Delicious Uyghur Polo Recipe – A Tantalizing Adventure

The Uyghur Polo (Pilaf) Recipe is a rice dish infused with tons of flavor and lamb cumin chili peppers, creating a sensational feast for your taste buds. This recipe comes from the Uyghur cuisine, which is known for its unique combination of Chinese and Central Asian flavors. If you are looking to try something new and exotic, then this dish is perfect for you.

As an omnivore cookbook author, I have tasted many foods from different cultures, and I can confidently say that Uyghur cuisine is one of my favorites. The use of spices and the way they are cooked in this cuisine creates dishes that are packed with flavor, and the Uyghur Polo (Pilaf) Recipe is no exception.

In this article, I will guide you through each step of the recipe so that you can recreate this delicious dish at home. Don’t worry if you have never cooked Uyghur food before; I will provide tips and recommendations to ensure that you achieve the best results possible.

So put on your apron, grab your ingredients, and let’s get cooking!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Uyghur Polo (Pilaf)
Uyghur Polo (Pilaf)

Imagine a dish infused with tons of flavor, from the tender lamb to the fragrant cumin and chili peppers creating a sensational feast for your taste buds. This is what you’ll get when you try Uyghur Polo (Pilaf), a rice dish with roots in central Asia and a star in our kitchen.

The combination of lamb and rice pilaf is both delicious and satisfying, making it a go-to recipe for any occasion. Plus, it’s incredibly versatile and can be made with beef or even vegetables if you’re an omnivore or vegetarian cookbook.

Not only is this recipe flavorful, but it’s also easy to make. All you need are some staple ingredients such as rice, water, salt, onion, carrot, garlic bulb, and of course, lamb. It’s a perfect dinner option for a busy weeknight or as an impressive main course for your next family gathering.

Uyghur Polo has been passed down through generations of cooks in the Xinjiang province of China where Uyghur cuisine originated. It’s no wonder this signature dish has become one of China’s iconic food items as it showcases the unique flavors found in Uyghur food.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a simple yet flavorful dish that is perfect for any season and satisfies all cravings, then Uyghur Polo Pilaf is the answer. Whether you’ve had it before or are new to this cuisine – one bite and you’ll undoubtedly fall in love with this fried rice recipe!

Ingredient List

 Aromatic spices enhance each grain of Uyghur Polo.
Aromatic spices enhance each grain of Uyghur Polo.

Here are the ingredients you will need to create the flavorful and aromatic Uyghur Polo (Pilaf). This recipe serves 6-8 people.

Main Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds lamb (ribs, shoulder or leg cut into 2-3 inch cubes)

  • 1 lb beef

  • 2 onions peeled and chopped

  • 1 bulb of garlic

  • 3 cups rice

  • 1 cup oil

  • 4 cups water


  • Cumin

  • Salt

  • Chili peppers


  • Carrot

  • Onion


  • Raisins

All of these ingredients can be found easily at any grocery store. The combination of spices, vegetables, and meats infuses tons of flavor into the dish, creating a sensational feast that represents the best of Uyghur cuisine.

The Recipe How-To

 Witness the golden crust form on the bottom layer of the Pilaf.
Witness the golden crust form on the bottom layer of the Pilaf.

Now, it’s time for the fun part. Let’s jump right into how to make this uyghur polo. Trust me, the aromas of the rice infused with tons of flavors from the lamb, cumin, chili peppers, and fragrant onions and carrots will transport you straight to the ancient Silk Road in central Asia.


  • 2 pounds lamb (ribs, shoulder, leg), cut into 2-3 inch cubes
  • 3 bulb of garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 onion peeled and chopped
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 2 cups rice
  • 1 lb beef
  • 2-3 cups water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup oil


Step One: Cook your marinated lamb and beef.

Firstly, Marinate the lamb and beef with cumin powder for about 30 minutes. Then heat oil in a pan and fry the meat until browned. After that, add water enough to cover it and cook it until it gets tender.

Step Two: Saute carrots, garlic cloves and onions.

While waiting for the meat to cook thoroughly for around an hour or two, we can prepare other ingredients. In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat up oil then saute chopped onions until translucent. Then add minced garlic and diced carrots. Sauté it all together until soft and flavorful.

Step Three: Add some water and bring to boil.

Put all your mixed sautéed ingredients into a pot. A big one is preferable as you will eventually pour in all the cooked lamb broth plus additional water at this point. You can adjust adding more or less water depending on how sticky you’d like your rice.

Step Four: Cook rice infused with spices.

