Palov - Main Dish With Rice, Meat, Raisins and Carrots Recipe (Uzbekistan) - Global Storybook

Palov – Traditional Rice With Meat Dish From Samarkand

Fikrat Tuychiev

Fikrat Tuychiev

Fikrat Tuychiev is the Local Contributing Writer at Global Storybook (Uzbekistan).

I was born and raised in one of the most ancient cities in the world - Samarkand. I love my city, our culture, and traditions. I also like sharing our customs, national recipes, and attractions with other people.

My dream is to travel all over the world while making new friends and learning more about different cultures. My recent trip to the USA was one of the best learning experiences ever.
Fikrat Tuychiev

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Palov is considered to be a king in the central Asian cuisine, and it actually belongs to several regions and nations.  Furthermore, there are more than a thousand different variations of this divine dish.

I am going to share with you the most famous and classic recipe of Palov, from my own city, Samarkand.  Please note – in addition to being a multi-national dish, Palov is also a muti-regional recipe.  Which means that it can greatly differ in taste as well as its ingredients by regions even in Uzbekistan.  Also, most Western societies will probably find Palov to be a heavy dish, though it is usually served as a main course.

The Ingredients (for up to 8 servings): 

  • 1 kg (2 pounds) rice
  • 4-5 large carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 1 kg (2 pounds) beef, lamb or both
  • cumin
  • sunflower oil or olive oil
  • 1 red paper
  • 1 fresh black paper
  • 0.5 kg (1 pound) seedless white raisins
  • a pinch of  salt

How to make a Traditional Uzbek Palov:

Palov - Main Dish With Rice, Meat, Raisins and Carrots Recipe (Uzbekistan) - Global StorybookThe preparation of this dish is super easy, yet it involves a little more time than most other continental recipes.

1. First, slice the carrots into the shape of straw, and chop the onion into half circles.  Next, cut the beef or lamb meat into large slices, while preheating oil in a pan.  Fry the meat cuts until they turn red.

2. Once the meat turns red, add the onion slices and fry them until they look golden-brown.  I prefer to use lamb since when I add the onions, an amazing aroma comes out.

3. Add a handful of carrots and fry them for a few minutes.  Then take another handful – place them under the meat, and lower the heat.

4. Place the rest of your carrots on top of the meat.  Then add a few cups of boiled water with the cumin, raisins, both peppers, and season everything with a bit of salt.  Cover the dish and leave it to simmer for 20-25 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, take out the rice and season it with 3 teaspoons of salt.  Pour some cold water on top, mix it with rice and leave for 20 minutes.  The water should cover the rice fully.

6. Wash the rice to remove its salt with warm water.  Add some boiled water, which should cover the rice with around 0.5cm remaining on top.  Then add the rice to the meat and turn the heat to the max, bringing the mixture to the boil.  You can also add a bit more salt, if needed, by tasting the rice’s water.

7. After the water level drops – you need to make small holes in the rice with the opposite end of a spoon or a fork, to control the water.

8. After there is little or no water left, you need to lower the heat to a minimum and cover the pan with a lid.  The steam should stay in for another 10-15 minutes.

9. Finally, taste the rice – if it’s soft and has a pleasant texture then take it out since it’s ready to be served.  If it’s still hard – leave it for another 5-10 minutes.  Also, take out the carrots and add them to the rice; be careful not to mix them. Then take the meat out, and cut it into small cubes then place them on top of the rice.

Please note – you should serve the Palov on a large plate.  Also, we don’t mix it with anything else in Samarkand.

Enjoy it!

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