Pilaf is a traditional middle-eastern dish that was first mentioned in ancient Indian text Mahabharata. Today this meal brings together families in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and other middle-eastern countries. Here is a recipe of this wonderful fragranced dish that you will definitely enjoy.
- 1½ lbs Beef chuck, beef sirloin or good quality beef stew meat
- ⅓ cup canola oil, or extra light olive oil (not extra virgin)
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 3 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks or grated
- 1 tsp salt for the meat and veggies + 1½ tsp salt for the rice
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 1¾ cups hot water for braising meat
- 3 cups long grain rice (Basmati or Jasmin rice work great!)
- 4 cups hot water when cooking rice
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 head of garlic
- Trim beef of excess fat and sinews, dry it with a paper towel and chop into medium size pieces.
- Preheat your pot (which should be large soup pot with a heavy bottom) to high heat. Once it's hot, stir in your oil. Once oil is hot, add chopped meat and saute uncovered 7 min over high heat until meat is browned, stirring every minute or so.
Note: it's important to preheat the dutch oven first for the meat to sear over very high heat, otherwise it will juice out and become dry.
- Reduce heat to medium and add chopped onion, stirring often until onion is softened (5 minutes). Stir in sliced carrots, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp cumin, 3-4 bay leaves and continue to cook over medium heat 5 minutes until carrots are softened.
- Add 1¾ cups hot water, cover and simmer over medium/low heat 45 min or until meat is tender.
- Meanwhile, rinse rice until water runs clear, then drain and set aside (this gets rid of the starch so you won't end up with a sticky rice).
- Spread rice over the meat and add 4 cups hot water. Sprinkle the rice with 1½ tsp salt (DO NOT STIR), bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium and Let cook uncovered until most of the water is absorbed (10 min).
- Cut off the head of your garlic to expose the cloves. Put your head of garlic, cut side down into the center of the rice and sprinkle the top of the rice with 1 tsp ground coriander.
- Poke 7-10 holes through the rice to allow steam to escape to the surface, reduce the heat to low then cover and cook an additional 15 minutes or until rice is cooked through. Remove the garlic head and bay leaves and stir everything gently to combine and you're done.