PLOV. Unauthentic but delicious!

by Lelik on July 13, 2009

in Meat

My Russian interpretation of Uzbek plov recipe.

As you might heard, cooking the Uzbek plov is a complicated and food usually screw up. That is because it has a certain technique to it that must be practiced and mastered. However you can cook plov without any problems and taste will be pretty similar as traditional Uzbek plov.  Indeed authenticity is a notion defined in each family when Plov is concerned! The main problem is Americans or Europeans  do not have the fortune of finding a traditional Uzbek or Central Asian spices. But if you really want to cook traditional plov - cumin/ jeera and saffron is essential.  Spices are the soul of plov, plov without spices we named porridge with meat. Plov is a very delicious and satisfying dish! I know many people who contend for their own “absolutely right” recipe of plov, but I cook it as I think this dish should be as for me, as my family like it. I tasted many plov variations – with mutton, lamb, with chicken, etc. etc. cooked by different techniques but my favorite is still mine. I hope you could cook plov following my recipe without any  problems or hidden dangers and will be absolutely satisfied. I’ll also betray some secrets which should help you to cook the best plov ever! Let’s  go to the kitchen and don’t forget to have fun!!!!

plov as I like it

plov as I like it

Ingredients for 6-8 servings

1.3 lb meat

2 big onions

2 big carrots

2 cups uncooked rice

Boiling water, vegetable oil, salt, spices

Secret #1 KAZAN.



Well, the main “ingredient” you should have to make the right plov is KAZAN. Kazan is a large, round and thick-bottomed cast-iron pot.  If you don’t have a cast iron pot, that’s not a big deal but for this particular dish thick bottom is required. We need this to avoid our plov burning . OK, if you fortunately find kazan, let’s get started!


I always use pork when cooking plov. Leg parts or arm shoulder parts of a pork but it isn’t not so important. I have 1 lb of fresh fore end. Lovely! Cut the meat into middle pieces (it’s up to you to decide what would be the best size). Than we need onion and carrot. Some Uzbeks will tell you that a good plov should contain as much onion and carrot as meat! E.g. if you take 1lb meat so there should be 1lb onion and 1 lb carrot. I’m hesitant to use too much onion and carrot, I always use 2 big onions, 2 big carrots and 1 lb meat.

meat onion and carrot proportions

meat onion and carrot proportions

Cut the onion into middle pieces, it doesn’t matter what cutting technique you are using, actually you couldn’t find the onion in plov at all. Carrot should be cut into small stripes as shown in picture.

carrot striped

carrot striped

onion and carrot

onion and carrot

After finished with meat, onion and carrot, heat 10 tablespoons or approximately 1 cup of vegetable oil in kazan for 4-5 minutes in a medium heat. Traditionally plov cooked in a lamb fat , Uzbek recipes always insist on using lamb fat, but I prefer vegetable oil. Oil should be burning hot. Than put all vegetables and stir thoroughly for 6-7 minutes until getting soft and slightly colored (do not fry until brown!)

onion and carrot frying in kazan

onion and carrot frying in kazan

Secret#2 SPICES! Use non grinded seeds!



To the oil-onion-carrot mixture add 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons cumin/jeera seeds, 3-4 teaspoon barberries, 2 spoon saffron powder or turmeric and a  pinch of coriander seeds, stir vegetables with spices and put meat right away.

meat with vegetables

meat with vegetables

Fry on a medium heat 10-12 minutes stirring occasionally. After 10-12 minutes pour hot boiled water just to cover the meat. Stir well. Turn the heat down to low and leave to stew for about 1-1.5 hours. Meat should be very soft. Taste the sauce, it should be bit too salty.




Secret # 3 RICE!

My own secret is – before cooking plov I wash the rice thoroughly in a medium bowl, than pour a cold water, add 1-2 teaspoon salt and leave for 3-4 hours.

Well, now it’s time to add rice. Long grain parboiled rice or basmati would be great to avoid a mushy but as for me, I like it in mushy consistence! A bit freaky, right? :) Well, pour the rice evenly over the meat and flatten the surface with a large slotted spoon. Now pour it over hot water, water should be 2-3 centimeters (1 1/2″) higher that rice. The most important thing: DO NOT STIR THE PLOV SINCE THAT MOMENT!!! Just cover and simmer it until all of the water evaporates (25-30 minutes). Do not mix the rice and meat with sauce! Keep a close eye on it or it will burn. You may pierce some holes in the center with spoon to make sure the plov does not stick at the bottom but DO NOT stir it! After all the water evaporated, turn the heat off and put one whole UNPILLED garlic in the center of your plov. Cover and leave with the heat off for 5-10 minutes to let flavors mix to each other. That’s it! It’s time to set table and invite friends! Now you may stir your plov and dish it out. Do not forget to through out the garlic.

p.s. American recipes are my new passion! I invite you to share it with me. I’ve just joined Secret Recipe Forum and bought a really interesting and useful resource – Cook book collection with Restaurants recipes, it’s called America’s Secret Recipes. If you like and enjoy food like i do – you should give it a try. Really nice community to be with!

