How to make Uzbek Plov

Perfect for serving up something a little bit different for a family dinner, this Uzbek Plov is hearty and full of flavour – just don’t be surprised if you have requests for seconds!



  • 500g moderately fat lamb, (either shoulder or ribs)
  • 500g medium grain rice (paella works well)
  • 100-150ml vegetable oil
  • 500g carrots
  • 2 medium size onions
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1½ whole heads of young garlic (optional)
  • 1 long hot chilli (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 5 litre round cast iron casserole dish or larger


  1. Rinse the rice under the tap until clear, cover with cold water and let it soak for a while.
  2. Cut the meat with bones into matchbox-sized pieces (or ask your butcher to prepare it for you!).
  3. Cut the carrots into batons, measuring around 0.5 x 0.5cm thick.
  4. Slice onions into thin rings.
  5. Prepare the garlic.
  6. Heat the oil in your casserole dish over a very high flame. Deep-fry the meat in batches until golden-brown and discard remaining oil carefully.
  7. Add a small amount of clean oil to your casserole dish and then fry the onions until golden. Add the meat back into the dish and stir well to prevent the onion from burning. Add the carrots and stir occasionally until the onion starts to wilt and brown (this should take 15-20 min).
  8. Add 2/3 of the cumin - rub it in the palms of your hand first to release the flavour before adding to the dish and then stir gently.
  9. Lower the hob to a medium heat, pour hot water over to cover all the ingredients, add salt and simmer for 40 min to 1.5 hours until the water has almost evaporated. The meat should be tender and juicy. Do not stir.
  10. Turn up the heat on the hob.
  11. Drain rice and add on top of the meat and vegetables in one layer. Add the garlic and chilli.
  12. Cover the rice with approximately 2cm of boiling water – using a ladle so that the rice layer doesn’t move too much. Add salt. As the water seeps down into the dish, reduce the heat slightly.
  13. Once the water has absorbed, the rice should remain al dente. Make holes in the rice to check the water level.
  14. Reduce heat to the lowest setting, cover dish with the lid and allow it to steam for 20 minutes. Turn off the hob, remove the garlic and chilli and place to one side.
  15. Mix the rice into the meat and carrots, add salt to taste if needed and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
  16. Dish up and serve with a side salad of the garlic, chilli, thinly sliced tomatoes and sweet onions, and seasoned with salt.