Platter of Pilaf

Now that we’ve wrapped up our Portuguese cuisine, we’re moving on to Miss A’s international pick for the next few weeks. She again got out her trusty little beach ball globe and selected the green-colored country of Uzbekistan. Both she and Mr. N have loved running around the house saying yelling “Uzbekistan!”Β It doesn’t have quite the same ring as “Ecuador,” but they still love saying it.

We really didn’t have any idea what to expect from Uzbek cuisine. In fact, before Miss A picked it on her globe, I wouldn’t have even known where it was. So we got out our world atlas and the kids and I did a little reading. Uzbekistan is a relatively new country having broken away from the Soviet Union in 1991, and it’s considered part of Central Asia. We also came across the website Uzbek National Cuisine from which we developed our first Uzbek recipe, Behili Palov, or Pilaf with Quinces.

Palov, the Uzbek version of pilaf, is considered an integral part of the regional cuisine and seemed a good first choice for our adventure. We also chose to incorporate quinces since I’ve been curious about them since Charles at Five Euro Food did a series of recipes incorporating this little fruit. We got started by gathering our ingredients: diced onion, julienne carrots, garlic, olive oil, Kosher salt, paprika and cumin.Β 

We heated the oil in a skillet over medium heat, then tossed in the onions and a bit of the salt to saute for a few minutes. In the meantime we skinned and cut our chicken thighs into eight pieces.

We then added the chicken to the skillet and cooked it, still over the medium flame, for another three minutes.

Next we tossed in the paprika, cumin, garlic, carrots and the remaining salt.

Now you can cook the rice with the chicken and spices, but we chose to make our rice separately and instead added a bit of chicken stock in place of the rice and water.

We then covered the skillet and let the contents cook for about five minutes while we sliced our quinces into quarters.

Next we uncovered the skillet, tossed in the quinces, brought the contents back up to a boil and then reduced the heat and simmered it for about 25 minutes.

We used this time to whip up our brown rice with a bit of Kosher salt and cumin for seasonings. When everything was ready, we served our Behili Palov in the traditional Uzbek fashion of piling the rice onto a large platter and topping with the remaining ingredients.

We also tossed in a few golden raisins for some additional texture and flavor.

Now at this point, the kids and I were skeptical. They didn’t like the colors and were unsure of the quinces. I too was unsure about them and I’m not the biggest fan of carrots, that is until I took a quick bite as I was plating dinner. That little sneak peek made me much more optimistic about this meal’s chances for success.

And sure enough, Mr. N and Miss A became much more enthusiastic about the dish after their first bites. Mr. N was a big fan of the chicken and the rice. He was a little unsure of the quinces and thought they tasted a bit like peaches. They weren’t his favorite part of the dish, but he ate them. Miss A did like the quinces. She thought they tasted like apples (as did I). She also enjoyed the golden raisins and the chicken. She wasn’t a huge fan of the rice, but that’s true about her in general. Translation: this was a 3 spoon dinner for both Mr. N and Miss A.

Mike and I were also big fans of our first Uzbek dinner. The chicken was delicious and so juicy. The rice was flavorful and the quinces and raisins brought a bit of sweetness to an otherwise savory dish. This easily earned 3 spoons from us too. I know we’ll be making it again. It’s easy and it’s good, and you know that those types of meals are usually winners around here.

Have a great weekend everyone! We’ll be back next week with a few more Uzbek recipes. Hopefully they’ll be as successful as our first. πŸ™‚

Print this recipe:Β Behili Palov

64 thoughts on “Platter of Pilaf

  1. Deborah says:

    I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but I absolutely love that you introduce so many new flavors to your kids. I need to take your lead, because my daughter is getting pickier! I would have never known what food from Uzbekistan was, so I learned a lot here!

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  2. A_Boleyn says:

    I forgot I already mentioned the truffles but I was pretty excited after finally making them. With a professional chocolatier in the family, it was a bit intimidated to try to make them at home. I think my nephew liked the matcha ones best as he said the cocoa powder on the dark chocolate ones gave them a bitter taste but I had the opposite opinion. They were SO dark and rich and chocolatey.

    I hope you pick France soon as I have several recipes to recommend … desserts, of course, especially cream puffs, but also a very easy individual cheese souffle. πŸ™‚

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    • Kristy says:

      France is one of those countries I’m totally intimidated by. Easy sounds good though. πŸ˜‰ I can’t imagine trying to make truffles with a real chocolatier in the family. I’m sure you did him proud though! Dark chocolate seems to be one of those love it or hate it things. I’m not a chocolate fan in general, but my mom doesn’t like dark chocolate at all. The kids on the other hand, seem to love it. πŸ™‚ I should give truffles a try sometimes. Again…one of those intimidating things.

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  3. Just A Smidgen says:

    What a great mom you are… I’d be saying oops, let’s give that globe another little spin and see whether we can land on France;) Love the ingredients in this dish and it’s so awesome to follow along with you on your adventures around the world… It could be a neat book!

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    • Kristy says:

      Thanks Christy! Mr. N and I were just talking about how much we love this blog. We have eaten so many foods we never would have thought to try otherwise. It’s a great time! πŸ™‚

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    • Kristy says:

      Date nights – yes, lots of yummy food. I usually kick back and let Mike do the work on date nights though. I just hang back with my glass of wine and enjoy the sights. πŸ˜‰ And yes – this meal was fantastic. So many new flavors for us and they were all wonderful. πŸ™‚

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  4. Caroline says:

    Oh dear, this sounds out of this world delicious, Kristy! I’m a huge fan of rice pilaf. What a unique blend of flavors. I’m with Courtney, this was really informative. You and Raymund keep me on my toes with food/cooking history! πŸ˜‰

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  5. spicegirlfla says:

    You are truly adventurous! I think I’d have asked her to pick another country! But it turns out that this really seems like an interesting and good dish to try! I’ve never had quince before either, fun to learn it tastes similar to an apple. I get not only great recipes for you but also learn quite a bit about other countries!

