Delicious Uzbek Pilaf: A Mouth-Watering Recipe

Welcome to my take on the classic Uzbek Pilaf with Lamb! As a chef, I’ve always been intrigued by traditional dishes from different parts of the world. And Uzbek Pilaf has always held a special place in my heart, probably because it is considered to be the national dish of Uzbekistan.

This hearty rice dish is made with succulent cubes of lamb or beef, basmati rice, and lots of aromatic spices. The result is an incredibly flavorful and satisfying meal that’s perfect for any occasion.

But what really sets this recipe apart is the cooking method. The rice and meat are cooked in the same pot giving you a unique depth of flavor, and because you end up with a crispy layer of rice at the bottom of the pot, every bite is pure bliss.

In this article, I’ll be sharing my recipe for Uzbek Pilaf with Lamb, along with some tips on how to make the perfect pilaf every time. So if you’re ready to dive into the flavors of Central Asia, let’s get started!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Uzbek Pilaf With Lamb
Uzbek Pilaf With Lamb

Are you ready to embark on a culinary adventure to Central Asia? Look no further than this Uzbek Pilaf With Lamb recipe! A dish hailing from Uzbekistan, it is not only considered the national dish but also a staple in weddings and celebrations. With its rich lamb meat and fragrant rice pilaf, it is sure to become a favorite comfort food.

What sets this recipe apart is the combination of ingredients that make it so unique. The basmati rice is cooked with cumin seeds, garlic, and aromatic spices that will fill your home with the most heavenly of scents. The tender lamb meat is seared and cooked alongside sweet carrots, giving it a perfect balance of texture and flavor.

But what really makes this dish stand out is the addition of pomegranate seeds. Not only does it bring a refreshing crunch to each bite, but it also adds a pop of tangy sweetness that elevates the dish to another level. It’s truly a symphony of flavors that come together beautifully.

Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or just looking for a comforting meal at home, this Uzbek Pilaf With Lamb recipe is sure to impress your guests and satisfy your cravings. So why settle for plain old fried rice when you can indulge in the exotic flavors of Central Asia? Give this recipe a try and experience the magic of Uzbekistan in your kitchen!

Ingredient List

 A mouth-watering view of the colorful Uzbek pilaf with lamb
A mouth-watering view of the colorful Uzbek pilaf with lamb

Let’s take a look at the ingredients needed for this mouthwatering Uzbek Pilaf with Lamb recipe.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 lbs lamb meat (you can also use beef)
  • 3 large carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 heads of garlic
  • 1 kg basmati rice (or any long-grain rice)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 cups water
  • salt to taste

These ingredients will make a hearty and flavorful dish that most certainly will impress your guests.

The Recipe How-To

 Get ready to indulge yourself in a heavenly dish of pilaf
Get ready to indulge yourself in a heavenly dish of pilaf

Now, for the exciting part – making the Uzbek Pilaf With Lamb. Trust me, once you’ve cooked this dish, you’ll crave it all the time. Here’s how to do it:


  • 1 kg lamb meat (cut into large chunks)
  • 2 large onions (diced)
  • 3 large carrots (thinly sliced)
  • 1 head garlic (separated into cloves and smashed)
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil


  1. In a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or Kazan, heat up the vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add your chunks of lamb meat and fry until browned on all sides (~10 minutes).
  3. Remove the lamb meat from the pot and set aside.
  4. In the same pot with the remaining oil, add in the diced onions and cumin seeds. Cook until fragrant and translucent (~5 minutes).
  5. Now add your sliced carrots and garlic. Continue cooking until the carrots are slightly softened.
  6. At this point, we can add back in our lamb meat.
  7. Rinse your basmati rice in cold water until the water runs clear.
  8. Add your rice to the pot, stirring everything together to evenly distribute each ingredient.
  9. Add in 4 cups of water, salt, and bring it to a simmer.
  10. Once it reaches a simmer, turn down the heat to low, cover with a lid and let it cook for 20 minutes.
  11. After 20 minutes, fluff your rice with a fork, give it a stir, then put the lid back on for another 10 minutes.
  12. Finally, remove from heat and let sit for another 10 minutes.

Voila! Your hearty and flavorful Uzbek Pilaf With Lamb is now ready to be served!

Substitutions and Variations

 The perfect dish for a cozy family dinner or an intimate dinner party
The perfect dish for a cozy family dinner or an intimate dinner party

If you’re feeling adventurous in the kitchen, don’t be afraid to switch up the ingredients in this Uzbek Pilaf with Lamb Recipe. Here are some potential substitutions and variations to consider:

– Meat: While lamb is traditionally used in this recipe, you can also try using beef or goat for a slightly different flavor profile. If you prefer a vegetarian option, feel free to leave out the meat altogether and add some extra veggies instead.

– Rice: Basmati rice is the ideal choice for this dish, but you could also use another long-grain rice like jasmine or Texmati. If you want to experiment a bit more, try using a mix of different rices for added texture and flavor.

