Plov – Плов

IMG_1117 (500x334) So. I’ve been making Plov for many years and it always turned out PERFECTLY. Even my Mom ate my Plov and told me it was better than hers. She’s the best cook I know, so that’s the highest compliment for me.  I probably got too cocky. I decided to blog about it and made it over and over again and it wouldn’t cooperate with me. Ha ha. Finally, it worked.

Am I the only one this happens to? When you cook just for your family, you’re in a rush, you just throw things in the pot randomly, it turns out amazing. When you try to make the same dish and take special care, do everything perfectly, and serve it to guest, etc. all of a sudden it decides to have a mind of its own. What?

Anyway, Plov is a rice pilaf with meat, carrots, onions and spices. It’s borrowed and adopted from the Uzkek kitchen. I think every Russian family makes it. This is our type of comfort food. It’s absolutely delicious – tender chunks of meat, fluffy rice with lots of aromatic flavors given by onions, carrots and garlic. It also has several great spices to kick it up a notch. You can make it ahead of time, which is a big plus. It reheats and freezes very well, which is even better. 

Ingredients:

1 -1 1/2 lbs beef chuck, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1/4-1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil

2 onions, chopped

3-4 carrots, peeled and shredded

1 1/2-1 3/4 cups water, for braising

salt

freshly ground black pepper

2-4 dry bay leaves

1-2 teaspoons cumin

1-2 teaspoons paprika

3 cups long grain rice

1 garlic head

4 cups water, hot, when cooking the rice

Cut the beef, about 1 1/2 lbs, into 3/4-1/2 inch chunks. It really depends on how big you like your meat. I like it medium sized, so that’s the size I use.

Traditionally, lamb is used in Plov. I haven’t made myself like lamb yet. While I’m working on it, beef is a great substitute. You can also use chicken, but if you do, use dark meat, not chicken breast.

IMG_0963 (500x333) Blot the meat dry using a paper towel.

Why? Because the meat needs to sear (get really nicely brown). If you put it in wet, first of all it will splatter in the hot oil and second of all, it will start to steam instead of sear. The golden brown meat will give an awesome flavor to the whole dish. 

IMG_0977 (500x333) Using a dutch oven or a large pot, heat about 1/4-1/3 cup of oil over high heat until it’s smoking hot.

You should have enough oil to generously cover the bottom of the dutch oven.

Add the meat to the oil, and cook for 7-10 minutes, until the meat has a deep golden brown color. IMG_0984 (500x323) Reduce the heat to medium and add the two chopped onions to the dutch oven. Cook for 5-7 minutes more, until the onions are tender and slightly golden. IMG_0991 (500x333) Add the shredded carrots, stir to combine and season with salt, pepper, dry bay leaf, paprika and cumin.

Instead of shredding the carrots, you can julienne the carrots or cut them into strips. It’s really up to you.

The cumin and paprika will add a lovely golden color to the Plov. They are both very aromatic and punch some real flavor into the finished dish.

Cover the beef, onions and carrots with about 1 1/2 -1 3/4 cups of water, enough to barely cover them. Cover with a lid and simmer for about 45 minutes – 1 hour, until the beef is tender.

Don’t skip this step, since the meat will be rubbery and chewy if you don’t give it enough time to cook into tender and moist chunks.

IMG_0995 (500x333) IMG_1046 (500x328) Meanwhile, rinse the rice in water, until the water runs clear. I place the rice in a fine mesh sieve and place it over a bowl, fill it with water, rinse, pour out and repeat about 5 times.

The point is to get rid of an extra starch that is on the rice. Starch will make the rice sticky, and for this dish we are trying to achieve fluffy rice, where each granule is separate.

IMG_2437 (500x333) IMG_0971 (500x333) When I use basmati rice, it cooks a little bit quicker than regular long grain white rice. If you use the plain long grain rice, cover it with boiling water and let it stand it in while the beef, onions and carrots are simmering.

