Birthday Uzbek Lamb Plov (with bonus candle-blowing-out photo)

Qalaysiz!  According to the internet, that’s Uzbek for hi.

I’m back!!

Hope you’ve had a spiffing couple of weeks as mine have been brilliant.  My first lot of exams are done, I’ve graduated, I’ve been to Amsterdam for the first time ever and I’ve eaten lots of yummy food which was lovingly cooked for me by other people 😀  Today it’s A Man’s birthday and his answer to the inevitable question of what he wanted for his birthday tea was “something with lamb in it”.  I could have done crispy lamb again, or a tagine, but decided to do a little recipe scouring for some new inspiration and I’m pretty chuffed with the result.

I more or less followed the recipe for Aliona’s Plov in the Ballymaloe Coookery Course but with a couple of alterations.  I’m really annoyed with myself that I forgot to add the whole garlic bulb with the rice, but next time I’ll endeavour to remember (yes, there will be a next time).  The salad is also heavily based on the recommended accompaniment of Korean Carrot Salad, but I added fennel as I thought it would go.  I was right.

I have no idea if this is anything close to how a genuine Plov should be – I’d never even heard of it until reading it in the book.  What I do know is that it was very tasty; a kind of hearty pilaf.  One worth trying out.

For now, here’s a photo of A Man blowing out his candles.  Awww.

23 candles. 23. They were a bitch to light!

Much love

Gemma xx

Uzbek Lamb Plov with Warm Carrot and Fennel Salad

Small piece of lamb shoulder
Diced onion
Carrot chopped into sticks (don’t worry about peeling unless it really needs it)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
A few twists of a chilli mill
1 teaspoon turmeric
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
Salt and pepper
About 1 oz/25g basmati rice per person
1 whole garlic bulb

For the Salad

Olive oil
Thinly sliced onion
Thinly sliced fennel
Grated carrot
1 heaped teaspoon ground coriander
1 dessertspoon brown sugar
3 dessertspoons cider vinegar
Large handful fresh coriander, stalks and leaves roughly chopped

  1. Cut the lamb into cubes roughly the same size.  Separate the fatty meat from the lean meat.
  2. Heat a saucepan on a very hot stove.  Add the fatty lamb and immediately turn down to a medium-low heat.  Add any bones from the lamb.  The idea is to render as much fat from the lamb as possible, so this may need to stay on the low heat for quite some time.  Stir occasionally to prevent it sticking.
  3. If desired, pour away some of the lamb fat (I poured the vast majority off, and retained it – it’s make lovely roast potatoes!).  Fry the onion and garlic cloves in the fat until starting to soften.  Add the carrot and spices and fry for a few minutes.
  4. Turn the heat up a little and add the lean lamb, stirring to ensure all sides are browned.  Add enough boiling water to just cover the meat.  Simmer with the lid on for 20 – 30 minutes, until the meat is tender.
  5. Stir in the rice and place the garlic bulb in the middle of the pan.  Replace the lid.  Cook on a very low heat, stirring occasionally until the rice is cooked through.  Add more water if necessary.
  6. Heat some olive oil in a pan.  Fry the onion, fennel and carrot for a couple of minutes.  Stir through the ground coriander.
  7. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar.  Remove the carrot from the heat and stir the vinegar and fresh coriander through the veg.  Serve with the plov immediately, while the salad is still hot.

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