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Angela July 13, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Thank you I will be trying the out this weekend. Will let you know what I think

July 14, 2009 at 3:04 am

wow, it’s yummy. hope I can find it in my country.

Hobosic July 14, 2009 at 8:44 am

Hi there, – da best. Keep it going!
Have a nice day

Latte July 17, 2009 at 6:22 pm

Oh my God!! It looks so yummy!!!! I suddenly feel very hungry!

sara July 22, 2009 at 4:27 pm

do not through out the garlic, it is the best part.
I find hard to find all those spices. Only when i come from Russia like to bring spices with me.
So i can enjoy a good plov

Luciana July 22, 2009 at 7:39 pm

Hello Olga ! How are you ?

I’m in love with your website !! I’ve lived in Russia ( St Peter ) for about 5 years and I really like russian food. I’ve got a website too, where I tell my experiences abroad,specially in Russia,but I’m afraid it’s all written in portuguese, my native language.

By the way, My name is Luciana and I’m from Brazil.
Kstati, menya zovut Luciana i Ya Brazilyanka. Ya ochen liubliu Rossiu i nadeius tuda snova.

Poka !


Luciana July 22, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Ohh, and when I lived in Russia with a russian family, I remember we used to eat Oladi Pancakes , but they were a little different from yours…they were stuffed with cottage cheese, do you know those ones ?

Luciana July 22, 2009 at 7:41 pm

oops, i don’t know if my first comment went through..

Lelik July 23, 2009 at 12:31 am

thank you all guys for comments!
sara, I know that somebody eat garlic and recommend to try but I always refuse :)

Lelik July 23, 2009 at 12:36 am


there are many pancakes varieties – with cheese, with potato, vegetable marrows etc. But I posted a traditional oladi recipe – without anything :)

from N08/sets/72157605137360098/' rel='external nofollow' class='url'>Hrundel October 21, 2009 at 9:05 am

Они правы, Оля. Мяса, лука и моркови поровну, только узбеки делают по-другому, лука в плове не остаётся
Из специй принципиальна только памирская зира (у них), барбариса как правило вообще не наблюдается, куркумой не подкрашивают
Свинину, разумеется, не едят, ну и только на курдючном сале праздничный плов, про хлопковое масло это советская история – курдюк дорогой, хл. масло лили от бедности

Сайт у тебя замечательный!

Amy from FreebieJeebies October 31, 2009 at 4:32 pm

That doesn’t seem very Russian though. Nice recipe but I really like the more authentic things that I know I can’t find in the UK. I would like it if you posted some more sweets recipes, or maybe some nibbles, more than actual meals.

sarah December 19, 2009 at 2:13 am

My dad makes the best plov ever !!! it can’t even compete with this !

Marina January 19, 2010 at 10:09 pm

Hi Olga, I love Plov as well, my mom makes it all the time. I however, haven’t had a chance to make it because I can’t find a Kazan anywhere here in U.S. Even my husband traveled to the Ukraine and couldn’t find a decent one there. Do you know of a place where I can order a Kazan like the one you have?
.-= Marina´s last blog ..What would a bored chef do? =-.

Woodburning Stove January 24, 2010 at 5:48 pm

I have previously wrote about Russian General Store in Houston. I have decided to check out Golden Grain Russian Groceries and Deli in Houston, TX. I was pleasantly surprised by this store. Very good selection, fresh meats, produce, and baked products left me quite satisfied. I would highly recommend this store.

Lelik January 27, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Hi Marina, and thank you very much for your comment. To tell you the truth, it’s really odd that your husband couldn’t find kazan in Ukraine. Usually you can find them in old “all for home” shops, not supermarkets. If you like, I can buy it for you and ship to US but it’s pretty heavy (about 10-12 lbs). Just let me know if you really need this and if I can do something for you

Lelik January 27, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Absolutely agree! :)

Upholstered Dining Chairs January 28, 2010 at 12:41 pm

I had plov at one of my friend’s place. She’s not a Russian but a Thai. I don’t know how authentic it was, but I loved it thoroughly :)
Planning to go to Moscow sometime in July and hope to get first experience then.
.-= Upholstered Dining Chairs´s last blog ..Upholstery Dining Chairs =-.

seo February 2, 2010 at 12:03 pm

I really like russian food. I’ve got a website too, where I tell my experiences abroad,specially in Russia,but I’m afraid it’s all written in portuguese, my native language.
.-= seo´s last blog ..AcaiTR.NET – Acai Hapı ve Satışı =-.

Crane Hire February 10, 2010 at 5:16 pm

My cousin, who is half Uzbek, half Russian, taught me how to cook this national Uzbek dish. It’s a staple in Uzbek cuisine and there are as many ways to make it as there are cooks. I cook it at least two times a month.