After washing the rice thoroughly under cold water to get rid of excess starch dump in a cup of raisins along with boiled meat on top of your cooked vegetables mix. Add cumin powder and salt to taste then simmer over medium heat until rice is cooked through.

Step Five: Fluff & Serve

Your Uyghur-style rice pilaf is now ready! Don’t forget to sprinkle some finely chopped parsley before serving. This hearty dish makes a delightful main course that everyone will love!

We hope this recipe helps you bring some delicious Xinjiang (Chinese name for northwest China) flavor into your own home!

Substitutions and Variations

 The steam from the cooking Pilaf brings out its rich flavors.
The steam from the cooking Pilaf brings out its rich flavors.

The beauty of uyghur polo (pilaf) recipe is that it is adaptable to various tastes and preferences. Here are some substitutions and variations you can try:

– Beef instead of lamb: If you prefer beef or cannot find lamb meat, go ahead and substitute it. Make sure to use a tender cut, such as sirloin or rib-eye, and adjust the cooking time as needed.

– Vegetarian option: To make a meatless version of uyghur polo, simply omit the meat and replace it with more vegetables, such as mushrooms, peas, and bell peppers. You can also use vegetable broth instead of water for extra flavor.

– Add nuts and dried fruit: Besides raisins, you can add other types of nuts and dried fruit to the pilaf for extra texture and sweetness. Consider using chopped almonds, pistachios, apricots or cranberries.

– Experiment with spices: While cumin is the main spice used in this recipe, you can also add other spices to create different flavor profiles. Try adding paprika for a smoky taste, turmeric for a golden color or ginger for an aromatic kick.

– Use different types of rice: While basmati rice is commonly used in this dish, you can also try other types of long-grain rice or even brown rice for a healthier twist. Just note that cooking times may vary depending on the type of rice used.

These are just some ideas to get you started on customizing your uyghur polo recipe. Feel free to get creative with your own variations and share your results with us!

Serving and Pairing

 The vibrant colors of the Uyghur Polo will make your mouth water.
The vibrant colors of the Uyghur Polo will make your mouth water.

When it comes to uyghur polo, it’s best served hot and fresh. You can enjoy this dish on its own, but it’s also perfect for sharing with friends and loved ones. It’s a fantastic main course that can be enjoyed in a variety of different ways.

If you’re looking to pair this dish with other foods, there are plenty of options. A simple salad with a tangy dressing will balance out the rich and savory flavor of the lamb rice. You can also pair it with some steamed or sautéed vegetables to add some color and nutrients to your meal.

If you’re looking for something more substantial, try serving uyghur polo with some crusty bread or naan. The bread will help soak up all the delicious flavors and juices, making every bite even more satisfying. You can also serve it with some raita or tzatziki if you want something creamy to complement the robust flavor of the lamb.

When it comes to beverages, you’ll want something that can stand up to the bold flavor of this hearty dish. A full-bodied red wine like Malbec or Syrah would be a great choice. If you prefer something non-alcoholic, try an iced tea or lemonade to refresh your palate.

All in all, uyghur polo is a versatile and delicious dish that can be enjoyed on its own or as part of a larger meal. Experiment with different pairings until you find what works best for you!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Each bite of Uyghur Polo is packed with layers of fragrant ingredients.
Each bite of Uyghur Polo is packed with layers of fragrant ingredients.

There’s no doubt that Uyghur Polo is a complex dish. It requires plenty of preparation and careful attention to detail at each stage. However, if you’re smart about it, you can prepare many components ahead of time to save yourself headache later on, and make the whole process smoother.

One thing you can do is prepare the lamb a day or two in advance. You can start by marinating the meat overnight to allow it to absorb all the savory flavors. Then, cook it until tender and refrigerate until needed.

The rice, on the other hand, another crucial component of this dish, only takes about 30 minutes to cook, so it’s best if you cook it fresh when ready to eat.

If you have leftover pilaf rice, there are two options for storing and reheating. You can keep it in the refrigerator for up to three days, then reheat it in a pan with a little bit of oil to keep it from sticking. Alternatively, you can freeze your leftovers for up to six months.

To reheat frozen rice pilaf, thaw it in the fridge overnight and then use the same method as before – simply heat up in a pan with a bit of oil or microwave in a covered dish for a few minutes until heated through.

Overall, while there are some steps that need to be done just before serving, there are plenty of opportunities for those who want to plan ahead when making Uyghur Polo. With some effort and planning, you can create this mouth-watering traditional dish from Xinjiang cuisine that will leave everyone at the table satisfied!

Tips for Perfect Results

 From the tender lamb pieces to the savory rice, every ingredient in this dish is in perfect harmony.
From the tender lamb pieces to the savory rice, every ingredient in this dish is in perfect harmony.

