Plov, (pilaf), is found throughout Centrasl Asia, but is berally considered to be Uzbek in origin. There are many different types of plov - and every region seems to have it's own distinctive traditions. Inhabitants of one region might well consider that you haven't tasted plov until you have their own regional speciality.
Plov is usually served at the end of an evening and is often a sign that the festivities are coming to an end. There is a story that a nomad received guests and true to Kyrgyz traditional hospitality slaughtered a lamb and served Besh Barmak, then saw his guests to their bed. The following day they stayed and he fed them again, and the next, and the next. Eventually, afraid that he was being eaten out of house and home, he approached a local elder and asked for advice. "Where are they from?", the aksakal enquired. "From the South, Osh", came the reply. "And have you fed them, and fulfilled all the obligations of hospitality?" "Yes." "And have you served them plov?" "No". "Well, tonight serve them plov", the sage advised. That night the nomad served plov – and the next day, the guests packed and left.
Ingredients: ½ kg meat (any meat), 1 onion, ½ kg carrots, 1 kg rice, water. Optional – some raisins.
The meat is chopped into small pieces, about 2 cm cubes – then fried with the chopped onion. The carrots should be chopped into thin sticks and added to the meat. It should be well cooked.
The rice is washed thoroughly, then cooked in boiling water (about 1.5 times as much water than rice – by volume) in an open “kazan” (a sort of large, heavy saucepan), over a high flame. When the water has been absorbed, turn the flame down. Gather the rice in from the edges towards the centre into the form of a mound or hillock. Using a chopstick, make a number of holes in the rice and pour a little water into them so that it drains to the bottom. (If you are adding raisins, sprinkle them on the top). Cover the kazan and leave on a low flame for 15, 20 or 25 minutes (the time will depend on the quality of the rice). When the rice is ready, mix in meat and vegetables, as in a risotto.