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Tastes and aromas of Uzbekistan: Discovering the secrets of Uzbek cuisine

Uzbekistan is a country where tastes, aromas and culinary traditions have become an integral part of its national identity. We invite readers to an exciting gastronomic journey, during which you will have the opportunity to discover the unique tastes and aromas of Uzbekistan.



Uzbek cuisine can be considered a treasure of national cultural heritage. Many historical, geographical and cultural factors have led to the diversity and uniqueness of Uzbek dishes and culinary traditions. The peculiarities of Uzbek cuisine include the use of a wealth of spices, herbs and aromatic additives that give Uzbek dishes a unique taste and aroma. Such dishes as manti, lagman, pilaf and samsa have long become gastronomic symbols of Uzbekistan.


Hospitality and food culture should be attributed to gastronomic culture. It is the celebration of the hospitality and traditions of Uzbek guests that become part of the culinary experience in Uzbekistan. A meal is not just a meal as a snack, but as a way to unite family and friends, as well as a way to transmit and preserve cultural values.

Uzbek cuisine is famous for its rich traditions and unsurpassed tastes. This cuisine is considered one of the tastiest and most famous in Central Asia. Let me introduce you to some of the most popular dishes of Uzbek cuisine, which will surely enchant you.


1. Pilaf:

Plov is an integral part of Uzbek culture and a symbol of hospitality. This is a delicious risotto made from rice, meat (usually lamb or mutton), carrots, onions and various spices. This dish is prepared in large cauldrons, which gives it a special taste. Pilaf is usually served with a salad and a tender palyanitsa.


#Uzbek_pilaf is an unparalleled symphony of tastes and aromas, which has become an integral part of the cultural experience of Uzbekistan. This exquisite dish has its own unique ingredients, cooking features and unique taste.


Ingredients of Uzbek pilaf

The ingredients of Uzbek pilaf can vary, but the main components are:


1. Rice: For pilaf, a special variety of rice is used, which has long or round grains and an excellent ability to absorb flavors. In Uzbekistan, different varieties of rice are used to prepare pilaf, but the two most common and recognized as ideal for pilaf are "Oshiba" (O'sh va) and "Royal" (Sulton). Both of these varieties of rice have certain characteristics that make pilaf exquisite and tasty.


  • O'sh va: This variety of rice is known for its long grains, which absorb flavors well and have an excellent ability not to stick together during cooking. It gives the pilaf a fluffy structure and a light texture.

  • Royal" (Sulton): This variety of rice is characterized by its large and long grains that remain separate and fluffy after cooking. It has a delicate taste and aroma, giving the pilaf a luxurious look and texture.


Both of these types of rice are ideal for making Uzbek pilaf, as they help preserve the structure and texture of the rice, as well as absorb the flavors and aromas of the meat and spices added to the pilaf Using the right kind of rice plays an important role in achieving the authentic taste and consistency of Uzbek pilaf.


In addition, rice varieties such as Alanga, Avangard or Devzira are often used for pilaf. Recently, even in Uzbekistan, they began to prepare pilaf from #Basmati rice.


Basmati rice, which has its own unique aromatic quality, can be used to make Uzbek pilaf, but there are some peculiarities to consider.


Uzbek pilaf is traditionally prepared with long-grain rice, which has the ability to remain separate after cooking and give the pilaf a fluffy texture. Basmati rice, on the other hand, has its own distinct texture and flavor, including long, thin grains and a slight honey or floral aroma.


If you use Basmati rice to prepare Uzbek pilaf, you should consider the following:

1. Texture: Basmati rice has a tendency to stick together when cooked because it contains more starch than the traditional rice used for pilaf. This can lead to less separated rice in the finished pilaf.

2. Aroma: Basmati rice has a strong aroma that can overpower the taste and aroma of other pilaf ingredients, such as meat and spices. This can affect the typical taste of Uzbek pilaf.

If you decide to use Basmati rice for cooking pilaf, it is recommended to soak it for 30-60 minutes before cooking to reduce its tendency to stick. It is also worth using a smaller amount of water when cooking to avoid softening the rice.



In general, Basmati rice can give pilaf its own unique taste and aroma. However, if you are looking for a completely authentic Uzbek pilaf with its characteristic texture and taste, it is recommended to use the traditional long-grain rice used in the recipe.


2. Meat: Lamb or mutton is usually used, but there may be beef or mutton options. The meat is cut into small pieces or cubes if it is a Tashkent or Fergana version of pilaf. In the Samarkand version of the Uzbek pilaf, the meat is cut into large pieces.

