This is a classic recipe for a loved-by-everyone Uzbek Plov, also called Pilaf. My simple photo instructions will help you cook it to perfection.
Uzbek Plov recipe is popular far beyond the borders of Uzbekistan. Growing up in Ukraine, we cooked it almost every week, and it is also loved by so many other nationalities. Simple, easy-to-find ingredients and outstanding taste have made this dish popular worldwide. So, thank you, Uzbekistan, for creating such a delicious recipe!
Uzbek Plov Video Recipe
What kind of rice to use for plov
Before we start cooking, I'd like to mention that I always make it with Basmati rice. After trying several kinds of rice I find Basmati works best in this recipe. You can also use medium or long-grain white rice if that's what you have on hand, although the cooking time may change slightly.
What kind of meat to use for plov
Traditionally, Uzbek Plov is made with lamb meat. Beef, pork, or even chicken could be used as a substitute. When trying to choose the best meat cut, just go for the cuts that have a good amount of fat in them, such as chuck, ribs, shanks, or even oxtail.
What you'll need
- Oil. It's best to use neutral-tasting oil. I used grapeseed oil. Canola, avocado, or olive oil are great, too.
- Veggies. We'll use a lot of onions and carrots.
- Meat. Lamb meat is best. Beef, pork, or even dark chicken meat can be used instead if desired.
- Rice. Long-grain rice is best. I used Basmati.
- Garlic. Whole head garlic will be cooked in the broth. Yum!
- Spices. Cumin and coriander seeds, coriander powder, salt, and pepper.
How to make Uzbek Plov
1. Prep the veggies and meat. Peel the onions and cut them into half rounds. Peel the carrots and cut them into medium sticks. Cut the meat into medium pieces.
2. Heat oil in the dutch oven, or kettle, on a very high flame and add the onions. Cook the onions for 5-7 minutes until they start to brown and add the lamb meat. Cook the meat for 10 minutes on high heat.
3. Add carrots and keep cooking for 10 more minutes. Add cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil.
4. Peel some of the skin off the garlic head and slice the top off, exposing the garlic cloves. Add the garlic to the meat, reduce heat to medium-low, cover with a lid and cook for about 1 hour. Meanwhile, wash the rice thoroughly. Taste the liquid for salt and adjust if necessary. Add the rice and spread it out evenly.
5. Add 3 more cups of water, reduce heat to low, cover the dutch oven with a lid and cook for 25-30 minutes. At the end of the cooking time, check if the water has been absorbed fully, and, if not, let it cook a little longer. Once ready, let it rest for 15 minutes before serving.
Tips to make the best Plov
- Use Dutch Oven. Dutch ovens have a good supporting base that conducts heat well, and the tightly sealed lid will help the pilaf to cook properly.
- Use Lamb Meat. If you want to get the most authentic flavor, use lamb meat. It gives a special aroma that's unique to Uzbek plov.
- Don't Stir Too Often. Be patient while cooking. It's ok to stir occasionally, but don't overdo it, because the rice will end up mushy.
- Get the right seasonings. Adding cumin and coriander seeds really helps to bring out the flavors in the pilaf.
What to serve with plov
- Salad. Serve this tasty and elegant dish with a fresh green salad tossed with grape or cherry tomatoes and a simple vinaigrette dressing. You may also try this Uzbek tomato salad called Achuchuk.
- Veggies. While the plov is cooking I like to roast some veggies in the oven and serve them alongside the main dish. This Easy Baked Cabbage pairs with plov really well!
- Pickled Cabbage. Plov tastes amazing with pickled cabbage on the side. Try my Easy Pickled Cabbage recipe and see for yourself!
How to Store and Reheat
Store it in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat on the stovetop, adding a splash of water to help the rice heat through.
How to Freeze Plov
It’s a good idea to freeze this plov in portions that you would normally use for one or two meals. I freeze my plov in reusable plastic containers, to help reduce plastic waste. Ziplock bags work, too.
Even though it looks like a lot of work, it is really not hard to cook this delicious Uzbek dinner. There is a reason why this Plov is so beloved all over the world, and I hope you'll give it a try. Enjoy!
You'll also love these tasty rice dishes:
Uzbek Plov (Lamb Pilaf)
- Prep the veggies and meat. Peel the onions and cut them into half rounds. Peel the carrots and cut them into medium sticks. Cut the meat into medium pieces.
- Heat oil in the Dutch oven, or kettle, on a very high flame and add the onions. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally for 5-7 minutes, and add the lamb and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Now, add the carrots. Keep cooking for 10 more minutes. Add cumin, coriander, salt, pepper and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil.
- Peel some of the skin off the garlic head and slice the top off, exposing the garlic cloves, and then add it to the meat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover with lid and cook for about 1 hour. Meanwhile, wash the rice thoroughly.
- Taste the liquid for salt and adjust if necessary. Add the rice and spread it out evenly.
- Add 3 cups of boiling water, reduce heat to low, cover the dutch oven with lid and cook for 25-30 minutes. At the end of cooking time, check if the water has been absorbed fully, and, if not, let it cook a little longer. Once ready, let it rest for 15 minutes before serving.