This will help to ensure that the rice cooks all the way through. Basmati doesn’t need the extra soaking in hot water, otherwise it will overcook and turn into mush. IMG_0974 (500x333) When the beef is tender, drain the water from the rice (if you’re soaking it) and place the rice on top of the the beef, onions and carrots. DON”T mix them together. Spread the rice out evenly, and pour in about 4 cups of hot, or boiling water. Season with salt. IMG_1060 (500x333) IMG_1067 (500x328) Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to medium high heat and keep cooking it, uncovered, until most of the water is absorbed. IMG_2475 (500x333) Insert a whole garlic head into the rice, make a few holes in the rice, to help the water cook out faster, (I use the handle of a long wooden spoon to create the holes, cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and cook for another 10-15 minutes, just until the rice is cooked through. IMG_2477 (500x333) IMG_1095 (500x333) At this point, take out the roasted garlic and mix the whole dish, to incorporate the beef, onion, and carrots with the rice.

You can press some of the roasted garlic through a garlic press and add it to the rice, or used the roasted garlic in flavored butters, Garlic Bread, etc. IMG_2485 (500x333) IMG_2489 (500x333) Plov freezes very well too, so you can make a large batch and freeze the extra portions.

To reheat, thaw the Plov, and heat it up, either in the microwave or in a skillet. I like adding a little bit of grated cheese to leftover Plov when I’m reheating it in a skillet. The cheese melts, and becomes a little crisp in some places and adds creaminess and crispness to the dish. IMG_1117 (500x333)

Plov
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1½ lbs beef chuck, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • ¼-1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3-4 carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 1½-1¾ cups water, for braising
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-4 dry bay leaves
  • 1-2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1-2 teaspoons paprika
  • 3 cups long grain rice
  • 1 garlic head
  • 4 cups water, hot, when cooking the rice
Instructions
  1. Cut the beef, about 1½ lbs, into ¾-1/2 inch chunks. Blot the meat dry using a paper towel.
  2. Using a dutch oven or a large pot, heat about ¼-1/3 cup of oil over high heat until it's smoking hot. You should have enough oil to generously cover the bottom of the dutch oven.
  3. Add the meat to the oil, and cook for 7-10 minutes, until the meat has a deep golden brown color.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and add the 2 chopped onions to the dutch oven. Cook for 5-7 minutes more, until the onions are tender and slightly golden.
  5. Add the shredded carrots, stir to combine and season with salt, pepper, dry bay leaf, paprika and cumin. Cook for about 5 more minutes, until the carrots also become tender. Instead of shredding the carrots, you can julienne the carrots or cut them into sticks, as thick or thin as you like.
  6. Cover the beef, onions and carrots with about 1½ -1¾ cups of water, enough to barely cover them. Cover with a lid and simmer for about 45 minutes - 1 hour, until the beef is tender.
  7. Meanwhile, rinse the rice in water, until the water runs clear.
  8. When I use basmati rice, it cooks a little bit quicker than regular long grain white rice. If you use the plain long grain rice, cover it with boiling water and let it stand it in while the beef, onions and carrots are simmering. This will help to ensure that the rice cooks all the way through.
  9. When the beef is tender, drain the water from the rice and place the rice on top of the the beef, onions and carrots. DON"T mix them together.
  10. Spread the rice out evenly, and pour in about 4 cups of hot, or boiling water. It should cover the rice by about an 1 -1½ inches. Season with salt. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, high heat and keep cooking it, uncovered, until most of the water is absorbed.
  11. Insert a whole garlic head into the rice, make a few holes in the rice, to help the water cook out faster, (I use the handle of a long wooden spoon to create the holes), cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and cook for another 10-15 minutes, just until the rice is cooked through.
  12. At this point, take out the roasted garlic and mix the whole dish, to incorporate the beef, onion, and carrots with the rice. You can press some of the roasted garlic through a garlic press and add it to the rice, or used the roasted garlic in flavored butters, garlic bread, etc.
  13. Plov freezes very well too, so you can make a large batch and freeze the extra portions. To reheat, thaw the Plov, and heat it up, either in the microwave or in a skillet. I like adding a little bit of grated cheese to leftover Plov when I'm reheating it in a skillet. The cheese melts, and becomes a little crisp in some places and adds creaminess and crispness to the dish.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Anna says

    This looks delicious. Mine for some reason usually turns out kind of clumped together and I’m starting to think it’s because I don’t rinse it well enough? Thanks for the tips!

