Plov is a very popular, historic Uzbek dish. Also referred to as “pilaf” or “palov”, it’s made up of long grain rice, tender chunks of lamb, onions, and carrots. In this recipe, you’ll learn how to make this traditional dish in no time.
What is Plov?
Plov to Uzbekis is like pasta to Italians. Considered Uzbekistan’s national dish, it’s a source of delicious pride throughout the country and everyone has their own spin on it. Because it’s so simple to prepare, plov is often served at large gatherings, such as weddings, holiday parties, and birthdays.
If you’re unfamiliar with Uzbekistan, it’s a Central Asian nation that sits at the border of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. A former Soviet republic and a stopping point on the Silk Road (the ancient trading route between China and the Mediterranean), the country boasts a delicious cuisine that has been influenced by many different cultures over the centuries. Plov is a perfect example of Uzbekistan’s rich food history.
In this recipe, you’ll tap the powers of the dutch oven to get the most flavorful plov possible. Get ready for an irresistibly savory smell to waft from your kitchen. Bonus: This entire dish is made in just one pot.
Best Meat to Use for Plov
Traditionally, plov is best made with lamb. Its rich and savory flavors are signature to the dish. However, many also like to use beef. Below, find the best cuts to use for plov:
- Lamb (most traditional and recommended): Bone-in pork shoulder, bone-in leg, or sirloin chop (the marrow from the bone adds a wonderful, fatty flavor)
- Beef: Short ribs, ribeye, New York Strip, stew meat, or chuck roast
Hot Tip: If you have the time, salt your meat overnight. Season it on both sides, pop it into a bowl, and cover it with plastic wrap. This will tenderize and infuse flavor into the meat.
How to Make Uzbek Plov
Making Uzbek plov only requires a handful of wholesome ingredients and a bit of legwork. Most of the magic is done in the Dutch oven, which perfectly fluffs the rice and tenderizes the meat.
- Prep the Meat and Veggies: Cut the meat into cubes, slice carrots, and dice onions.
- Brown the Meat: In a preheated Dutch oven, use tongs to brown the sides of the meat.
- Cook the Veggies: Add onions and carrots to the Dutch oven, sautéing until the onions turn translucent.
- Add Rice and Seasoning: Add long grain rice and bay leaves to the Dutch oven, stirring until ingredients are evenly distributed, and toasting the rice slightly. Slice off the top of a head of garlic and place the entire head inside the Dutch oven. Add water and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Cook and Cover: Allow the plov to come to a simmer. Turn the heat down low, pop the lid on, and cook for an additional 40-50 minutes.
- Serve: Serve warm alongside pickled veggies or salad.
Tips to Make the Best Uzbek Plav
Below, find the top tips to making the best, most authentic Uzbek Plav:
- Using a dutch oven is a must. A Dutch oven is essential for this dish. It tenderizes the meat and really brings out the best flavors.
- Don’t skip browning the meat. Brown the meat until it has a golden brown color on all sides. This will not only enhance the texture of the plov, but it will also create a richer, meatier taste.
- Rinse the rice before cooking. Run the rice under cold water in a colander a few times to remove any excess starch. This will prevent the rice from turning mushy.
- Toast the rice slightly. Once you add the long grain rice to the pan, take a few minutes to toast it. This will bring out its fragrant flavors and also help it keep its texture as it cooks in the broth.
- Use a whole garlic head versus individual cloves. Cooking plov with an entire garlic head is not only traditional, it also yields the most flavor. It also makes for such a lovely presentation.
- Use a sharp knife to cut carrots. Carrots can be one of the tougher veggies to slice. Invest in a sharp knife to prevent slippage.
Serving Uzbek Plov
Uzbek plov is perfect for lunch or dinner. It’s also a wonderful dish to make for your next dinner party, as it serves a lot of people, requires minimal clean-up, and is ultra filling. Keep it traditional by serving plov alongside vinegary pickles. It’s hard to explain how satisfying this combination is! The savoriness of the dish is also complimented nicely by a cabbage salad.
Are pilaf and pulao same?
Yes, pilaf and pulao are the same. There are many different names for pilaf-style dishes all across the globe, but the essential recipe remains the same – broth, meat, veggies, and long grain rice.
What’s the best rice for plov?
Long grain rice is the best for plov. The grains are long and slender, and they contain a type of starch that prevents the from sticking and turning to mush.
Should I rinse the rice for plov?
You should always rinse your rice before making plov. This removes excess starch and yields rice with more texture.
Storing Leftover Plov
- Refrigerating: Refrigerate leftover plov by storing it in an airtight container in the fridge. It should stay fresh for up to a week.
- Freezing: Freeze leftover plov by storing it in a freezer-safe storage bag. It will stay fresh for up to three months.
Reheating Tip: Reheat plov in a skillet with a bit of butter or oil. You could also zap it in the microwave with a bit of water to help the rice rehydrate.
More Rice Recipes to Try:
- Lazy Cabbage Rice Stew – Healthy cabbage and rice stew
- Creamy Cauliflower Rice Pilaf – Low-carb pilaf
- Slow-Cooker Beef And Barley Pilaf – Set it and forget it pilaf
- Prepare ingredients for the recipe. Clean carrots and cut them into long slices about 1/4-inch thick. Dice onions into small pieces. Cut meat into 1-inch cubes.
- Preheat oil in the Dutch oven over high heat. Using tongs, brown the sides of the meat. Add onions and carrots and cook until the onion turns translucent and the carrots soften.
- Add rice and bay leaves to the Dutch oven. Saute for a couple of minutes. Remove a couple of the top layers of a garlic head and cut off the small part of the clove edges. Place the garlic clove inside of the rice. Cover the cooking ingredients with boiled water. The water should be filled just about 1-inch over the rice. Season with salt and pepper.
- Once it simmers, turn the heat down to very low. Cook for about 40-50 minutes. About 20 minutes into cooking, turn over the top layer of rice to promote even cooking.