Despite its simplicity, this dish has a history of thousands of years. Pilaf, or palov, osh-palov, biryani, pulão… It has known countless variations in India, Balkan, Caucasian, central and south Asian countries, and it’s basis is rice, cooked in a seasoned broth. The usual meat of choice is lamb, but here’s a version of the same dish, but with chicken.
Last two weeks the weather was, how shall I put this, not smoke friendly. So I pulled out my dutch oven, or, to be precise, a bigger brother of a wok, made of cast iron, which can be used on a gas stove top, and… well, there was a cubed beef, potatoes, carrots, onions…. so here we go – braised beef with potatoes, the way my granny used to make it 30 years ago.
Today I want to share something very special. Usually, buckwheat is found in the organic foods sections of the supermarkets and not really popular among those who are not after pure organic and healthy food lifestyle. However for me, born and raised in the long gone Soviet Union, buckwheat is a taste of childhood, no less than that. Back then, unlike many other foods, buckwheat was freely available in the stores, and that made it one of the pillars of russian cuisine. The dish I am about to show you had no name other than “buckwheat with meat”… But I’ve taken it a bit further, upgraded it to the next level, if you like, and took the liberty to compare it with another dish I really like – persian pilaf, as, mind you, the preparation steps are almost identical. Hence, here I am, giving you the “buckwheat pilaf”, a dish which is about to change all you’ve known about buckwheat till now!
Pilaf is a dish very widely popular in Middle East, mid-Asia, India… There are hundreds of versions, recipes and even names for this dish, but its essence stays the same – it is rice cooked with vegetables, spices and meat. Here’s my take on it, as I learned from a friend coming from the city of Fergana, in Uzbekistan.