    • says

      That could be the reason, Anna. Another reason might be that you’re overcooking it. Some rice cooks faster than others. For example, when I use basmati, it cooks much faster. Also, different types of rice has different levels of starch on it. The more starch, the stickier it will be. I recommend using long grain rice. Definitely not medium or short grain rice.(Those are great in rice pudding – risovaya kasha, or risotto.)

  2. Oksana says

    Yummy! I love plov, and I will have to try you method of making it. Mine comes out good but I usually make with chicken. Yours just looks more aromatic and I love the color.I think my husband will appreciate the beef …he loves his meat!

  3. Liliya says

    I always buy jasmine rice. Do i still have to rinse it? And what about cooking time? When i cook white rice i never rinse and its not sticky. Thanks

    • says

      Hi Liliya!
      Jasmine rice would take the same amount of time to cook.
      If your rice isn’t sticky when you make Plov, then by all means, don’t rinse it.
      However, if you meant that the rice isn’t sticky when you simply cook it by itself, that is a different story altogether. When I cook plain rice, it’s never sticky either.
      When you cook Plov you are using additional ingredients and are cooking it with a different cooking method, that’s why it tends to be clumpy.
      Like I said, some rice doesn’t need this extra step. I am talking about rinsing plain long grain rice.

  4. Oksana K says

    I’ve cooked plov many times, and used different recipes, last time i cooked one, the recipe was too overwhelming with fats. i mean, it was leaking fat from the fork, when you eat.. yuck! :-/ I did not like it, at all.
    So, this one looks very good and similar to the simple recipes i’ve done before (i’ve not used paprika or cumin) – love both, so will add those this time.
    I do have a question tho, will plov turn out with brown rice? I’ve never used it in plovs, and wanted to give it a try, but thought before i ruin the ingridients and kill all that time for nothing, I better ask, as i know it takes MUCH longer to cook…

    • says

      Hi Oksana K,
      Unfortunately, I’ve never made Plov with brown rice, so I can’t help you with that. If you ever try it, let me know how it turns out; I’d love to get some pointers.

  5. alina says

    I came from Kazakhstan and those people know how to make some yummy plov. My mom makes it perfectly so I’ve been trying to master it myself and I fail :/ I will be trying this recipe though

  6. Olga says

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I’m finishing up some that i made a few days ago. you’re a great chef! =] plov is yummy!

  7. Sveta says

    Hi!! I just came back to tell you I absolutely LOVED this recipe!! I always failed at making yummy plov before. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!!! I am excited to have found it!! May God bless!

    • says

      Hi Oksana!
      The garlic will roast as it cooks in the rice.
      However, if you want to roast garlic separately, you can do you several ways.
      My favorite – wrap a whole garlic clove in aluminum foil and roast it in the oven (400 degrees) for 10-30 minutes, depending on the size of the garlic head. You can check for doneness by pressing on the garlic head. If it’s soft, it’s done.
      You can also separate the garlic head into cloves (with the skin on) and place it in a dry skillet. Cook on medium heat until golden on both sides.Once again, check for doneness by pressing on the garlic clove. If it’s soft, it’s ready. Here’s a recipe for Garlic Bread the has more details and photos on roasting garlic.

  8. Augustina says

    Hi. Thanks for sharing this recipe! One question, can I replace the cumin with another spice if I don’t have it? If so, what spice can I replace it with? If not, where do I buy cumin?

    • says

      Hi Augustina,
      Cumin is a very specific spice for Plov. There isn’t another spice that will give it the same flavor and color. If you’d rather not use it, you can omit it.

