Archive 2008 - 2019

Day 190

by Sarah R. Commerford

Here's a simple, satisfying family-friendly dish that's got lots of flavor and a nice little quick, thanks to the addition of crushed red pepper. The original recipe called for lamb, but as I was short on both time and cash, I opted to use boneless chicken thighs, which are a perfectly acceptable substitution for plov. The closest I can get to comparing this dish to American food is rice pilaf, although the cooking method for this traditional meal is quite unique and fun to make. Enjoy...


Map Courtesy of Lonely Planet

Located in Central Asia, Uzbekistan is the only country in that part of the world that is doubly land locked. It shares its borders with Kazakstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.The country was originally part of the Persian Samanid and the Timurid empire, the land was conquered in the 16th century by Uzbek nomads who spoke Eastern Turkic. Later, Uzbekistan was part of of the Soviet Union, until it gained its independence in 1991. Today, most of the population belong to the Uzbek ethnic group and speak Uzbek. Industry in this country is based on the production and mining of cotton, gold, uranium, potasium and natural gas. Although the country has made significant economic strides, many of its political and human rights policies (particulary as they related to women and reproductive rights) continue to be of concern in the larger global community.

Much Uzbek cooking has its roots in nomadic traditions. Local agriculture, farming, breads, noodles and mutton round out the country's cuisine. Palov, Osh or Plov is largely considered the most widely eaten meal enjoyed in Uzbekistan, being eaten for breakfast, at family gatherings and for cermonies and celebrations. In addition, many soups, stews, noodle-based dishes and kebabs are eaten as well. Green tea is the most popular national drink.

Basmati rice is rinsed then soaked for 30 minutes

Seasoning and Spices: Cumin, coriander, crushed red pepper, sea salt, black pepper and garlic

Thinly sliced onions and carrots

Brown onions, add garlic, chicken and carrots. Add water, then make a well and add rice.



Chicken Osh/Plov (Recipe Adapted from
2 cups Basmati rice
1-1/2 pounds chicken, cut into cubes
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 medium onions
4 carrots
4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt


Zirvak - First Step
1. Rinse rice, then soak for 30 minutes
2. Cut chicken into cubes.
3. Slice the onions thinly and cut the carrots into strips. You should about the same amount of carrots, onions, and chicken.
4. Heat a large cast-iron or metal wok with the oil.
5. Fry the onion until golden brown.
6. Add chopped garlic and lightly brown. You can alternatively put the whole cloves into the rice when you cook the rice.
7. Add chicken and fry until cubes are lightly browned.
8. Add carrots, salt, pepper, all spices (adjust to your taste), and 2 cups of water. Turn down the fire, mix well, and cover for 5 min to allow carrots to soften.

Second Step
9. Push the ingredients to the outer parts of your cooking wok/pot creating a large hole in the centre which will be filled with liquid.
10. Carefully add your rice to the centre of the pot. Do not mix it with the rest of the ingredients. Try to fit most of it in the centre "hole".
11. Add another 1.5 cups of water, cover the pot and allow to simmer until the rice is cooked and water has been dried up. This will take approximately 30 minute.
12. Stir the entire mixture well and serve on a hearty plate or bowl. Top with spring onions. It goes well with a side-serving of salad, tomatoes, and bread. Naan or other type of flat bread would be best.