Sunday, February 7, 2010

Vegetarian Plov

Camel Spit's third in an ever-expanding series of plov variations.  This recipe suggests the addition of a hard-boiled egg, not exactly a plov standard, to provide a little more protein give some meat-like texture.  Letting your guest peel the cooked garlic head and hardboiled egg also adds the element of hands on plov eating which is often missing from American dinner parties. Of course, if you leave out the egg, you will have a perfectly respectable vegan recipe. 

Ingredients:1 tbsp (or more) grapeseed oil
1 cup jasmine rice
2 cups water
1 or 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
8 large carrots, cut into long, thin slices.  [Slices should be about as long and wide as your pinky, but only 1-2 centimeters thick.]
2 small onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped (+ optional head of garlic)
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp ginger powder (or chopped fresh ginger)
(optional pinch of cinnamon)
(optional fresh jalapeno or chili pepper)
salt and pepper to taste

Spread the grapeseed oil on the bottom of a medium pot, preferably with a thick bottom, and place over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, add the coriander, and brown the chopped onions and chopped garlic, stirring frequently.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the ginger powder or fresh ginger. If you wish, add the pinch of cinnamon now.

When the onions are soft, add the chickpeas and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.

After letting the chickpeas heat thoroughly, about five minutes, turn the heat down to medium low. You have now done with the stirring portion of the recipe!  Congratulations.  Now resist the temptation to stir.

Spread the carrots over the chickpeas. The carrots should completely cover the layer below it. If you have chopped dried apricots, spread them over the carrot layer. We did not add apricots to the ingredient list because they aren't very Turkmen.  We figured meatless plov with the possibility of hardboiled eggs was experimental enough. But, if you do choose to add them, it may be delicious.

Spread the rice over the carrots.  The rice should completely cover the layer below it.  Sprinkle the rice with coriander, salt and pepper. If you have a head of garlic, stick it into the center of the rice, pointy side down. You can also add the chili pepper.

Slowly pour the water into the pot.  Be careful not to disturb the rice layer. The ultimate importance of a careful water pour is the subject of considerable controversy in the Camel Spit Test Kitchen.  Your author believes that plov cooked in less than pristine layers can still taste as suyji (sweet/delicious). Others in the kitchen disagree, believing that sloppy plov reflects a sloppy mind.

Cover and cook over medium heat for 35 minutes.  If you would like to add the eggs, after 20 minutes, place the eggs into the rice layer, standing with the smaller side up.  If the rice is done and there is still water in the pot, cook uncovered until dry.  If the water is gone and the rice is not yet done, at additional water a half cup at a time until the rice is cooked.

After the water is absorbed, stir the pot and serve.

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