This post has been 'slow cooking' for a while, if you'll pardon the pun. 'Plov' is one of the national dishes of Uzbekistan, (as in other parts of Central Asia) and, as I discovered is a variation of pilau (or pilaf - or any number of different spellings...) Essentially a flavoursome, spiced rice dish with a little meat, chicken or various vegetables. (Recipe and details further on...)
(A simple clay cooking stove found all over the area.)
The night of the Suzani demonstration in Bukhara we were also treated to a traditional 'Plov' cooking demonstration - and then we got to eat it......of course.
In the family courtyard as we entered the home this fuel stove set up and simmering away.
The first part of the process was well under way and at this point the whole garlic cloves were being removed ready for the next step.
The raisins were added to one side.....
Then previously soaked rice was added on top and smoothed over.
All that was left for us to do was to start on our salads, bread and soup, then enjoy a homecooked meal (as demonstrated by Brett.....)
On Saturday night I had a go at cooking Plov for some friends who were also prepared to submit to a 'slide show' of the trip -in fact, they requested it, or so they said. (It has been famously said that 'there's no such thing as a free meal' - or words to that effect. Maybe they really just wanted the Plov???)
(Some of my Uzbek salads.)
My bread - looked and tasted much better than that in real life......at least I got a chance to try out my stamp.
....... and the Plov? In the excitement of the moment I forgot to photograph it but it looked impressive on my great-grandmother's platter and tasted delicious - if I do say so myself......all I can offer you is leftovers - which we will be eating for a while yet. (And there is more in the freezer.....)
The recipe given to us makes a LARGE quantity - enough for a tour group of 18 perhaps. It would be a fabulous addition to a buffet or meal catering for a big crowd. Make sure you have a really big pot / dish to cook it in. I also think it would work well in a slow cooker.
'Plov' (Recipe given to us but with my annotations)
500g meat (lamb (or mutton) is the most appropriate and traditional but any meat, chicken can be used. Being Australian, I used more meat than stated.)
1kg rice (basmati or similar type)
1 large onion
whole garlic bulbs (not peeled)
250ml oil (I used far less. They apparently use a combination of 4 oils including cottonseed oil)
Salt, pepper, spices (esp saffron and cumin), raisins (guess - to taste) and water
1. Heat oil in a large (they're not joking) cauldron and fry meat until brown.
2. Then fry the chopped onion strips.
3. Cut carrots into large slices (or strips). Add the carrots in a layer over the meat.
4. Pour in a glass of water and add spices. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. (At this point I put mine into a slow oven and let the meat cook til tender - at least an hour or so.)
5. While stewing, cover the rice in boiling, salted water and soak. (20 minutes)
6. Put soaked rice on the layer of carrots, add 500ml water (it should cover the rice) and salt.
7. Cook over high heat til the water evaporates, cover and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Mix the top of the rice, cover again and allow to sit for 10 mins.
(At this point I put the rice on the top, added the water and put it back in the oven until the water was absorbed and the rice was tender, checking periodically to makesure it didn't dry out - maybe 40 mins.)
Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with chopped coriander.
(I wish I had noticed some of those tablecloths for sale......)