Plovs are rice dishes from Central Asia. Most of the “stans” eat plovs of one sort or another, usually with lamb and carrot. This version comes from Uzbekistan. They wouldn’t have cranberries there but use another kind of red berry called barberries and also dried mulberries.

For a non-Christmassy version you can leave out the dried fruit and cinnamon

You will need: 1 pot with lid (preferably non stick), measuring cup/jug or scales, vegetable oil, large sieve if possible, salt and pepper

1 tbsp (15ml) veg oil
200-250g lamb cubes
150g long grain rice (2/3 of a cup)
250ml/250g (1 cup) water
1 beef or lamb stock cube
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
1 tsp ground cumin
200g carrots
60g mixed dried fruit (we used 3 tbsps cranberries, 2 tbsps raisins/sultanas and 2
tbsps apricots) (optional)
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

  • First wash the rice until the water runs clear, and then drain it in a sieve or as
    well as you can. Add back the 1 cup of water and leave to soak for 30 mins.
    This is essential when making a plov to make it easier for the rice to cook.
  • Dice your lamb into small pieces no bigger than 1 inch square. If there is
    bone or large bits of fat, cut it away, you only want the meat for this dish.
  • Slice your onion into thin rings and sweat it gently in the vegetable oil.
  • Crush or chop the garlic and add it in
  • Add in the lamb and continue to fry the whole mix, stirring so it doesn’t burn.
  • Peel the carrot and “cut it like hay” into thin slices. If this seems too tedious
    you can just grate it on the thick side of the grater.
  • When the lamb pieces and onions are browned, crumble in the stock cube.
  • Add the garlic, spices, carrots, salt and pepper to the pan. Stir around well.
  • Depending how large your “bits of hay” are, you may want to fry it a couple
    more minutes. If they are really hay-sized, or grated, no need to do this.
  • Pour the whole bowl of rice in, with the water, all together. Add in the
    dried fruit. Stir it around till well mixed.
  • Bring the whole lot to the boil and then cover tightly with the lid. Turn the
    heat down really low (as low as you can get) and cook for 20 minutes.  Don’t
    open the lid!!
  • Leave the lid on for another 5 minutes to rest then fluff and serve

Serves: 2
Calories per serving (including rice): 730