Ukrainian Plov aka Rice Pilaf with Beef

Saturday, July 20, 2013


My mom makes the most amazing plov. I've tried many that were too dry or just didn't have enough flavor. This one is bursting with flavor. It's one of my kids' favorite meals, and I love to make a large pot of it and eat it all week long. Super easy and delicious. I called this Ukrainian plov because my mom made it in Ukraine, and it's a classic dish eaten in every Ukrainian household. I'm not saying it originated in Ukraine, so please don't take offense. It may be from Uzbekistan but I haven't researched it (it seems they really like to point out it's theirs, so that's what I'm going with). :)  I think it's traditionally made with lamb, but I love mine with a leaner cut of beef. My mom uses beef as well.

There are four main ingredients to this dish--beef, carrots, onions, and rice. There's also cumin, salt, pepper, and oil (I use olive because it's healthiest). The fun part is measuring the four ingredients out, because you basically need roughly equal portions of each one of them. Pick a bowl you want to use and measure everything out with that. My bowls fit 3 1/2 cups of each item, but I always use a bit less rice (about 1/4 cup less), which surprisingly makes a big difference. Using the full 3 1/2 cups makes the plov too white, which equals less flavor. I also use a tiny bit less meat so it's not too meaty. I also used to pack it down in the bowl, but now I know to leave it loose or I'll get too much meat. It's a practice-makes-perfect kind of thing, and when my mom gave me the recipe (from her head), she told me equal portions. I kept wondering for the longest time why it wasn't turning out right, and after some tweaking, I realized it's not exactly equal portions.

3 1/2 cups or any other amount of rice (I use basmati which isn't sticky; you want it to fall apart)
3 1/2 cups or any other amount carrots--shredded
3 1/2 cups or any other amount onions--diced
3 1/2 cups or any other amount beef--cubed
about 3/4 tsp. cumin
about 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Measure out and prepare your first four ingredients, tossing beef with cumin, salt, and pepper. Add 1/2 cup olive oil to a large skillet and add diced onions. When onions are soft and yellow, add beef to skillet and fry on medium-high for 20-25 minutes until beef is browned. (My beef burns quickly on medium-high, so I turn it down to medium after a few minutes.) The key is to stir often so it doesn't burn. At this point, the onions have basically vanished--magic! Fry shredded carrots in a medium skillet in 1/4 cup olive oil until soft, about 7-10 minutes. Add carrots to meat when the meat is done browning, turn heat down to low, and let cook another 15-20 minutes, again stirring often.

Meanwhile, add 2 cups water for every cup of rice you are using to a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the meat mixture to the water, then add your washed rice on top, making sure not to stir except to even the rice out a bit. Simmer on low for 16 minutes for basmati rice, or as long as your rice needs to cook through. Stir rice and meat together gently, without mashing it or over stirring. Your rice should get it's pretty brown color at this point, and if it does, you've done it right! :) Put the lid back on and let it rest at least 10 minutes to let the flavors say hello.

That's it! Let me know how it turns out when you make this dish. I'd love to hear from you.



Post a Comment