Uzbek Beef Plov – Rice Pilaf

Uzbek Beef Plov - a fluffy rice pilaf with beef, carrots, onions and a unique spice blend - is originally an Uzbek dish that pretty much every Russian family knows and cooks. Traditionally it is cooked outdoors in a large cast iron pot over a fire. This recipe make a large batch which lends itself perfectly for reheating or freezing.

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Russian
Keyword Uzbek Beef Plov
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours
Author Regina


  • 1 1/2 pounds stewing beef or any inexpensive beef cut
  • 1/3 cup cooking oil I like olive or avocado
  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 3 medium carrots cut into matchsticks
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 5 3/4 cups hot water divided
  • 3 cups long grain rice parboiled rice makes for great texture results
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander


  1. Trim any excess fat off the beef and cut into bite-sized pieces. Heat a large non-stick pot or dutch oven over high heat. Add the cooking oil. Once oil is hot add the beef and sear uncovered for about 7 minutes until meat is nicely browned. Stir often.
  2. Turn heat to medium and add chopped onion. Cook for about 5 minutes until onions soften.
  3. Stir in carrot matchsticks (you could shred the carrots but the matchstick size leaves more bite and texture), 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp cumin and bay leaves and cook for another 5 minutes until carrots soften.
  4. Add 1 3/4 cups of boiling water, cover and simmer over medium low heat for 45 minutes until the meat is soft.
  5. In the meantime using a strainer rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear (this is essential for fluffy rice otherwise you risk ending up with sticky rice mush). Spread the rice over the meat, sprinkle with 1 1/2 tsp salt and add 4 cups of boiling water (do NOT stir!). Bring to a boil over high heat.
  6. Once boiling reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered until most of the water is absorbed (10 minutes).
  7. Cut the bottom off the garlic head to expose the cloves. Press garlic head into the center of the rice. Sprinkle the rice with 1 tsp coriander. Poke 8-10 holes into the rice to let the steam to escape and cover. Turn heat to low and cook until rice is soft.
  8. Remove garlic and bay leaves, stir gently to combine everything. Serve (with dill pickles) and enjoy!