If you want to master the art of making uyghur polo, then here are some tips that will help you achieve perfect results every time.

Firstly, I suggest washing your rice thoroughly and soaking it for at least thirty minutes before cooking. Soaking the rice helps to remove excess starch and ensure that it cooks evenly.

Secondly, when cooking the lamb or beef, be sure to brown it well on all sides before adding water. This will help to seal in the juices and give the meat a nice caramelized flavor.

Thirdly, use a heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid to cook the rice. This will ensure that the rice cooks evenly and doesn’t burn on the bottom.

Fourthly, be generous with the spices! Cumin and chili peppers are key ingredients in this dish and create a sensational feast for your taste buds. Don’t be afraid to use them liberally to infuse tons of flavor into the lamb and rice.

Lastly, be patient when cooking the rice. It may take longer than you think for all the water to be absorbed and for the rice to become tender. Be sure not to lift the lid during cooking so as not to disrupt the steam that is needed for perfect results.

By following these tips, you can create a delicious uyghur polo dish that is infused with tons of flavor and has tender pieces of lamb or beef throughout. Enjoy!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, Uyghur Polo is not just any ordinary rice dish – it is a celebration of the rich and diverse culture of the Uyghur people. With its unique blend of flavors, this dish has taken the culinary world by storm and rightfully earned its place in many cookbooks and restaurants across the globe. As an omnivore chef, I highly recommend this recipe to those who’re looking for a new way to enjoy lamb and rice.

The colorful ingredients and spices that go into Uyghur Polo create a harmonious melody of taste and aroma that will surely leave you wanting more. The pilaf-making process requires some patience, but trust me – the end result is well worth the wait.

With a little experimentation and creativity, you can make this dish your own by substituting various ingredients or tweaking some ratios here and there. And even though Uyghur Polo is a main course all on its own, it is also the perfect accompaniment to many other dishes.

So whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice cook, give Uyghur Polo a try – you won’t be disappointed. Not only will you get to enjoy an exotic dish from Central Asia, but you’ll also be supporting the preservation of a centuries-old cuisine as well.

Uyghur Polo (Pilaf)

Uyghur Polo (Pilaf) Recipe

Polo (a Central Asian variant on the word pilaf) is a food staple found across Central Asia, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and parts of northwestern China. The different peoples of each region have their own takes, and their own flavors, for the recipe. This recipe is for Uyghur polo, the variant of the dish found in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Uyghur food is on the whole closer in taste to Indian, Persian, or Mediterranean food than it is to conventional Chinese food. I credit this recipe to my Uyghur language instructor. The recipe can be a challenge to cook correctly at first, but the challenge will prove well worth the effort because it is absolutely delicious.
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Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Uyghur
Calories 893.6 kcal


  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 lb lamb or 1 lb beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 lb carrot, julienned
  • salt (as you prefer)
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 2 cups rice
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 1 red hot pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 cup raisins


  • Heat oil in a large pot. Set the stove temperature at 7/10 at highest.
  • Cook the meat in the oil, stirring occasionally until evenly browned.
  • Add the chopped onion to the pot, still stirring, and cook until it is translucent.
  • Stir carrots into the pot. Note that it will initially look like there are too many carrots in the dish; however, once they begin to absorb some of the oil they will shrink down and mix well into the the recipe.
  • Add salt according to your taste.
  • Pour water into the pot.
  • When the water boils, add the hot pepper and whole garlic bulb. Let them simmer in the mixture for five minutes, and then fish them back out and set them aside.
  • Add cumin.
  • Lower the stove temperature (to about 3/10) and allow the mixture to boil for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • After the 15 to 20 minutes, raise the heat (once again, no higher than 7/10) and add rice to the pot. Spread the rice out on top of the water, but do not mix it with the rest of the ingredients.
  • When water is no longer visible above the rice, then spoon the rice towards the center.
  • Replace the garlic bulb and red pepper into the pot, and pour raisins on top of the rice.
  • Place a lid on top of the pot and lower the heat to 3/10.
  • Cook for 30 minutes. After that time, once again remove the hot pepper and the garlic, and stir the rest of the ingredients. This dish is often served with flatbread, yogurt, and salad with a vinegar dressing.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 339gCalories: 893.6kcalCarbohydrates: 109.7gProtein: 25.1gFat: 39.6gSaturated Fat: 8.4gCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 134.5mgFiber: 6.2gSugar: 18.4g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Asian, Chinese, Inexpensive, Lamb/Sheep, Low Cholesterol, Meat, Middle Eastern, Rice, Spicy, Turkish
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