  9. Tanya says

    OMG!! This plov taste so much like the uzbekistan restaurant has by my house. Amazing!! Thank you. I no longer need to order from them. :)

  10. says

    Hi Olga,
    I have never attempted to make plov but this is one of the classic dishes at our house. My mom always makes extra and we make breakfast burritos with the leftovers.

  11. Natalie says

    Hi Olga,
    Made this plov from natashaskitchen but I hear that all the credit goes to you! It turned out perfect and delicious! Thank you so much for sharing your recipes! :)

  12. gregory says

    Thanks for the great website, it’s put together really well. I’m going to try this recipe it looks great..So using the garlic head like that roasts it and infuses the flavor into the dish ? Thanks again for the recipes

    • gregory says

      Made this today and everything went well except for me completely destroying the rice (overcooked) – so it is mushy but I was thinking maybe it could be a filling for pierogi or something? What do you think Olga. Will eat it regardless haha

      • says

        That’s too bad, Gregory!
        You probably can use it for a filling in pierogi, but I haven’t tried it myself. What a creative idea. Let me know how it goes.

  13. Tatyana says

    Po tvoemu receptu, ja delala plov uzhe raz 5 i pozavchera sin menya poprasil snova shtob ja prigotovila. Kak vidish, tvoj recept otmennij! Tol’ko ne mogu ponyat’ pochemu myaso prigoraet v kostriulke kogda delaju step #11. Any ideas?

    • says

      I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed the Plov! One of the reasons that the meat might be burning on the bottom of the pot is because the pot overheats too easily. Try turning down the heat even more or use a different pot, if possible.

  14. Ben says

    I imagine this is a very tasty dish. Can you direct me to some recipes for appropriate vegetable dishes to accompany this dish?

  15. Tonya says

    Nice recipe though I found 3 cups of rice to be a bit overwhelming compared to the seasoning and beef. Next time I’ll try two

  16. olga says

    Hi olga. What do you think of using black pepper balls instead of powder form for this recipe, would it taste diff? How many would u recommend?

    • says

      I know you can add peppercorns to Plov and many people do. I don’t like to do this, simply because it’s hard to fish out the peppercorns later from the Plov and someone will most likely bite down on a peppercorn, which is a very unpleasant experience.

  17. Yelena G says

    Olga, I made this plov recipe several times and for some reason the rice just breaks into pieces when I mix it. I used Basmati rice and I did half the recipe since the original is just too much for my family. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong.
    Thanks for you help.

    • says

      My guess is that you overcooked it. If you used basmati rice, there is no need to soak it in hot water before adding it to the pot. Different rice cooks differently, so that’s why I included tips for cooking different varieties.

      • Yelena G says

        Yes, I red that about basmati rice and didn’t soak it! I just rinsed it out, put it in the pot, let some of the water boil out and then 15 min. I guess Ill try jasmin rice next time. Thanks.

        • says

          Just cook it less, next time. Keep an eye on the rice and as soon as it’s done cooking, turn it off. Some stoves cook faster than others and also the brand of rice, etc. As a general rule of thumb, I always start to watch anything I’m cooking 10-15 minutes BEFORE the time that the recipe specifies, because I know that many things come into play, the pot you’re using, the specific ingredients, the stove, etc.

  18. Irina says

    Olga, I absolutely LOVE your recipes. I feel like a stalker or something because just today I made your Tiramisu, the cabbage chicken meatballs, but ya ab’la’malas because I totally forgot the cabbage but I still did everything else and it was DELICIOUS!!!! I’m also making your recipe for Plov and right now for tomorrow. It’s simmering right now and it smells heavenly!!! This is my first time so thank you. May God bless you and your family.

    • says

      Hi Irina!
      Thanks so much for writing! I really appreciate it. I am thrilled that you are trying my recipes. It makes my heart sing and dance:).

