Lo and behold: Plov cook-off is underway. Also, "Oshi Sofi" by Farkhod!!!
Updated: Oct 7
Last weekend I got to create some magic with my BFF Farkhod. A Bukhara-native, well-travelled, highly-educated, overall fantastic plov enthusiast, Farkhod showed me the fine tricks for making the plov of Bukhari emirs - "Oshi Sofi". This is a very special plov and can be considered somewhat dietary (can you image? - a dietary plov, what an oxymoron!). The trick to Oshi Sofi is in cooking the ingredients separately, bringing out their individual perfection, but then combining them to make one solid dish.
In fact, we had such a great time cooking together online, albeit the thousands of km between us, that we would like to host the first-ever (maybe not, but I have never come across any) "Plov cook-off" in the form of OMG (online mass gathering). More details to come, so stay tuned. We will be cooking live and you can join in and cook along with us! Instructions will be provided. For now, don't try to tame yourself - embrace the Oshi Sofi.
1 Kazan or thick-walled pot
1 sauce pan to heat the oil in
1 large pot for cooking the rice
1 pot for cooking the meat (you can also just use the kazan for two purposes)
Products you need:
1 kilo meat (lamb/beef + some ribs)
1 kilo carrots (ideally, 500 grams of yellow and 500 grams of orange ones)
150 mil of oil (a mix of oils. I used linseed oil+olive oil+sunflower seed oil)
Garbanzo beans 1 cup
Sweet and sour raisins 1 cup
Onion is optional in this plov, but it can serve two special roles. So, let's say 2 onions.
How to prep:
Asian-julienne the carrots.
Thinly slice one onion and cut in half the other
If using non-canned garbanzo beans, soak them overnight
How to cook:
1. In a pot of cold water bring the meat (large chunks) to boil and cook on low heat. To flavour the meat, add cumin and those two halves of onion, Add salt. Remove the foam as it appears on the top of your stock. Cook until meat is tender for approx 1 -1.5 hours. Once the meat is cooked, cut large chunks into smaller portions. Strain and keep the stock.
2. In a separate pot (preferably kazan, ideally, a Bukhara style one, but a thick-walled pot would do the trick) lay half of the carrots on the bottom. Salt them. Above the carrots put that meat. Above the meat, put those raisins. Add the rest of the carrots and salt them too.
4. Add that saved stock to the layers of carrots/meat/raisins. The amount of stock depends on the juiciness of the carrots, but should not be too much, barely showing at the surface is enough. Bring to boil, cook on low heat.
5. When the carrots get tender, in a separate pot bring a large amount of water to boil. Add salt. In this water, you need to cook rice until it is half-done. This part is tricky as people disagree about where to cook the garbanzo beans. One school of thought says in the pot with carrots and meat, another one says cook garbanzo beans with rice. I went with the latter.
6. Strain the rice and put on top of the carrot/meat/raisins goodness. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.
7. In a separate pot combine the oils and heat them nicely (don't start any fire). Here you can use that second onion to flavour the oils by browning it in them. This is optional. Pour the oil on the rice, make sure you are doing it slowly and evenly. This step will kill the starch and plov will become fluffy. The oils will also flavour the rice.
8. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
9. Serve, enjoy, cry the happy tears of pleasure.
Here is a video to support you in your quest.