KHAM-DOSHAMA PLOV (Sweet Pilaf with a Pumpkin, Meat and Dried Fruits)
Pilaf is the signature dish of Azerbaijani cuisine. It is usually served on special occasions and known in Azerbaijan as Ash or Plov. Azerbaijani cuisine has dozens of different types of pilaf, one of which is Kham-Doshama Plov–a sweet pilaf with Pumpkin, Meat, and Dried Fruits.
*A full-sized picture of this dish is available in the Gallery.
Ingredients for 5 servings:
2 cups long-grain (Basmati) rice (cup size 250 ml)
1 quart (1 liter) water + 1 tbsp salt for soaking rice
3 quarts (3 liter) water + 3 tbsp salt for cooking rice
8 oz (225 g) clarified unsalted butter
½ tsp saffron threads
1 medium size pumpkin
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup dried dates
1 cup dried plumps
1 cup shelled cooked chestnuts
1-2 tbsp honey
1 lb (½ kg) lean meat (lamb or beef)
1 medium size onion
2 tbsp clarified butter
Salt and pepper to taste for the meat
Preparing the pumpkin and rice.
1. Rinse the rice thoroughly in cold water several times until the water stays clear, to remove excess starch. Then, soak the rice overnight in salty water at room temperature (or at least 1 hour in very hot salty water) for a truly great, fluffy, and evenly cooked rice. Before cooking the rice, pour out the water straining the rice with a colander.
2. Fill a pot (or saucepan) with water, add salt, and bring it to a boil. Place the rice into the boiling water. Stir, lower the heat to medium, and let it cook for 5-10 minutes (depending on the quality of your rice). Cooked rice should be soft on the outside and hard inside (not raw.)
3. Strain the rice using a colander, and rinse with a hot water to wash out an extra salt.
4. Wash the outside of the pumpkin, cut off the top, and hollow out the inside.
5. Gently mix the rice in a large bowl with the raisins and melted butter.
(Save 1 tbsp butter for glazing the pumpkin.)
6. Prepare the saffron infusion.
Place saffron threads into a shot glass. Then, pour about two tablespoons of boiling water and let it sit. The water will turn an opulent yellow color immediately, deepening over the next few minutes until it becomes a clear, bright orange.
7. Coat the inside of pumpkin with honey, and stuff it with the rice-raisin mixture.
Pour 2 tbsp of saffron infusion on top of the rice and cover the pumpkin with its lid.
8. Glaze the pumpkin with butter and wrap it in foil.
9. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C (350°F), place the pumpkin on a baking sheet, and bake for about 1-2 hours (depending on the size of your pumpkin) until the pumpkin is soft and the rice is cooked.
Preparing the meat and fruits.
1. Cut the meat into pieces. Add 1 tablespoon of butter in a saucepan, and cook meat over medium-high heat until lightly brown on all sides.
2. Then, add approximately 1/3 cup of water and season the meat with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with a lid and let it simmer over medium-low heat until the meat is cooked. Stir it occasionally to prevent it from burning.
3. Peel the onion, cut it in half, and slice it into thin half-rings. In a separate frying pan, add one tablespoon of butter and fry the onion over low heat, until it is lightly golden.
4. Add the meat to the onion and cover it with the dried fruits. Add a few tablespoons of meat stock or water, and simmer covered, over low heat until the fruits are soft.
5. Stir and serve on a serving plate with the rice and the pumpkin.
Bon Appétit! Enjoy!
This post is also available in: Russian