Uzbek plov (pilaf)

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When I was a kid growing up in Russia plov was one of my favorite comfort foods. My mom makes it so delicious. Plov is a traditional dish of Uzbekistan that is made with lamb meat. I decided to veganize this dish and it was a success. It came out with the right consistency, not sticky and slightly chewy, and so aromatic. Another reason why I wanted to make plov is to use my brand new cast iron Dutch oven. I wanted one for so long and finally got it. It make me so happy because I absolutely adore anything made of cast iron (including building columns in Soho in NYC). It just has so much history in it.

Without further ado, here is the recipe.

Serving: 6-8

Ingredients:

3 cups of short or long grain rice (I used organic short grain brown rice), rinsed and drained

2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped

3 medium carrots, julienne cut

1/4 cup vegetable oil (canola, sunflower, avocado, grapeseed. Do not use extra virgin olive oil)

2 cans chickpeas, drained (or 1 cup dry chickpeas, soaked over night)

6 cups water

2 heads of garlic

2 tsp cumin seeds (or ground – 1 tsp)

2 tsp coriander seeds (or 1 tsp ground)

1-2 whole red chilly peppers

2 tbsp dried barberries, Sadaf Zereshk (or use goji berries instead)

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Salt to taste

Parsley for garnish

On a medium heat saute onions in all of the vegetable oil – couple minutes. Add carrots and cook for another couple minutes. Add all the spices, chilies and barberries. Mix and cook for another couple of minutes.

If you are using dry and soaked chickpeas then throw them in now, and add 2 cups of water. Bring it to boil.

*** If you are using canned chickpeas, then skip the step above – you would add them about 10 minutes before plov is done cooking.

Gently pour all the rice over cooked veggies and spices – DO NOT MIX! Add water and salt. Gently bury garlic heads inside the mixture. They should be fully submerged.

Reduce heat to simmer, cover dutch oven with a lid and let it cook. How fast it is going to cook depends on your rice type. I would check it half way and see if rice needs more water, you don’t want it to stick too much to the bottom/burn. Add canned chickpeas (if using).

Once rice is cooked, and all liquid is evaporated, turn off the heat and mix plov. Garnish with parsley. That’s it, folks. Your plov is ready! Enjoy the buttery creamy garlic inside your delicious plov. Xoxo