Palov is the most spread and favourite dish of Uzbeks. It is cooked in week — and festivity days.
The constant ingredients of palov are rice, fat (oil), onion and carrot, as palov can be cooked without meat as well. Kasi, hasip, eggs can be used in place of meat.
Peas (noot), garlic, quince, dry grapes, turnip and other products are the constant ingredients. In such cases the name of palov is added with this product’s name, for instance, palov with garlic or palov with dry grapes.
Little starched grains of rice and whole ones are used for palov.
They defind wether rice is fit for palov in the following way: when washing squeeze it in the fist and if unscattering lump is forming then such rice is consider unfit for palov.
Usually it is cooked on fat near the tail of sheep basis. But science researches showed that often using of animal fats has negative influence on organizm, vegetables oils or their mixtures with animal fats is desirable for palov therefore. Before they used «Zigir» (Sesamum oil) and kungut oils for palov, nowadays they use cotton one.
What sort of carrot do they prefer? It depends on region and sort of palov. For instance, in Samarkand and Khorazm region they prefer yellow carrot, in Surkhandarya region — red one, in the rest regions — both of them.
The process of palov cooking consists of two steps: «zirvak» cooking and strictly speaking boiling. Zirvak cooking includes thermal processing (separately or together) of onion, carrot and meat, and boiling includes rice putting and its evaporating (under closed cover or without it).
The important ingredients of palov are spices and products which are added when zirvak stewing. Caraway-seeds, barberries, anise, black and red ground pepper, Bunium persicum, red bitter pepper in pods are as spices.
About half of intended salt quantity is put in zirvak. If to cook zirvak without salt then palov gets liquid condition, it is not scattering.
The important moment in cooking palov is definding of soaking up liquid process of rice. They strike rice with the other side of skimmer: if moisture is soaked in rice then they get voiceless sound «goop- goop».
Four methods of palov cooking are known from ancient time: Fergana, Samarkand, Khorazm and Bukhara methods. Rice in palov must be scattering anyway.
They serve different appetizers of fresh and fried vegetables, grains of pomegranate and finely minced greens with sliced onion.
Types of palov:
Fergana method of palov cooking is the most known and popular. In this way palov is cooked not only in Fergana valley, but in Kashkadarya, Surkhandarya, Tashkent and other regions of republic as well. This kind of palov has saturated brown colour. Bitter pepper in pods gives sharpness to palov, it is added to palov in Fergana valley and Tashkent region.
Melt fat near the tail of sheep cut into small cubes, remove fried pieces. Fry cleaned of meat bones, the onions or pieces of carrot in this fat, but the colour gets brown, taste and aromate improve.
Cut onion into rings, brown until a gold brown colour. Then add meat cut into cubes and keep frying for 15-20 minutes. Then add sliced carrot and brown with meat until its mass decrease for 40- 50%.
Pour some water over this zirvak, add a part of salt, whole pods of red bitter pepper, spices and keep after bringing to boil over a slow lire until carrot is ready. Pierce in some places of pepper in the process of boiling.
Sort out rice, wash well and steep with salt for 30-40 minutes. Then place it in the flat layer, pour over hot water so as its layer to be 1,5-2 cm, add the rest part of salt and rapidly bring to boil. Keep strong fire until the whole liquid soaking in rice. Then gather palov with skimmer to the middle of boiler, pierce it in some places (with knife or spoon) for smoke go out. After it close boiler with the cover and keep until done over a slow fire.
Before serving mix palov careful and shape in the dish, top with meat, meat bones and pepper in pods.
It is often cooked in Samarkand, Bukhara, Urgench and bordered with them regions.
To cook Samarkand palov they use, as a rule, yellow carrot. Rice keeps white colour in difference of fergana palov, when serving carrot is not mixed with rice.
Brown onion cut into rings in the strong warmed up fat until a golden colour, then put bits of meat with bones 200-250 g size and brown with onion until a brown colour. Put meat over sliced carrot, pour over some water, add salt, pepper, caraway-seeds, barberries and stew under closed cover until carrot is done.
