Plov, Somsa, Tandyr Gosht - Main dishes of Uzbekistan

Plov (pilaf)

How many patterns can see the human eye on a traditional Uzbek carpet, as many kinds of plov can be found in Uzbek cuisine. Uzbek plov is so popular and varied that all recipes seem almost identical, like embroidery on suzane. But in fact, if you look closely, you can understand how one type of plov is different from the other. This is what we will talk about in this article.

There are more than 100 recipes of Uzbek plov, but we will tell you about the 7 most basic and popular in its homeland - Uzbekistan. Recipes of plov can divided into several parts: depending on the cooking technology, ingredients and even the occasion. For example, there is a classic kind of plov (for every day), festive, and also a wedding type ("Tuy-osh"), which is distinguished by inclusion of different kinds of luxury ingredients.

In short, traditionally this dish is prepared from lamb meat, onions and carrots, fried in oil. Add to them spices such as cumin, salt, pepper, saffron, turmeric, barberry. Then add rice, pour in water and cook for a couple of hours. The Uzbek plov is famous for the friability of rice and fragrant spices, and it is traditionally prepared by men. And now about the features that distinguish one kind of plov from another:

1. Chayhona plov - this is the name of the classic every-day kind of plov, which can be found in any teahouse. Traditionally, it is prepared from the most necessary products, without adding any frills. Suitable for both lunch and regular family dinner.

2. Bukhara pilaf - differs from others by its cooking technology, namely, by the fact that all the ingredients are cooked separately from each other until half cooked, and then they go to the cauldron and cook until the end. For Bukhara plov, raisins are traditionally added to give it a sweet taste and aroma.

3. Kashkadarya plov - its peculiarity is that the meat is not placed in large pieces, but pre-cut into small pieces and marinated for a while with onions, carrots and spices. So it becomes juicier and spicier.

4. Khorezm plov - its main difference is in the minimum of spices used in cooking. For this plov yellow carrots are used and almost no spices. Plov turns out to be gently yellow, and large pieces of meat are laid out on top of a pile of crumbly rice.

5. Osh-palov in Samarkand - this is another kind of delicious plov, which is cooked in Samarkand. Samarkand plov differs in that it is served in layers: first a layer of rice, then a zirvak (gravy made of fried carrots and onion) and meat on the top. Sometimes decorated with a boiled head of garlic and pomegranate seeds.

6. Tashkent plov is characterized by a darker yellow-brown color. This is achieved with a longer frying onions, the color of which rice absorbs. Chickpeas, pre-soaked for a couple of hours in cold water are added too.

7. "Tui Osh" is the most delicious and luxurious wedding plov. It is prepared for especially important events and holidays. It differs in a special way: from above and along the sides of the patterned platter lay beautifully cut pieces of fat, kazy (horse meat sausage), quail eggs, pomegranate, boiled garlic and even quince. It looks very appetizing and festive.

No matter what type of plov it is, together with it you will be offered a hot bread, a salad called "Achuchuk" (finely chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and onions seasoned with vegetable oil), a green radish, sliced straw, fresh herbs, suzma (fresh cheese) and hot green tea. These snacks are a traditional addition to plov and add to it even greater sophistication and uniqueness. To visit the birthplace of plov and not to taste this delicious dish is simply inexcusable. When visiting Uzbekistan, be sure to try as many kinds of plov as possible and choose your favorite and most delicious!


Samsa (samosa) is a very popular dish in Uzbek cuisine. Perhaps, it deservedly stands second after plov (pilaf) and has a lot of admirers. So what is samsa?

Samsa are small pies with various fillings, traditionally baked from puff pastry. It is possible to use usual dough; the result will not be less tasty. Here is one of the recipes: roll out the dough, cut into small rectangles, lay out the filling and close the pastries up. You can make samsa in the form of a triangle, a rectangular patty and even a round one. Traditionally, pieces of dumba (fatty fat) should be added. Bake them on a baking sheet or in tandyr. Before sending it to the oven, samsa should be greased with an egg and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

As a filling use meat and onions, potatoes, greens, pumpkin, mushrooms and even sweet jams.

