This Instant Pot rice pilaf is a variation of the beef plov I grew up enjoying. This dish includes stewing beef, onion, spices, carrots, and rice that culminate in a hearty main meal. While the traditional version gets cooked outside in a large cast iron pan, you can make this one with the convenience of your pressure cooker.
About this Instant Pot Rice Pilaf
This Instant Pot pilaf is based on my one pot stovetop Uzbek Beef Plov recipe. While the ingredients are very similar, I have adapted it from a stovetop version to an Instant Pot version. As a result, I also changed some of the quantities of ingredients so that they fit better in an Instant Pot pressure cooker bowl.
The bonus of cooking this rice pilaf recipe in an Instant Pot rather than on the stove is that the stewing beef will become tender in 15 minutes of pressure cooking time (plus the 10 minutes it takes for the pot to pressurize). This is much shorter than the total time of 45 to 60 minutes on the stove.
Plov is a fixture of Russian households, although it is actually Uzbek in origin. It is essentially a rice dish that includes beef, spices, carrots, and onions, and is so very delicious. Comfort food fans will enjoy this rice dish even if they didn't grow up with it like I did.
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How to Make Instant Pot Rice Pilaf - Uzbek Beef Plov
To start making the Instant Pot version of Uzbek beef plov, you begin on the Saute mode. Once hot, you can add your oil and cook the beef until it is browned on all sides. If necessary, do this in stages to avoid crowding.
Next, you can add your onion to cook until it becomes soft. At this point, you press Cancel and stir in the spices. These include salt, ground black pepper, paprika, cumin, coriander, and bay leaves. Afterward, you can use the 1 cup of water to deglaze the pan. This will also help you pick up any of the browned bits on the bottom of the Instant Pot bowl. The browned bits equal flavour!
At this point, simply place the lid on the Instant Pot to close it up. You should also ensure that the valve is in the correct position so that the cooker will seal and come to pressure. This mixture should cook on high pressure for a total of 15 minutes for the beef to get nice and tender.
Afterward, you can quickly release the pressure by pushing the steam valve to the venting position. For safety, you can wear oven mitts if you like. It is also a good option to make sure your Instant Pot is in an open area in your kitchen. This way the steam won't end up on your cabinets.
Finishing the Instant Pot Pilaf
To finish your rice pilaf recipe, you stir the carrots into the beef mixture until combined. The carrots should be cut into matchstick size (a thicker julienne cut) so that they don't completely disintegrate during cooking.
Then, you can sprinkle the white rice and some salt on the top without stirring. DON'T STIR at this point! Rice (and its starches) touching the bottom of the pressure cooker can cause the dreaded BURN notice disrupt the cooking process.
Gently pour the remaining 2 cups of water over the rice along the outside edge. A whole head of garlic that has been halved gets added at this point too.
The garlic infuses the white rice with complex flavour and makes the dish so addictive to eat! Cooking sweetens and mellows out its taste in a wonderful way.
Finally, the rice pressure cooks on high for another 6 to 8 minutes depending on the type of rice you are using. Use your regular rice cooking time.
I am using Jasmine rice here, and I know that it cooks in 6 minutes in my pot (and at my altitude). Once cooked, you can release the pressure, remove the garlic and bay leaves, and fluff the rice to combine everything together.
The rice gets served as it is and in fact, doesn't really need anything else. It is usually served with a simple side salad called Achichuk or Shakarob. It consists of just tomatoes and sliced onion, dressed with salt, oil, and sometimes a green herb (parsley, dill, scallion) and chili.
Personally, however, I love serving it with dill pickles or sauerkraut for a hint of something tangy and briny. Alternatively, serve any of your favourite vegetable pickles alongside this hearty beef plov.
How to Reheat Leftover Rice Pilaf
While this rice recipe serves six people as a main meal, you may have leftovers if you are serving a smaller crowd. In this case, you can store leftovers in the fridge and reheat it the following day.
To reheat it, you could of course use a microwave, but the best method is using a skillet. In this case, you could add the rice mixture to the pan and fry the rice until it is heated through.
Something like cast iron is great here over medium heat, but any skillet should work fine. This method not only warms the rice through sufficiently but also gives it some flavourful crispy bits.
If you don't think you will be able to consume this rice dish in a reasonable amount of time, you could freeze it as well. Just make sure it is completely cooled before dividing it between sealable containers and freezing. The rice may lose some texture, but it will still be delicious.
Basmati rice holds up particularly well in the freezer. To reheat, I recommend cooking it in small batches in a frying pan on the stove so you can add some of the texture back to the rice that it might have lost in the freezer.
Pressure Cooker I Use
Other Instant Pot Recipes You'll Love:
- Instant Pot Chicken Cajun Pasta
- Instant Pot Chili
- Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
- Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
Instant Pot Rice Pilaf - Uzbek Beef Plov
- 1 pound stewing beef cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil I like olive or avocado
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 teaspoons salt divided
- ½ teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- 1 teaspoon paprika powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 cups water divided
- 2 medium carrots cut into matchsticks
- 2 cups long grain rice like Jasmine or Basmati
- 1 head of garlic halved
- Press the Sauté button on your pressure cooker. When the display shows HOT add the oil. Add the beef and brown it well from all sides, stirring frequently.
- Now add the chopped onion and sauté until softened. Press Cancel to stop the Sauté mode. Stir in 1 teaspoon of the salt, the black pepper, paprika, cumin, coriander and add the bay leaves. Add 1 cup of water and stir to loosen up any browned bits from the bottom.
- Close the Instant Pot lid, turn the pressure valve to sealing, and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. This will tenderize the beef. Quick release the pressure after cooking.
- Open the lid. Stir in the carrots. Then spread the rice over top (DON'T stir) and sprinkle the remaining teaspoon of salt over the rice. Slowly pour in the remaining 2 cups of water. Push the garlic head halves into the rice.
- Close the lid again and pressure cook on high for 6-8 more minutes (use your usual rice cooking time. For me that is 6 minutes for Jasmine rice). Quick release the pressure after cooking.
- Open the lid and remove the garlic and bay leaves. Stir everything gently to combine the meat, carrots, and rice.
The Instant Pot rice setting is reliable, but optimal results may vary. It's essential to follow recommended water-to-rice ratios and adjust based on your preferences.
Avoid overcooking by accurately measuring ingredients, adjusting water levels, and using the appropriate rice setting. Quick-release pressure when done to prevent overcooking.
Rice pilaf involves sautéing rice in fat before cooking, often with additional ingredients, creating a flavorful dish. Steamed rice is plain rice cooked in water without prior sautéing.
Less water in the Instant Pot compensates for reduced evaporation, ensuring the rice cooks perfectly without becoming mushy. Adjustments are crucial for optimal texture and flavor.