  19. Irina says

    The plov turned out really good for my first time. But I think I added too much water to the meat because I once I put the rice in and some more water it took longer to evaporate plus the rice wasn’t completely cooked through. Do I added a bit more water and let it cook an additional ten min and the rice underneath was fine so I just mixed everything and closed the lid without the heat. It was done but slightly over cooked however the meat turned out soft, melt in your mouth. My mom always done it with pork but the beef I feel turned out better

    • says

      It sounds like maybe there wasn’t enough liquid covering the rice, although what you can try next time is poking a fe holes all the way through to the bottom using the handle of a large wooden spoon, covering the pot and this way the rice on top will steam as well and should cook through at the same time as the bottom rice and help the liquid evaporate as well.

  20. Igor K says

    My family is from Uzbekistan and I can tell you your recipe lacks a few things. First to make good Plov you need to use the stronger burner in your kitchen. Also Plov is traditional make in a Kazan which is similar to what’s being used here but the metal that it is castes from is different. Rice is very important and it’s important to not wash the rice but soak it first. Let the rice take in as much water as it needs. Another note… When you put in the rice you leave the top open until all the water disappears and only oil is left then you close it. The recipe calls for 1/4 – 1/3 cup which is way to little you need to use at least 1/2 2/3 cups of oil.

    P.S. This is not a dish you can learn to make without either A. Watching someone make it who is from the region B. Have crazy specific instructions.

    • says

      Thanks for your input, Igor. I know you Uzbekistanians are amazing at making Plov. Thank you for taking the time to share your expertise.
      I know my version is not “authentic”, nor do I claim it to be. I created this version based on what I have available, the pots that I own and the type of taste that I prefer:). I make do with the stove that I have. I would love to own a stove with a better burner, but that is what I have.
      Also, you’re right about the amount of oil. My recipe calls for significantly less than most Plov recipes, but that’s because I prefer it that way:).

  21. Kerry says

    I’ll have to try this! My husband’s family is Tajik and they’ve tried to teach me how to make it, but I don’t learn recipes well by watching people – I need specific measurements to start out and his mom just does everything by eye! They use whole cumin seeds and no paprika or bay, but otherwise it looks very similar to their recipe. They also have some delicious variations such as making it with meatballs instead of chuck or making it with stuffed grape leaves (my favorite).

  22. says

    My husband loves plov! I’m so glad I found your recipe, which was easy to follow and just as good as the ones we’ve had in Russia. Thank you!

  23. Helen G says

    This is by far the best recipe I ever followed because it explains not only what to do, but also why. We are from the North, and for me rice dishes are totally foreign.
    Even so, I was able to make a very tasty dish from the first try by following instructions.

    I do realize that this is not ‘THE’ Plov (as an Azer guy explained to me, he can not make Plov here in NJ because – Do you think this is lamb? No, this is no lamb: His mother used to buy lamb only from a sheep that was raised ‘on the right side of the mountain’.)

    And an ethnic Greek guy, who’s family has been living by the shores of Black sea for generations, told me: Plov is food cooked by males. Otherwise it is just a meat and rice dish. Admittedly he was cooking it in the open air, over the open fire in tagan with his school-age sons, and the result was impossibly spicy and very tasty.

    Still, I would like to thank you for this very very close approximation. Our family loves it.

    • says

      Hi Helen!
      Thank you so much for taking the time to write. I am so glad you enjoyed the recipe and that the instructions were helpful:).

  24. Yana says

    Wow!! I just made this plov, and I think this the best i’ve ever made! Thank you so much for this recipe Olga! I will be making this again and again. :)

  25. Anna M says

    Hi Olga, have you made this with pork? Would I cook it for same amount of time as with beef, or do anything else differently? In my experience, pork tends to cook faster than beef so I don’t want to overcook it.

    • says

      No, I don’t make Plob with pork, but you certainly can, Anna. I would suggest using pork shoulder, aka Boston Butt and then just brown it until it’s golden brown. The meat will be tender without cooking it for a long time, like you need to do with the beef.

  26. Irina says

    Is true. My oldest sister Oksana is a RN works nights and manages to cook and bake and take care of her family. Nurses are the best

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