Bukharian Oshplau or "Plov" (Rice Pilaff)
Why I Love This Recipe
This is a recipe from Central Asia. It is a common dish served throught the "'stans" (Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrghistan, etc.) My family is from that area and this is a family recipe.
Ingredients You'll Need
2 ½ cups rice
3 1/4 cups boiling water
2 large yellow onions, sliced
1 lb. carrots, cut into thin juliennes
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (3 - 4 lb) chicken, cut into 8-10 pieces
½ cup raisins
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
Wash rice and rinse several times until water is clear. Drain. Put in a bowl with 1 tsp. salt and pour boiling water over it. Mix well and leave to soak for about an hour.
Fry the onions and half the carrots in the oil in a pot until the onion is soft and translucent. Stir in the cumin and cinnamon. Pat the chicken dry and add to pot. Season with salt and pepper and cook, turning the pieces over for about 10 minutes. Cover with the remaining carrots and sprinkle with pepper. Leave on a very low fire for a few minutes longer.
Mix the raisins with the rice and then pour the rice with its soaking water over the carrots, distributing it evenly over the top without mixing it in or disturbing the layers. Cover the pot and simmer for 15 minutes. Using the handle of a wooden spoon poke about seven holes into the rice reaching to the bottom of the pot. Cover the pot with a towel, return the lid and simmer over low heat until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed - about another 20 minutes. You may need to add a little water if it becomes dry before the rice is cooked. Remove from the fire and let stand for about 10 minutes.
Carefully spoon the rice onto a serving dish, then put the chicken and carrots on top. In other words, invert the pot onto a serving dish. There is an art to dishing out the plov from the pot - first the rice, then the carrots, then the chicken and then the onions.