a lid, make the smallest fire possible and let it cook for another 25 minutes or so.

Lift the lid up, and mix everything up. Your plov is ready to be served.
"Plov" is considered to be great if it crumbles and rice grains do not stick to each other too much. It should be eaten with spoons

Enjoy !


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