Modified Uzbeck Plov (Pilaf)

I was given a recipe for Uzbek Plov by a man from Uzbekistan who was visiting the US in the late 1980s. He cooked and shared his plov with me in order to share his culture with me. And I loved the plov! But I could never make plov with great results the way that he did it. So over the years I played with the recipe until I feel I finally have it just right.

In Uzbekistan, plov is served on special occasions, such as weddings. The recipes are often rich mixtures of dried fruit, nuts, chickpeas and spices. Simple plov is usually made with rice, carrots, onions and spices. If meat is to be added, they usually add lamb. Chickpeas are often used in place of meat, while some recipes use both. Truth be told, my favorite plov recipe (below) leaves out the chickpeas. –jimcassio


2 c short-grain brown rice
2 Tbsp sliced almonds
1 large onion (diced)
4 medium carrots (grated)
2 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp golden raisins
2 Tbsp sweetener (our choice is usually Agave nectar)
1 tsp Cumin
Salt & pepper
Pam cooking spray (or use veggie stock)

Cook rice and almonds separately (according to the directions on rice). No, this is not how they do it in Uzbekistan. That’s why I call this Modified Uzbek Plov!

In a covered, deep and nonstick fry (or saute) pan, first spray with Pam and get it hot (7 out of 10). Then saute the onion and garlic. After 4 min, add the carrots and cook covered for 10 min, stirring often. Then add the raisins, sweetener and cumin. Mix and cook covered for 5 more min. Now add the cooked rice and almonds, and add 3/4 c hot water (give or take). The amount of water you add depends somewhat on how much liquid was included with the rice. (The 3/4 c of hot water assumes your rice has absorbed all of its water.) Now mix and cook covered for 15 min at low-to-medium heat (4 out of 10). Remove from heat and salt & pepper to taste. Should be sweet more so than salty, but you can adjust the seasonings to suite your taste.

Serves 4 hungry people!

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