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!” 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.
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.
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. 🙂
Print this recipe: Behili Palov