Sort out rice, wash well and steep for 30 - 40 minutes adding some salt. Before using wash rice again.
Place rice in the flat layer over ready zirvak with skimmer, pour over hot water, add salt, rapidly bring to boil and boil over strong fire until liquid soaking in rice. Then low fire, close the boiler with cover and boil until rice swells.
When serving place palov in dish, put carrot over rice, meat in cubes over carrot.
This recipe of palov cooking is known only in Khorazm. Cut meat into large pieces, brown it with onion in very warmed up fat, pour over small quantity of water and bring to boil. Then put carrot cut into sheets 3-4 cm thick, add salt, pepper, close the boiler with cover and stew over a slow fire for 8-10 hours until meat is ready. Then put rice, pour water 1,5-2,0 cm over rice, salt and boil as usual palov.
When serving shape rice in heap, put carrot and meat in layers.
Khorazm Tuy Palov
It is cooked according to the Bukhara recipe, it is intended for guests in festival days.
Boil sorted out and washed rice until half-done in salt water, put on the special layer of dry grass (buira) and let water flow down. Paint half of rice with saffron. Boil carrot and onion cut into long slices in small quantity of salt water. Boil bits of meat until done.
Put boiled bits of meat on the buttom of boiler, add some fat, pour over broth (or water), then place carrot and onion in the even layer, then put boiled a little raisins and in the last turn put pained and unpained rice in 4-5 layers. Close with the cover and stew over a slow fire.
When serving place rice on the dish in layers, then top with carrot, raisins and bits of beat.
In Bukhara method of palov cooking they boil rice, meat products and vegetables separately. Cooked in this way palov is named «safoki». This way of cooking was wide spread in Bukhara region. Samarkand palov with raisins but without meat is sometimes described under name «Bukhara palov». This way with some changes is used in Khorazm as well for palov cooking at wedding days, such kind of palov is named «oshi suphi».
Boil sorted out and washed rice in salt water until done, put in the sift and let water flow' down.
Boil large bits of meat and whole peeled carrot together. Then cut meat into cubes, cut carrot into long slices. Join these pro-ducts together, sprinkle with salt, pepper and mix.
Brown onion in very warmed up fat.
When serving place boiled rice in the dish, pour over warmed oil with onion. Top with carrot, meat and pour over the rest warmed oil.
Palov with kasi (the sort of sausage from horse’s flesh) is cooked mainly in Bukhara, Samarkand, Tashkent regions and in Fergana valley.
Kasi is used in place of meat in such palov. Put kasi into cold water and boil until done. Then put over zirvak which is cooked according to Fergana or Samarkand recipes, put over water, add salt and boil until carrot is done. Further cook as palov with meat.
Before serving shape palov in heap, top with slices of kasi.
Palov with goloubtsi (minced meat wraped up into grape leaves) is cooked all over the republic, except Khorazm region.
Cut off spring leaves of grape, remove rough parts, put fat trough the mincer, add finely shredded onion, salt, pepper. Wrap up meat into leaves, place in the boiler over hot zirvak. Pour water covering goloubtsi and boil over slow fire for 45-50 minutes. Then put washed rice over goloubtsi, pour over water, add salt and boil as palov with meat. When serving shape in heap, top with goloubtsi.
Peas is mainly used when cooking palov according to Fergana or Samarkand recipes. Palov with peas is cooked all over Uzbekistan (except Khorazm region) using noot (local sort of peas). Treatment of peas is a very important part: sort it out, wash with cold water and steep for 12-14 hours. Change water for 4-5 times. If to add salt then peas is done faster.
Cut meat, onion, carrot into small cubes and brown together. Put peas into ready zirvak, pour over water, add salt, spices and boil over a slow fire for about an hour. When too violent boiling peas can bedly be ready. Place rice over peas in even layer and boil as Samarkand or Fergana palov.