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Soul food recipes from Central Asia

phosphorusLow is really not part of the light cuisine. Nevertheless, the following applies to this dish: No matter what variant it is on the table, it is important to eat a lot. Rice, lamb, (yellow) carrots and a lot of fat are the basic ingredients of Eastern recipes, very popular from Turkey to Xinjiang in northwestern China.

After four years in Central Asia, I can say that I ate the best plow of my life in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. Not at a high-end restaurant, but at a small stall in Chorsu Bazaar. There are a few wooden chairs and wooden tables, covered with oilcloth tablecloths. The salesman waved a wooden spoon in a large pot. The plough is a luxurious version with chickpeas, raisins and quail eggs. It’s greasy, just like the plow should be, but it doesn’t ooze. The sweetness of raisins is perfectly combined with the rich taste of sheep meat. The yellow carrot adds a little sweetness. There are also small quail eggs, which taste similar to eggs, but are stronger than these, making this dish more perfect.

Rice can also be cooked in a wok or large pan at home.

Rice can also be cooked in a wok or large pan at home.

Image: Othmara Glas

Uzbeks and Tajiks are definitely masters of plow cooking. Plow, also known as pilaf, Palau or Osh, represents hospitality, community and identity in Central Asia, because this dish can only be eaten in the company and has its own characteristics depending on the region and the family. There are even variants of pears. It appears on the dining table at any time of the year, in the midsummer of 50 degrees Celsius and freezing temperatures below zero. At weddings and parties, plow cooks called oshpas can cook a lot of meals, enough to feed thousands of people. All that is needed is a huge cast iron boiler, which widens towards the top, the so-called Kazan. Plow cooking even has real champions. The current world record is 7,360 kg.

A tested plow formula

For four to five servings of this classic rice, you need 500 grams of meat, 500 grams of carrots, 500 grams of rice, 200 grams of raisins, 250 grams of chickpeas, two onions, two peppers, and three cloves of garlic. Salt, pepper, bay leaf, coriander and chili powder are enough to taste.

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