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    • Kristy says:

      I have to say I was worried at first, but so far so good. We’re now three for three on Uzbek recipes (more to come soon). The quinces were really good. Miss A and I thought they tasted like apples. Mr. N thought they tasted like peaches and Mike thought they were closer to pears. They’re such an interesting little fruit. πŸ™‚

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      • A_Boleyn says:

        In the wake of Charles’ post on quinces, many moons ago, I spotted them at my local city market and bought 3. I didn’t even ask the price. Two weeks ago I was at the grocery store closest to my house and they were selling for 3 for $5 Canadian. Luckily I had found a jar of quince jam which is terrific by the way especially served as a dip for samosas.

        I’m thinking of doing a white chocolate and quince truffle in my next truffle making experiment but I have to give away the rest of the matcha and white chocolate (18) and rum and raisin dark chocolate (28) truffles currently sitting in my fridge before I start gobbling them up. πŸ™‚

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        • Kristy says:

          You know I have no idea what quinces cost. I should look. Mike bought them for me and he’s not one to pay attention to that kind of thing. πŸ˜‰ And I can completely relate to your dessert dilemma. Stick some in the freezer. It’s my fail-safe plan. That said, desserts don’t last that long in the freezer either.

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          • A_Boleyn says:

            I made 2 batches of truffles over the weekend (18 green matcha and white chocolate +28 rum and raisin). Luckily my nephew is home for 3 weeks so he’ll help eat them up and the baklava in the freezer. I’ve also promised him freshly made madeleines of his choice and today he asked if we could bake Christmas cookies. Hopefully he’ll take some of them to his parents before he goes back to school. And then I wanted to make his mom’s favourite egg custard tarts while I have some time off.

            I have to stop making desserts … one of these days. πŸ™‚

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            • Kristy says:

              LOL! Never stop making desserts. They are such a happy food. πŸ™‚ And it’s nice to have a nephew to eat them up too. I should pawn a bunch of our desserts off on my cousin who’s in college. He’d be happy to have food I’m sure. LOL. You are a baking machine – I love it! The rum and raisin ones especially.

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  6. Sawsan@ Chef in disguise says:

    I’ve never eaten a quince but the idea of this dish is very similar to something very famous in the middle east called maklobeh which is basically a rice dish with one or more types of vegetables cooked in a very similar way to your dish.

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    • Kristy says:

      Aimee, you have no idea how happy that makes me. πŸ™‚ One of the primary reasons we started this with the kids was to open them up to other cultures around the world – and what better way to do it than through food. It’s been an amazing ride so far. They are really opening their horizons and I love it. Thanks so much! πŸ™‚

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  7. Aimee@clevermuffin says:

    I just have to hand it to you, this is such a wonderful, wonderful way for you and your kids to learn about the world and various foods. It’s probably the only way someone would of ever gotten me interested in Geography and running around the house yelling Uzbekistan! I’m looking forward to the next instalment, this looks delish!

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  8. Kelly says:

    Haha, I really took to that Ecuador song! (so catchy ;0)

    How neat that you’re exploring Uzbekistan together – that Miss A, always full of surprises – and we all get to benefit from the education. Easy and good works for me. Love the brown rice (!) and golden raisins are a perfect touch. I find chicken thighs so great to work with – particularly in a yummy sauce like this, they always seem to turn out tender and juicy. Love the quince – the more skin, the better!

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  9. Geni - Sweet and Crumby says:

    I’ve never eaten a quince and am very intrigued by this whole dish. How fantastic that it got three spoons from all! That’s quite a reason to make it. Thank you for sharing the tidbit on Uzbekistan. I have never heard of it and now feel less ignorant.

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  10. The Teenage Taste says:

    This dish sounds so interesting! I’ve never even heard of quinces before – now I *have* to try them! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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  11. Kay aka Babygirl says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE a easy dinner. I had a feeling this was going to be delicious when you started off with chicken thighs. I was unsure about the quinces though, I’ve never tried them before. But I think I will try out this recipe.. my mom is definitely game on trying this out too πŸ™‚

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    • Kristy says:

      Chicken thighs are easily my favorite part of the chicken…well, unless it’s buttermilk fried chicken – then it’s legs all the way. πŸ˜‰ The quinces were fun – very different for us.

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  12. ChgoJohn says:

    If not for Miss A, how many of us would have given Uzbeki cuisine a thought at all? Now, many of us are seriously contemplating making this dish. Incredible, eh? Good thing, too, that the dish received so many spoons. I would think it would be a bit hard to go back to a country’s cuisine if the first attempt was a disaster.

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  13. Lisa says:

    This dish looks wonderful. My husband’s mom’s side of the family are Armanian, they make rice pilaf all the time. I’ve never tried quince cooked in a dish before but I guess it would be no different since they are similar to apples and pears. I agree this recipe looks like the kind of recipe my family would like too, can’t wait to try it. Have a great weekend!

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  14. A_Boleyn says:

    I’d heard of Uzbekistan but never looked at their cuisine so I enjoyed your post just because of the novelty of the ingredients used. I’m glad your family was willing to accept the challenge and share the results of this dish. I look forward to more dishes.

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  15. Charles says:

    Oh, how lovely! I’m so glad you’ve had a chance to try quinces, though I’m surprised you didn’t peel them… I dorky know you could eat the peel, always thinking it was too tough. I love getting a little glimpse into other countries via you guys, and this looks really good. I’d have had no idea what to expect either!

    Thanks for the shout out! Ecuador!!

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