– Vegetables: Feel free to mix up the veggies in this recipe based on what you have available. You can swap out the carrots for other root vegetables like parsnips or sweet potatoes. You can also add additional vegetables like bell peppers, peas, or mushrooms.

– Spices: For a spicier version of this dish, increase the amount of cumin seeds or add some red pepper flakes. You could also try adding other spices like coriander, turmeric, or paprika for a unique twist on the traditional recipe.

– Cooking method: While the stovetop method works great for this recipe, you could also try making it in a pressure cooker or dutch oven for a different cooking experience. Alternatively, if you’re short on time, you can always use pre-cooked rice and just fry it up with the meat and veggies as directed.

Remember that experimentation is key when it comes to cooking, so don’t be afraid to try new things and see how they turn out!

Serving and Pairing

 Aromatic rice, tender lamb, and exotic spices, all in one bowl of deliciousness
Aromatic rice, tender lamb, and exotic spices, all in one bowl of deliciousness

When it comes to serving and pairing Uzbek Pilaf with Lamb Recipe, there are a few things you should keep in mind to create the perfect experience for yourself and your guests.

First, be sure to have plenty of fresh pomegranate on hand. A sprinkle of juicy seeds adds a burst of color and flavor that complements the rich savory flavors of the dish perfectly. You could also serve fresh pomegranate juice as a refreshing drink to wash everything down.

In addition, consider serving a simple salad of crisp greens dressed in vinegar and oil on the side. This helps cut through the richness of the pilaf, balancing out the meal nicely.

If you’re looking to further enhance your dining experience, try pairing Uzbek Pilaf with Lamb Recipe with a glass of dry red wine such as merlot or cabernet sauvignon. The tannins in these wines complement the rich meaty flavors and bring a sophistication to your dinner table.

All in all, this dish is incredibly versatile and can be paired with a variety of sides, drinks, or accompaniments according to your preference. Whether you prefer it on its own or with an assortment of sides and entertainment, Uzbek Pilaf with Lamb Recipe is hearty enough to stand alone while also being versatile enough to enhance any menu plan.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Experience the authentic flavors of Uzbekistan with our pilaf recipe
Experience the authentic flavors of Uzbekistan with our pilaf recipe

In my experience, the flavors of Uzbek Pilaf with Lamb recipe get better the next day. This makes this dish perfect to prepare a day before your event. It is also easy to store and reheat for your next meal.

To make ahead, cook the recipe as usual and let it cool to room temperature. Once cooled, transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days.

To reheat the dish, you can either use a microwave or stove-top method. If using a microwave, cover the dish with plastic wrap or a damp paper towel and heat it on medium power for 3-4 minutes or until heated through. If using a stove-top method, add some water or broth to make sure that the rice doesn’t dry out. Then warm it over low heat while stirring occasionally until heated through.

It is important not to reheat this dish more than once as it may result in overcooked and unpleasant textures. However, you don’t need to worry about spoiling because this recipe can be reheated multiple times without compromising its safety.

You may also freeze Uzbek Pilaf with Lamb for later consumption. Simply let it cool before transferring to an airtight container or freezer bag and place it in the freezer for up to three months. To thaw, move it to the refrigerator overnight or use a defrost function on your microwave.

Uzbek Pilaf with lamb is perfect for batch cooking, and I highly recommend making extra portions for those busy weeks that require quick meals. Whether you are meal prepping, hosting friends or family, or looking for leftovers to enjoy later in the week—This recipe is always delicious and convenient!

Tips for Perfect Results

 The ultimate comfort food: hot, hearty, and flavorful pilaf
The ultimate comfort food: hot, hearty, and flavorful pilaf

To ensure that your Uzbek Pilaf with Lamb is absolutely perfect, here are some tips to follow.

Firstly, when cooking the lamb and vegetables, make sure to fry them until they are nicely browned. This will give your dish a deeper flavoured taste and aroma, making it even more delicious.

Secondly, when cooking the basmati rice, use a 1:1.5 ratio of rice to water to prevent it from becoming too mushy. Add salt and cumin seeds to the water before adding the rice for maximum flavour.

Thirdly, after adding the rice to the pot in step 6 of the recipe, make sure not to stir it too much as this can result in overcooked rice. Just gently mix all of the ingredients together before placing the lid on your pot.

Fourthly, if you prefer your Uzbek Pilaf with Lamb to be more caramelized and crispy on some parts, cook it longer without stirring at Step 6. This will create a layer of crunchy rice on the bottom called “tahdig”.

Fifthly, for an extra burst of flavour and garnish, add some pomegranate seeds or chopped parsley over the top before serving.

Sixthly, if you’re pressed for time or want an easier cooking method, consider making this dish in a pressure cooker instead of a dutch oven or Kazan. This will yield just as delectable results but in half the time!

Lastly, if you have leftover Uzbek pilaf with lamb, store it in an airtight container in your refrigerator or freezer. Simply reheat on medium-low heat with some extra water or vegetable stock if it becomes too dry from being refrigerated.

By following these tips and paying close attention to detail during each step of the recipe process, your Uzbek Pilaf with Lamb will turn out perfectly delicious every time!


