The ingredients of this meaty rice dish may vary but the beloved central Asian dish always comes in massive portions
In a small, unremarkable restaurant on Firdavsi Street in Samarkand, the plov arrives at our table. At its most basic, plov is rice with onion and carrots, plus either mutton, lamb or beef, cooked slowly in layers. But this is no ordinary plov; this is plov with bells on, and it takes two waiters to carry the lagan (platter) to the table.
Atop the lightly oiled rice and matchsticks of soft yellow carrots, are 12 roasted quail (whole), horse meat sausages (sliced), quince (quartered), a scattering of glossy white quails’ eggs and countless slivers of thinly shaved beef. As the steam lifted, filling the room with a rich, meaty aroma, the whole restaurant diverted their eyes from the Uzbek soap opera on the television to admire this elitni, or VIP, plov. That lunchtime, 12 of us feasted from the platter, and by the end there was still some going spare.