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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Plov!!!! Americanized

We have Yulia and Jenya to thank...

Back in 2004 when we were in Kazakhstan to adopt our Tanya, our translator Yulia and our driver Jenya (who are still our dear friends) took us to a small cafe for lunch. There were various dishes on a buffet and Yulia pointed out one in particular, saying that it was a national dish much loved in Kazakhstan called plov. She cautioned me that we probably wouldn't like it; her experience with most Americans was that they rarely tried the local cuisine and when they did, they found it too different from American fare to enjoy it. I eyed the dish, a mixture of rice, meat, and veggies and thought it looked and smelled great...and it was delicious. I've loved plov ever since that first bite...and with four kids from Kazakhstan, learning to cook it was practically a must!

Plov can be made with chicken, beef, or lamb and we've tried a few different versions. Hands down, my kids like the beef version best. I make this dish at least a couple of times a month and every blessed member of the family, whether ethnic American, Kazakh, or Russian, will line up for seconds and thirds. We've tweaked the recipe a bit so I'm not sure it's very authentic these days but it's still pretty darn tasty and reminds my kids of their homeland. With thanks to my friend Yulia for introducing me to this delicacy and apologies for the tweaking of a national treasure, here's how we do plov. Be warned! This feeds our family of 7 so it's a pretty big batch.

First I heat 1/4 cup of Canola oil in a Dutch oven
Then I brown out 3 lbs of small beef cubes in the oil and add seasoning salt


Plov is all about layering. After the beef is browned, I add a layer of chopped onion (about 2 cups) with a bit more oil and brown some more. Next comes a layer of chopped carrot (about 2 cups) and a wee bit more oil on top of the beef and onion. Chopped garlic doesn't hurt either. The final layer is rice, about 12-14 cups (I like to use brown rice) which is then covered with 32 ounces of beef stock. I tuck in a couple of bay leaves, too.

Now it's ready for the oven; it stays in at 350 degrees for about an hour.

When it's done it looks like this...I stir the layers together and stand back to avoid the stampede...
5 minutes later, it looks like this...almost gone.
Not hard to make, pretty darn healthy, and very tasty. I usually serve it with a green salad or my kids' favorite Russian salad of sliced cucumbers and tomatoes. It's one dish heaven in our house!


Michele said...

Wow, that looks great. I haven't made plov yet, but plan to make it soon. I had plov made by chef who immigrated from Kaz. He made a huge pan of it for a Kaz in Canada Christmas party. He made it with lamb and chickpeas and seasoned with a head of garlic, crushed red pepper and cumin seeds.

Tanya Schoelles said...

Wow, Michele! Thanks, t
hat recipe sounds great. I like the idea of adding chickpeas and cumin, may try that next. There are many variations to plov so it's never dull and can be adjusted to individual tastes.

Anne Kimball said...

Hate me if you will, Dee, but I'm nominating you for the Inspiring Blogger Award. Deets on my blog tomorrow (Sunday).
Love you!
PS: I will look into details of getting James up there. Today. promise.
PPS: I'm afraid I will have to end our friendship if you don't get rid of captcha. Sorry, it's a firm rule of mine.

alphamama said...

Ha! Just figured out how to remove captcha, Anne! Until you mentioned it, I didn't even know I had a choice, glad to get rid of it since I can never read the darn words anyway. Thanks for the nomination for the Inspiring Blogger Award, I'm touched!!!