Osh / Plov - Uzbek / Central-Asian Rice

Total Time
Prep 20 mins
Cook 40 mins

I first had osh in Uzbekistan, then later in various forms called plov in Kazakhstan. It's a belly-warming mixture of rice with spices, lamb, onion, and carrots lovingly fried, stirred. The Uzbek osh is my favourite with it's stronger spices.


  1. Wash the rice. Allow to soak in salted water for 30 minute You can use Thai or basmati rice.
  2. Cut the lamb shoulder into cubes. It should have some fat. Bones are optional.
  3. Slice the onions thinly and cut the carrots into strips. You should approximately equal amounts of carrots, onions, and lamb.
  4. Heat a large cast-iron or metal wok with the oil. Don't use olive oil. Sunflower oil works well. Animal fat tastes richer but is even worse for you and too heavy for many taste buds. While you can get away with any kind of pot, it does taste better if you have an appropriate seasoned instrument.
  5. Fry the onions until golden brown.
  6. Add chopped garlic and lightly brown. You can alternatively put the whole cloves into the rice when you cook the rice.
  7. Add lamb and fry until cubes are lightly browned.
  8. Add carrots, salt, pepper, all spices (adjust to your taste), and 2 cups of water. Turn down the fire, mix well, and cover for 5 min to allow carrots to soften.
  9. This completes the first step called "zirvak". You are now ready to cook the rice in the second step. Drain your rice which should have been soaking for 30 minute.
  10. Push the ingredients to the outer parts of your cooking wok/pot creating a large hole in the centre which will be filled with liquid.
  11. Carefully add your rice to the centre of the pot. Do not mix it with the rest of the ingredients. Try to fit most of it in the centre "hole".
  12. Add another 1.5 cups of water, cover the pot and allow to simmer until the rice is cooked and water has been dried up. This will take approximately 30 minute.
  13. Stir the entire mixture well and serve on a hearty plate or bowl. Top with spring onions. It goes well with a side-serving of salad, tomatoes, and bread. Naan or other type of flat bread would be best.
Most Helpful

This was my first time ever making this, but the recipe was pretty easy to follow. I did use the fat from the lamb instead of cooking oil, and it did make the dish very rich & heavy. It took me a while to make it, but only because I was being very careful to follow the directions exactly. It did make a huge batch, and I'll make sure to cut it down the next time.

LilBit6_2 July 31, 2011

I had done some thorough research on various Plov recipes and all seemed very similar in the basic preparation- many of them were for large portions however. This portion fed us with enough leftovers for tomorrow's dinner too! It was my first time doing plov, but I enjoyed making it, and it turned out well. The only thing I did differently was soaking the rice in water with 1tbsp salt after washing it to give some base flavor before adding it to the meat and vegetables.

As I was in a bit of a hurry, I wasn't able to do the zirvak as browned as I wanted to, but I definitely know what to do for the next time I make this. I also used beef in my preparation, as lamb was not available. Very substantial and very delicious!

Rätsel Feinschmecker July 18, 2011

I spent some time in Tajikistan and this is pretty close to Tajik Osh. There were a few things I modified (or will modify next time). - I used beef instead of lamb (Lamb is hard to come by where I'm at). Wish I had access to some dumba (lamb butt fat), that would help flavor the dish. - I wasn't used to all the spice! Tajik Osh is more mild so I think I'd drop the pepper flakes and do 1/2t of pepper next time. - my rice got pretty sticky and I'm assuming I either let it rest too long (something the Tajik's say is a must) or there wasn't enough oil. The common saying is "it's not good osh unless oil is dripping from your elbow" (that's assuming you're eating with hands and not a fork). - I had to add a LOT of extra salt. I'm guessing I was close to 1 Tablespoon and not the teaspoon suggested. I remember Tajik osh would be full of flavor but you'd be drinking water (or RC Cola) all evening. :) Otherwise I loved the flavor! The only thing I was missing was good ole' naan. I'm going to keep trying this recipe and hopefully perfect a copy of Tajik osh. Thanks for putting this into American units and giving us the opportunity to make the Central Asian staple.

miller.nw April 24, 2010