Braking Systems February 21, 2010 at 3:57 pm

I love Uzbek food, it different , unique and tastes amazing. I’d love to give this a try! hopefully it’ll turn out half as good as what you have just made!

Brian from natural stone veneers March 16, 2010 at 5:54 pm

Thank you for the great recipe, looking at the photos it looks delicious and very similar to paella; Is this dish originally from Russia or Uzbekistan? I am not a big red meat lover, so I was wondering whether I could substitute the pork for other types of meat, such as chicken or even lamb, this might add a different overall taste to the dish. Speaking of Russian foods, I am a big fan of their cold soups, Okroshka and Tyurya with a nice bit of freshly baked bread and butter is one of my all time favorite lunch time snacks.
.-= Brian stone veneers´s last blog ..A manual juicer is the perfect addition =-.

Mike from Products for Hair Loss April 15, 2010 at 12:20 pm

This time following your advice my wife left rice for a couple of hours in cold water before cooking. It worked great, I can say;) Thanks for the recipe!
.-= Mike for Hair Loss´s last blog ..Some are Hairy, Some are Bald… =-.

Christina April 22, 2010 at 6:16 am

I love what you did with your site!!! Love all your descriptions and your spirit! You sound like a very good-natured, food inspired girl! And your step by step pictures are great! Please keep it up, because you are SO right about there not being enough good places to look when it comes to russian recipes…
Great job!
P.S. I’m Russian by the way, but have lived in Canada most of my life, so your website brings me lots of wonderful childhood memories… I also love cooking and have a extensive collection of Russian recipes, as well as tons of others… :) :):)
Spasibo bol’shoe i prodolzhayte v tom zhe duhe! :) Budu k vam “zahodit’ ” za novimi retseptami… :) :):)
Kristina :)
.-= Christina´s last blog ..whisk-kefir-eggs-salt-and-sugar1.jpg =-.

Christina April 22, 2010 at 6:40 am

Оля, привет… :)
Это Кристина опять… Я тебе только что по-английски оставила comment, а теперь просто по-русски хотела приписать… не знаю читаешь ли ты их… :) Вот просто про плов хотела сказать… Я родилась в Москве, но у нас был знакомый казак, и когда я была маленькая, он маму учил плов делать… И примерно было так же, как у тебя, но только он туда клал исключительно баранину, и еще три прямо целые головки чеснока засовывал во все это блюдо, и оно все вместе так варилось… От этого придается только чуть-чуть вкуса (я видела, ты написала, что чеснок не любишь :) ), и если кому-то хочется, то можно прямо от этих *головок* отковырять :) себе несколько долек… Они получаются очень вкусные (как запеченые)…
Вот… :) Думала может тебе захочется еще один вариант попробовать… :)
Кристина :)

Christina April 22, 2010 at 6:50 am

Olga, you are way too nice… :)
It’s Christina again… So sorry for leaving 3 comment in a row…
Was just reading some of the “posts” on this page and noticed that Marina was looking for a “kazan” in the US…
I just think that in order to avoid huge shipping cosst from Ukrain to the US, Marina could just as well use a heavy bottomed, deep cast iron skillet, such as this:

Lelik April 23, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Hi Christina and Thanks for your comments! Of course I’m glad to read all your guys comments! Unfortunately it is really difficult to post new recipes with 2 month old daughter but I’ll try to change this situation ASAP. Thanks for amazon link, hope it will help!

Mark from Bunn Coffee Maker June 18, 2010 at 9:50 pm

Would you make this dish with brown rice? I am a really big fan of brown rice, especially since it is a whole-grain so it is much healthier than basmati.

Diocelin from Nursing Scrubs June 23, 2010 at 10:40 am

It is almost the same dish named paella in our place, but the ingredients is a little bit different except the rice. It’s a really cool dish! tasty and yummy :)

pratish from free stuff August 1, 2010 at 4:05 pm

WOW, it seems, it’s so delicious. We have same type of food in Kerala (Southern state of India) made out of rice and meat :)
pratish stuff´s last [type] ..BMS Results 2010

Mobility Products August 13, 2010 at 7:51 am

love the bread they serve, like a bagel on growth hormones, which is the same as they serve all over central asia. there is also an amazing ground meat football stuffed with butter and herbs which i never had in uzbekistan, but is outstanding nonetheless.

senior portrait photographer August 29, 2010 at 3:20 pm

This looks delicious. The recipe seems like a little bit tricky to make but I can’t wait to try it.

tc from Jacksonville Florida Restaurant September 27, 2010 at 6:01 pm

As other posters have mentioned…this is a common adn delicious dish across many cultures, often called other names.

CopyKat Recipes October 14, 2010 at 6:55 am

Any suggestions for making this without the Kazan? I don’t have one, but I would like to make some plov!
CopyKat Recipes´s last [type] ..Mock Taco Salad

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