Plov is a traditional rice dish, usually with meat, vegetables, and sometimes fruit. This is a really simple plov and it's not quite traditional because it doesn't have meat. If you want to add meat, slice some and fry it first before adding the onions.
First, a discussion about the rice. Please don't use wimpy basmati. It's delicious in a lot of recipes, but it's not right for plovs from this part of Central Asia. Persian pilaus, yes. Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Uyghur, and Uzbek plovs/palous? No.
You can just use plain old American long grain. Arborio can be nice, although it can get a little sticky. Don't use something like jasmine. Honestly, though, plov works pretty well with the plain old rice you have in your cupboard.
The best rice ever is the one pictured below, a type of parboiled Pakistani rice. Don't think parboiled=minute rice. Minute rice might be parboiled, but parboiled isn't necessarily minute rice. The Pakistani rice I use always cooks separate and firm, like basmati, but it's not at all delicate.
And the oil. I always just use vegetable oil (and it's usually sunflower here). Olive oil isn't right for this dish, although if you've never eaten it, you'd never know, would you? If you have some sheep's-tail fat, use that. :)
A basic Kyrgyz/Kazakh plov isn't going to have any or many spices, probably. Uzbek and Uyghur plovs will. There are spice mixes for plov here, but I don't use those because I can't get them in the US and I don't want to get hooked. I like to have some seasonings, so I add about 1/2 tablespoon of cumin, 3/4 tsp of coriander, 1/2-1 tsp red pepper, 1/4 tsp turmeric, and 1/2 tsp nigella/sedana/black onion seed.
2-2.5 cups white rice (see above)
Oil (see above)
1 large onion
2 fat carrots
1 head of garlic
Salt to taste (at least 2 teaspoons)
Spices (see above)
1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste, if you want
Hot or boiling water
|First, wash your rice. Get your hand involved with washing it. Mine was, except when I was taking the picture because I don't have three hands. If you have time, you can soak it too, or just let it drain while you're getting the vegetables ready.|
|Chop up the carrots. They're nice and fat here so you can slice them like this.|
|Throw the carrots in with the onions and continue frying.|
|Take off the outer layers of the head of garlic and separate the cloves, but don't peel them. Rinse and throw in the pot. This is not gross. Continue frying till the carrots and onions and soft and golden.|