(12) Uzbekistan – Plov

Urungach Lake. Source: People’s Daily

Welcome to our sixth week cooking every country! I start the week of in the beautiful Uzbekistan (roughly translating to Land of the Free from Turkish/Persian). It is a landlocked country meaning it does not border any oceans or seas. It was the center of the Silk Road which was what connected Europe, China and and the Middle East together. Additionally, Uzbekistan did not become an independent country from Russia until 1991.

The meal I will be recreating from this country is called Plov (or palov osh). It is very similar to rice pilaf and is the national dish of Uzbekistan. The dishes name actually is an acronym for it’s ingredients: P-piyoz (onion),  a – ayoz (carrot),  l – lakhm (meat),  о – olio (fat),  v – vet (salt),  о – ob (water),  sh – shali (rice).

There are various varieties (upwards of 60) which depends on which region of the country you are in. Common ingredients that make up the base of all plovs are rice, mutton/lamb, carrots, and spices. One other meat that can be found as a substitute is kazi or horse meat sausage.

It is so easy to make your own veggie broth!

Plov was first created back in the 10th and 11th centuries for weddings and other big events. At this time only the high class could afford to eat it, but in present day it is adored by all classes and tourists alike. It can be made for weddings, holidays, or on a daily basis which will predict how grand the dish will be.

I used this straight forward recipe for this meal. We loved the new blend of flavors (especially the currants/raisins)! We feel that there could have been more seasoning (I added more after the fact) to let the ingredients come to life. Also after cooking lamb a few times now we have discovered that we aren’t huge fans of the flavor.. in the future we will be substituting the beef equivalent (much cheaper too). We rated this dish 6-6.5/10, it would be higher with beef and more seasoning.

Tomorrow I break out the Instant Pot to make Ropa Vieja from Cuba!

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