So we have a Royal Wedding being planned. I run the risk of being disowned by my Mother, who despises the House of Windsor, believing them to be an utter waste of time, but I have to admit am a bit of a Royalist. I like the Pomp and Ceremony and feel smug when I think of our traditions in the UK. Don’t get me wrong, I am not going to be out on the streets waving flags or holding a Wedding Party but I can see how it would be a bit of fun in this gloomy economic time. On the food front I can just picture the TV Producers running about working out how they can sneak in a series of “The Royal Bake Off” or “The Great British Royal Wedding Menu”. It’s just a matter of time!
This week I drew the little talked of country of Tajikistan. Bordering China, Kashmir and Afghanistan and a number of other “Stans” I found it difficult to find any really definitive dishes which were originally Tajik. Being part of the former Soviet Union when the countries were split they gained their independence as countries, but maintained much of their shared traditions. After considerable number of hours in front of the laptop I plumped for Plov. A type of rice Pilaf (also described as a Tajik Paella) I was able to determine types of Plov which were specific to their countries. A Plov from Usbekistan tended to use chicken, whilst a Russian Plov is delicately decorated on a plate. A Tajik Plov uses Lamb and is served up straight from a ladel. It used Cumin and Coriander which I assume came from the close proximity to Kashmir.
I enjoyed the cooking process whereby the base of the dish is created in a casserole and then a hole is dug into the centre where the rice is sunk. The rice is then boiled and steamed by the hot meat and vegetable mixture around it (covered of course). The overall taste of the dish wasn’t a million miles from the long grain rice dish I cooked for Burkina Faso all those weeks ago (Riz au Gras), but for me the Lamb Shoulder made this dish superior. The fat from the lamb had helped to flavour the rice which didn’t have a huge number of ingredients to support it. The main texture of the dish was good, if not a little lumpy, but the chopped Spring Onions, which I added at the end, added a great crunch. I would make the dish again, but I would add more spice and be tempted to add more Indian flavours, as it wasn’t a million miles from a very good Biryani.
- 2 Cups of Rice
- 2 Cups of Carrots
- 2 Cups of Onions
- 4 Cloves of Garlic
- 500g Lamb Shoulder (chopped)
- 1 TSP Cumin
- 1 TSP Ground Coriander
- Soak the rice in salted water for 30 mins.
- Brown the chopped onions and then add the chopped garlic for a couple of mins.
- Add the chopped lamb and carrots and brown it.
- Add 2 cups of water and let it stew for 10 mins.
- Make a hole in the middle of the stew, add in the rice, add another cup of water, cover the dish and let it go for 30 mins.
Stir it all up, serve into bowls and add chopped spring onion. Done