Vegan Uzbek Plov (pilaf)

Vegan Plov
Vegan Plov

This is veganized version of Uzbek pilaf (plov), which is very delicious and considered a “real men food”.

Making of plov has a lot of traditions one of them is that it’s made by men only.

So here is what we’ll need for plov:

Ingredients for vegan plov
Ingredients for vegan plov

Ingredients:
rice 3 cups

  • carrots – 1 kg (about 2 pounds)
  • onions – 1 kg (about 2 pounds)
  • vegetable oil – 1.5 cups (traditionally cottonseed oil is used, but you can use any available vegetable oil, we’re using sunflower oil)
  • dried chickpeas – 1 cup (if you don’ have them you can skip them, or switch them with canned)
  • garlic 2-3 heads
  • dried soy meat or TVP – 100 gr (0.2 pounds)  I don’t like soy meat and this pilaf can be made without it but I like the look of meat-eaters when they try this pilaf and I tell them that’s not real meat.
  • hot chili pepper
  • curcuma – 2 tsp
  • coriander powder – 2 tsp
  • cumin powder – 1 tsp
  • Berberis – 1 tsp (if you’ll find any)
  • salt – 3 tsp (but you’ll have to taste)

Also for making pilaf usually is used a big Uzbek wok and it’s made on fire, but since it takes a lot of space we’ll use a more European cauldron and will make the pilaf on stove:

Cauldron
Cauldron

If you have dried chickpeas you’ll have to soak them in advance:

Soaking Chickpeas
Soaking Chickpeas

Better to do it overnight.
So now we have soaked chickpeas and we can start our plov. First of all we’ll need to wash and soak our rice:

Soaking Rice
Soaking Rice

Then we’ll clean and peel our vegetables:

Carrots and onions
Carrots and onions

Note that we don’t need to peel garlic cloves:

Garlic Cloves
Garlic Cloves

In Uzbek plov they often don’t peal entire heads of garlic.
So let’s put our cauldron to heat and add oil :

Oil in Pan
Oil in Pan

Also we’ll need a kettle of boiling water soon, so it’s time to put it on fire. While oil is heating we’ll have to cut onion:

Cutting Onions
Cutting Onions

Note that real men do it in real time 🙂
Then we put it into our wok and start frying it:

Frying Onion
Frying Onion

While it fries we cut the carrots, remembering from time to time to mix the onions, traditional way is to cut carrots into strips:

Cutting Carrots
Cutting Carrots

But we also can grate carrots with almost the same result:

Grating Carrots
Grating Carrots

After carrots are ready you throw them to onions to fry a little:

Frying Carrots
Frying Carrots

In few minutes it’s time to add water, it should cover everything by one finger. With water we’ll add salt, curcuma, cumin, coriander, hot pepper, soy meat, chickpeas and garlic. The resulting mix is called zirvak, you try it for salt (it should be a little over-salted, because we’ll add rice later:

Zirvak
Zirvak

Zirvak should boil for about 20-30 minutes, but some chefs say the more you boil it the tastier will be the pilaf.
After that we’re adding rice, we spread it evenly on top:

Adding Rice to zirvak
Adding Rice to zirvak

Then carefully, we’ll add more boiling water to cover rice by about 2 fingers (1 inch).
When all the water evaporates:

Rice Almost Ready
Rice Almost Ready

You let it cook for a little more time 5-10 minutes, then it’s ready, you mix everything and you serve it with some salads, tradition is to have onions, or onions with tomatoes.

Vegan Plov
Vegan Plov

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