Real Uzbek Plov (page 2 of 2)Home >> Recipes
Remove the remaining patches of fat and discard.
Uzbek recipes always insist on using not just any lamb but Uzbek lamb. They probably have a point but where can you find it? Just use the best lamb you can. I use leg of lamb.
Heat the lamb fat in the Dutch oven until it smokes. That's right, light grey fumes like boiling water. Don't let it burn though.
Reserve the meat and cover so it won't get cold or infested with bacteria.
Heat the lamb fat remaining in the Dutch oven and pour in the sliced onions, turning frequently until soft and light brown, about 6-8 minutes. Add the ground spices and mix well for 1 more minute. Add the grated carrots and cook for 3 more minutes or until carrots are soft.
Add the reserved meat and any meat juices that escaped.
Mix well and reduce heat to medium hot.
Add 2 cups rice. Uzbek cooks insist on using rice from Uzbekistan. What does it taste like? Well, I've been able to buy a couple different types from an Uzbek grocer in Russia and was not impressed. The rice must be great when harvested in Uzbekistan, but mine actually contained live insects, so I decided to use quality local rice instead. My best results have always been with long grain parboiled rice, which cannot be overcooked. Sure, it is not the most sexy nor best tasting rice, but what's the point of doing everything by the book only to end up with overcooked rice porridge?
Serve piping hot with a garlic head for each guest.
You can also bury the roasted garlic inside the plov after you add the broth and bring the pot to the table. Some cooks add a large hot pepper to each plate. Once I tried to order plov as a side order for some roasted meat, only to have an offended cook come out the kitchen and explain passionately that eating meat with plov would destroy the delicate flavor balance. I think he was right - serious plov is like serious risotto - it is self-sufficient.
Above, a picture of a neighborhood market's butcher stall in Russia (I like my butcher better) and an Uzbek spice merchant selection of cumin seeds (zira) and rather vapid barberries.
I would be much interested in a reader could send me pictures of lamb tail fat or how plov is presented in Ubekistan.