As you get ready to try out this flavorful recipe for Uzbek Pilaf with Lamb, you may have some questions in mind. I’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions that will help guide you as you prepare and cook this dish to ensure a perfect culinary experience. From ingredient substitutions to reheating instructions, these answers will give you confidence in the kitchen and make sure your pilaf turns out flawlessly every time. So without further ado, let’s dive into the FAQs!

What is pilaf in Uzbekistan?

As a lover of rice dishes from different cultures, I have found that my personal favourite is plov, also known as pilaf, which is a traditional rice dish that hails from Uzbekistan. Typically comprising of lamb, beef, heaps of carrots, onions and a whole garlic head, plov has captured my taste buds like no other rice dish has.

What meat goes with rice pilaf?

Pairing pork chops with rice is a match made in heaven, especially when served with rice pilaf as a side dish. This recipe is a great option when you’re in the mood for pork but don’t have any chicken or fish on hand.

Is plov Russian or Uzbek?

For years, the presence of plov in Russian kitchens has remained unwavering despite the many shifts in demographics and culinary preferences. The dish, which is a filling combination of rice, meat, carrots, and spices, has been a staple in households for generations. Although it is now considered Uzbek, this designation only became official during Soviet times when it was promoted as such in the 1950s.

What is the rice dish of Uzbekistan?

A popular dish in Uzbekistan is known as Plov or Osh, and it is recognized as the country’s national dish. This hearty meal is a type of rice pilaf that resembles dishes referred to as “pilaf” or “plov” in various regions of the world.

Bottom Line


In conclusion, the Uzbek Pilaf with Lamb recipe is a must-try for anyone who wants to spice up their usual rice dishes. Its rich and savory flavors will leave you fully satisfied and craving for more. This recipe may seem intimidating at first, but with the right ingredients and techniques, anyone can ace it.

Cooking this dish can transport you from your kitchen to the streets of Uzbekistan in no time. The pomegranate seeds add a unique twist to this classic dish that not many other rice dishes have. The tender lamb perfectly complements the cumin seeds and garlic, making every bite of this dish a true delight.

Whether you’re looking to make a hearty dinner or impress guests with an exotic cuisine, this Uzbek Pilaf with Lamb recipe will do the trick. And with its versatility, you can easily customize it to your liking by adding vegetables or experimenting with different types of meat.

So why not give this recipe a try? Trust us when we say that once you taste this delicious pilaf, it will become a staple in your kitchen. Make it in a dutch oven or pressure cooker and delight your senses like never before.

Uzbek Pilaf With Lamb

Uzbek Pilaf With Lamb Recipe

A traditional uzbek (Middle Asian) rice dish can be made with any type of meat, but the most traditional version of this dish requires lamb and is eaten by fingers. Great dish for family gatherings or any other sort of big events.
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Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Central Asian
Calories 306.3 kcal


  • 600 g lamb (one half with fat, one half lean)
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 large white onion
  • 2 heads garlic
  • cumin seed, 1 teaspoon
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 600 ml basmati rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered chili
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 1 pomegranate (optional)


  • 1. Separate the meat into two parts fat and lean.
  • 2. Cut fat off the meat (or just take pieces with lard) and place it into a preheated large pot.
  • 3. Wait until fat melts, take out the meat.
  • 4. Cut onion into thin semi-circles put into the pot.
  • 5. Let the onion fry until translucent and take it out.
  • 6. Put the remaining meat into the pot let it fry until it changes colour.
  • 7. Meanwhile peel and cut carrots into stripes, separate in two parts.
  • 8. After the meat is browned add one part of the carrots, stir from time to time until soft.
  • 9. Put the rest of the meat and the onions back in, pour a small amount of hot water.
  • 10. Separate one of the garlic heads into cloves. Don't peel them, place directly into the pot.
  • 11. Add barberry and spices, be generous with seasoning, the broth should be over-salted, the rice will absorb the excess salt.
  • 12. Add the rest of the carrot.
  • 13. Add more hot water (you might want to season as you go).
  • 14. Add the whole head of garlic, just take the top skin off, no need to separate or peel.
  • 15. Let the mixture boil for about 30 minutes.
  • 16. Add the rice (remember to wash it first), it should be submerged into liquid completely (plus about 1 cm on the top).
  • 17. Let the rice boil until there is no water on the surface.
  • 18. Start gathering the surface rice into the small pile the middle of the pot for about 10 min.
  • 19. Check if there is any liquid left on the bottom of the pot by pushing a spoon or spatula into the rice.
  • 20. If there is little to none left, turn to very low heat and steam for about 30 minutes.
  • 21. Serve on a large place decorated with pomegranate seeds.
  • Check out the video process.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 152gCalories: 306.3kcalCarbohydrates: 35.5gProtein: 17gFat: 10.4gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 1795.2mgFiber: 2.2gSugar: 1.5g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Asian, Egg-free, Free Of..., Lactose-free, Lamb/Sheep, Long-Grain Rice, Meat, Middle Eastern, One-Dish Meal, Rice, Vegetable
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