Cooking meat is an important component of Uzbek pilaf, as it gives the dish a rich taste and texture. Here are a few steps you can take to properly cook meat in Uzbek pilaf:


a) Choice of meat: Traditionally, sheep or beef is used in Uzbek pilaf. Choose quality meat with meaty pieces and a small amount of fat. It is important that the meat is fresh and without damage.


b) Cut: Meat should be cut into small pieces or cubes so that it is evenly fried and cooked. The size of the cubes can be approximately 2-3 cm.


c) Frying: In a large cauldron or pan, heat oil or fat (mutton fat is traditionally used) and add chopped meat. Fry it over medium heat until golden. This step helps to seal the juices in the meat and give it a rich flavor.


d) Adding onions: Add chopped onions to the fried meat and continue frying until the onions are soft. Onions will add a sweet note and improve the taste of meat.


e) Preparation for cooking: Add the required amount of water or broth to the meat and onions to cover the meat completely. Cook over medium heat until the meat becomes soft and tender. Depending on the type of meat, it can take from 1 to 2 hours.



It is important to follow the correct preparation of meat so that it becomes soft and juicy, adding a rich taste and texture to Uzbek pilaf.


3. Carrot: Carrot plays an important role in Uzbek pilaf. It is cut into thin straw strips or cubes and added to rice and meat. Traditionally, red carrots, which have a rich orange or red color, are used to prepare Uzbek pilaf. This type of carrot, as mentioned earlier, is called "sary mysir" or "red carrot". The use of this type of carrot gives the pilaf a special taste, aroma and appearance.However, in some cases, especially outside Uzbekistan, yellow carrots can be used to prepare pilaf.



Yellow carrots are the more common variety available in many countries. It also has good taste and nutritional properties, but it can give a slightly different color and taste to pilaf.Using yellow carrots instead of red can change the appearance of the pilaf, turning it into a light yellow color. However, the taste and aroma of pilaf can still be tasty and rich. It is important to choose fresh and high-quality yellow carrots to preserve the taste qualities of pilaf.So, although red carrots are traditionally used for Uzbek pilaf, yellow carrots can also be used in some cases, depending on availability and personal preference.



4. Onion: Onion adds flavor and piquancy to pilaf. It is cut into thin half rings or cubes and fried together with meat. In the recipe for Uzbek pilaf, the amount of onion can vary depending on personal taste and aroma preferences. However, it is generally recommended to use a relatively large amount of onion for pilaf, as it adds flavor nuances and softness to the dish.


About 3-4 medium bulbs can be used for 1 kg of meat for Uzbek pilaf. This is for a standard recipe. The onion can be cut into thin half rings or small cubes, depending on your own preferences regarding the size of the onion pieces in the pilaf.


Adding a sufficient amount of onion will help enhance the taste and aroma of pilaf, and also create softness and tenderness in the meat. However, if you wish, you can vary the amount of onion according to your personal preferences and taste requirements.


5. Spices: Uzbek pilaf is known for its rich taste and aroma, which are formed thanks to the use of various spices. The main spices used in Uzbek pilaf include the following:

1. Turmeric (yellow root): This spice gives pilaf an attractive yellow color and a light aroma.2. Cumin: Adds piquancy and flavor to pilaf.3. Coriander: This spice has a fresh aroma and a light citrus note, which adds a special taste to pilaf.4. Pepper: Used to add spiciness and piquancy to the dish.5. Paprika: Adds a delicate sweet note and a luxurious red color to the pilaf.6. Saffron: This expensive spice has an intense aroma and gives pilaf a rich taste and a bright yellow color.7. Garlic: Used to enhance the taste and aroma of pilaf.8. Sumac: This spice has a slightly sour taste and adds a refreshing note to the pilaf.



Besides these main spices, other herbs and spices such as cardamom, ginger root, bay leaf, black pepper, etc. can be used to add variety to the taste and aroma of the pilaf.< /span>It is important to note that exact proportions of spices may vary depending on the recipe and personal preference. Each cook has his own unique ways of using spices, so some ingredients may change in different versions of Uzbek pilaf.


Cooking Uzbek pilaf

Cooking Uzbek pilaf is a real art that is passed down from generation to generation. The main method of preparation consists of the following stages:


1. Pre-pickling of meat: Meat can be marinated in a special sauce with spices and seasonings to enhance the taste.


2. Frying: Heat the oil in a deep cauldron or pan and fry the meat together with onions until golden.


3. Adding carrots: Carrots are added to the fried meat and continue to fry until soft.


4. Adding rice: Rice is added to the meat and carrot mixture, which is thoroughly washed and soaked before use. The rice is distributed evenly over the cauldron and poured with hot water.


5. Cooking on low heat: Close the pot with pilaf with a lid and cook on low heat until the rice and meat are fully cooked. It is important to maintain the correct ratio of rice and water so that the pilaf is airy and fluffy.


Uzbek pilaf is served hot, usually on a large dish. It can be decorated with fresh herbs, hot pepper or lemon juice. Each piece of pilaf offers satiety and deep taste, while preserving the tenderness of the meat and the aroma of the rice.


Uzbek pilaf is a real gastronomic masterpiece that attracts fans of excellent cuisine from all over the world. It is a symbol of hospitality and taste of Uzbekistan and leaves an unforgettable impression on everyone who tries it.

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