Plov or Osh is considered to be the national dish of both Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. This dish is made in giant pots called Kazan and served in markets all over. It is believed that only men are the masters of preparing plov. There is a saying that the one who has managed to cook a real plov, will be able to cook any other dish. In Uzbekistan a man should be able to make a plov to feed 1000 people.
I loved making this plov dish, it truly is a scrumptious meal. There are hundreds of variations and I am certain each family has their own beloved plov recipe. There is an old Turkish saying “There are as much kinds of Plov as there cities in the Muslim world are.”
This recipe has lamb, onions, carrots and a little dried berry called a barberry which I had never tried before. I found it here. It is called Zereshk and is wildly harvested and full of antioxidants. It tastes similar to a dried cranberry which would be a fine substitute if you want. I always love trying new things and try to be as authentic as possible.
Uzbek plov is unique, as the rice is simmered in a broth of meat and vegetables called zirvak. It simmers until all the liquid evaporates. Uzbeks believe this method keeps the rice tender and full of flavor without it being soggy.
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Plov (The National dish of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan
- 1 lb leg of lamb boneless , cut into bite size pieces
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1 head garlic whole
- 1 large onion thinly sliced
- 2 large carrots cut into thin matchsticks
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- ½ cup barberry zereshk
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon oil
- Place the basmati rice in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside.
- Wash the garlic head. Cut about a quarter inch off the top to expose the cloves. Set aside.
- Lightly toast cumin, coriander seeds and peppercorns in a pan for a few minutes. (Take care that they do not burn)
- Grind using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large dutch oven over high heat. Add the lamb pieces, stir occasionally until the lamb is browned all around.
- Remove the lamb pieces and set aside.
- Stir in onions and cook, until onion is soft and golden, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in carrots and cook, until carrots are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add the lamb and mix.
- Sprinkle the mixture of cumin, coriander, peppercorns and add the barberries.
- Add the whole garlic head, mix well. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.
- Wash and drain the basmati rice. Pour the rice over the lamb mixture in an even layer.
- Slowly pour the vegetable broth in. The rice should be covered in liquid by about ½ inch. Do not stir.
- Season with salt and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes.
- Mix the ingredients as you serve the dish on a platter. Garnish with the garlic head.