Spiced Lamb and Rice Pilaf (Uzbek Plov)

    1 hour 50 minutes

    Spiced lamb is simmered with rice and whole heads of garlic in this Central Asia-inspired dish.

    2 people made this

    Serves: 8 

    • 2 cups (400g) basmati rice
    • 4 heads garlic, whole
    • 1/2 cup (125ml) vegetable oil
    • 900g boneless leg of lamb, cut into 5cm pieces
    • 2 large brown onions, thinly sliced
    • 4 carrots, coarsely grated
    • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
    • 2 tablespoons coriander seed
    • 1/2 cup fresh barberries
    • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
    • 2 cups (500ml) boiling water
    • 2 tablespoons salt

    Preparation:20min  ›  Cook:1hour30min  ›  Ready in:1hour50min 

    1. Place basmati rice in a large bowl and cover with warm water. Set aside. Wash heads of garlic. Set aside.
    2. Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan over high heat until smoking, then add lamb, turning occasionally until the lamb is evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the onions; cook and stir until the onion has softened and browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the carrots; cook and stir until the carrots have softened, about 10 minutes.
    3. Sprinkle with cumin, coriander, barberries, and peppercorns. Drop whole garlic heads into the mixture, stirring to evenly distribute ingredients. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.
    4. Wash and drain basmati rice with hot water. Pour cleaned rice over the lamb mixture in an even layer. Slowly pour in the boiling water. The rice should be covered with about 2cm of water. Do not stir. Season with salt, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until rice is tender, and the liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes.
    5. Stir rice and lamb together, and serve with the garlic heads on top.

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    Reviews in English (32)


    Very close to the true uzbek recipe (I'm originally from Uzbekistan). Agree with previous reviewers abour julienned carrots. Another thing we do differently: put raw garlic on top the rice (squeeze it in the rice in the center) before covering everything with water. Pour water over a tablespoon or wooden spatula to ensure even distribution over rice (to avoid making large holes in the rice). Cover, and when it starts boiling remove the cover to let water evaporate. Then cover again until rice is ready. Cook on slow heat. Also, we use round rice rather than long rice but in any case avoid sticky rice. The main key to the true uzbek plov: spices. In addition to what you already mention you need turmerick (it gives plov its golden colour), carum seeds (or caraway seeds), cumin can be used regular and black cumin for more flavor, some use paprika. Comment to other reviews: Cranberries is a poor substitute to barberries - you need something very sour. There is no butter in the plov. Serve with shikarop: a salad with finally sliced (almost shredded) tomatos, shredded sweet onions, oil, salt, pepper, cilantro, and paprika. Enjoy!  -  24 May 2012  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)


    I was born in Uzbekistan and my family has been making this dish for as long as I can remember, the only thing we do diffently is we cut the carrots in thick julienne not grate the carrots  -  24 Mar 2011  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)


    I made the Lamb and Rice. The most difficult part was trying to find barberries. I used dried cranberries instead. The dish is OUTSTANDING. It took time, but was worth it. thanks, Sarah  -  23 Apr 2011  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)