Samsa with meat

For the preparation of meat samsa we will need to cut small cubes of lamb meat or beef (if desired, you can take a chicken fillet). Add to it finely chopped onion and season with spices: traditionally salt, black and red pepper. Spread the filling on pieces of dough and bake.

Samsa with potatoes

Samsa with a potato stuffing is prepared in the same way, as well the meat: cut a potato, onions and dumba into small cubes, season with spices and spread on pieces of dough.

Samsa with herbs

In Uzbek, samsa with herbs is called "kuk samsa" (green samsa). Usually it is prepared in the early spring, when the first spring greens are rich in vitamins. Traditionally, people take dill, parsley, green onion, sorrel, spinach and any other greens, thoroughly washed and finely shredded. Then you fry the greens in a cauldron on medium heat and stew a little. Season it with spices, salt, spread on the dough and bake.

Samsa with pumpkin

Quite a peculiar seasonal filling, especially for lovers of this autumn vegetable. For the filling you need to cut into small cubes or grate pumpkin and onion, add spices, mix and also put on the dough. The pumpkin contains a lot of vitamins, so the samsa from it is not only delicious, but also very healthy.

Samsa with mushrooms

Such a samsa is not traditional, it rather refers to a modern kitchen. For the filling use finely chopped chicken fillet, mushrooms, tomato slices and cheese. You can add a piece of butter, which melted together with cheese in a hot oven, will create a unique delicate taste with a creamy-cheese tint. It turns out very tasty!

Samsa with fruit jam

Sweet samsa is one of the favorite treats for adults and children alike. Prepare it from a variety of types of jam, fruits and berries, add syrups, sugar and even chocolate. Such a samsa is baked a little less time than with meat fillings. If you need about 30 minutes to bake a meat samsa, then for a sweet type, 15 minutes is enough (depends on the dough). Sweet samsa is sprinkled with powdered sugar and decorated with a sprig of mint.

This version of samsa becomes an excellent treat for home tea drinking in the circle of long-awaited guests.

Samsa is cooked in every "Milliy Taomlar" (canteen of national cuisine) throughout Uzbekistan. At the same time, every region is proud of its recipe for samsa. Especially popular are Jizzakh and Gijduvan (Bukhara) samsa. And yet, in every city a so-called "Zakaz (custom) Samsa" is very popular. It’s prepared in tandyr at the request of each individual customer. Freshly baked, hot, crisp samsa immediately melts in your mouth and makes you fall in love with its taste from the first piece.

Gusht Tandyr

Such a special dish as "gusht tandyr" is considered one of the main Uzbek dishes. One must be very careful in its preparation, and follow a special traditional rules. First, let's look at the name of the dish, and what it means.

"Gusht Tandyr" means "meat in tandoor". And tandyr is a traditional clay oven of the people of Central Asia. This oven has a high heat capacity, and the food in it is cooked at the expense of a strong internal heat. Under the heat it becomes soft and just melts in your mouth. Currently, there are portable tandyrs of more modern designs, but we will tell you how the "gusht tandyr" is prepared in a real clay oven at a temperature of up to 400 degrees.

It is best to use lamb meat for this dish, pre-marinated in advance in odorous spices: juniper, paprika, cumin, salt, black and red pepper. You can also use beef.

A note to those who want to prepare themselves "gusht-tandyr"

There is a special way the whole set of odorous odors penetrates into the very core of tender meat. For this, it is necessary to make deep incisions with an interval of 3-4 centimeters and fill them with spices. So they will soak up the meat and make it very fragrant.

After the meat is well marinated, you can start cooking it. First you need to heat up the tandyr to a high temperature. Then put the lamb meat in it and do not forget about the main secret of this recipe.

What's the secret?

For the real, truly traditional and delicious "gusht tandyr", branches of juniper are placed on top of the meat. It is thanks to them that the meat acquires its own unique pleasant aroma, which you can not resist. After that, cover the tandoor with a dense lid so that the heat does not come out of it. This way we will be able to achieve a unique roast and languor, after which the meat becomes very tender.

Meat in tandyr should languish for 1-2 hours, or more, according to some recipes. After that, you can get it out of the oven and enjoy the unique taste of this masterpiece of Uzbek cuisine. So be sure to come and to taste such yummy!


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