Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Uzbek Plov

So, we've been making our way from Venice to China in a merchant caravan (child-led learning is so awesome!) Along the way, we're getting exposed to all kinds of cultures and cuisines.

As we travel through Central Asia, we meet Kazakhs, Kyrgyzs, Tajiks, Turkmen and Uzbeks. The Uzbeks introduce us to their fragrant, spicy rice dish called plov. (That's the Uzbek version of the Russian word pilaf.)

That's a whole lotta onions! (Four large ones, to be exact.)

Traditional plov calls for an entire head of garlic. You are supposed to trim the end off and steam the bulb in the middle of the rice as it cooks. I didn't have an entire head of garlic, and I wasn't brave enough to try the steaming method, so this is what we used.

By the way, if you don't have one of these nifty little garlic twisters, you should get one. I got mine from Lehman's but they are widely available.

Cook your onions, carrots, spices and garlic until the vegetables are just getting tender. The recipe we used called for cumin, coriander, turmeric, paprika, salt and pepper.

Measure and rinse your rice. Oops!

Put the vegetables in a tall pot and cover them with rice. Then pour in enough boiling water to just cover the rice.

Put the lid on and cook 15 minutes or so and you have delicious, hearty plov!

We learned about plov from this absolutely fantastic book by Kathy Ceceri. It's well-written, with lots of great information and fun projects. We got it at the library, but I like it so much, I'm thinking of buying a copy. (In fact, I almost had to buy this copy, after a near-miss with the olive oil today!)

We had lots of fun cooking together and learning about the Silk Road. Hope you had a great day, too! Enjoy your journey, wherever it takes you!


Karen said...

I can almost smell the plov, and it's really a wonderful scent!
I'm going to try and find that book in our library, it comes at the right time for us - lots of interest in the Silk Road after doing a Top Secret Adventure about China.

Hope your corner of the Rockies is in good shape, not near any of the wildfires we're hearing about!


Sara said...

That looks like wonderful rice! I'll have to check out that book soon when we get to the Silk Road in our history studies.

Phyllis said...

Yum! What a fun way to study!

Karen said...

That looks yummy. I love all the pictures. I think that exploring Geography with food is the best idea ever. Do you read Phyllis at ? She uses cooking so much in History/ Geography. I think we HAVE that book!! Off to search for it.

Great post!

Susan said...

This looks like a great activity! Isn't Kathy Ceceri great? We recently went to a workshop of hers at a local library ( She has a robotics book coming out this summer that I am looking forward to, and I just borrowed her Around the World Crafts book from the looks like there are loads of fun things that we'd like to do!

Michelle said...

Sounds tasty!!! Reminds me of our jambalaya, but with different spices and local ingredients. I love seeing how recipe concepts evolve in different cultures!

Sparklee said...

Karen, it did smell wonderful. And it disappeared fast! Nope, we weren't in the latest evacuation zone, but it's still scary to have a burn ban in April. This is supposed to be mud season!

Sara and Phyllis, it was very yummy. It's the kind of thing that my boy wouldn't eat if I made it for him, but since he helped make it, he was eager to try it!

Karen, we think so, too! Geography is so much more than drawing maps and learning capitals!

Susan I am so jealous that you got to do a workshop with Kathy Ceceri! I looked at her website and she has some great ideas. Can't wait for her new book to come out!

Michelle, it was certainly as spicy as jambalaya, even with different spices. Of course, the traditional plov would have lamb, not spicy sausage like good jambalaya!

Thanks to everyone for stopping by. I'm trying to get back to my neglected blog and catch up with my blog buddies!

Anna said...

I love your take on plov! I grew up eating it (the more traditional versions) as well as other Uzbek dishes. I'm also very impressed that your kids are learning about that part of the world; I don't remember it being taught in American public schools, and as someone who was born and raised in Uzbekistan (Tashkent), it always made me a little sad that people are missing out on the great food and rich history of the region.

Anonymous said...

Hi there! Susan sent me a link to your post on Facebook.How cool! I'm so glad you're enjoying my book. My favorite bit of research was going to a Central Asian restaurant in the "Regostan" part of Queens, NY and getting to sample all the dishes I had read about. For more recipes, I highly recommend the Uzbek cookbook listed in the back of the book. If you do any more Silk Road activities, feel free to post a link on my Crafts for Learning FB page. Thanks!

Sparklee said...

Hi, Anna, thanks for stopping by! I looked at other recipes on your blog and can't wait to try more! We love learning about new cultures and countries (especially when good food is involved!)

Kathy, we loved your Silk Road book and we can't wait for your next one! I'm so excited that you visited my blog!

Anonymous said...

My 12 yr. old son was wondering if you ever finished the Swiss Family Robinson's Island Map? If you did we'd love to see the finished version - very cool idea! ; )
The Clements Family

Sparklee said...

Yes, we did! And I hung it on the wall and forgot to post a photo of it! Will take a picture when we get home (visiting Mimi at the moment.) It turned out really cool. I don't know if we put all the landmarks where they were "supposed" to be, but it was interesting to see the vision that we came up with as we read.

Thanks for visiting!