The Recipe

Uzbek Lamb and Rice

As Momen Abdullayof, From Uzbekistan, taught Lindsay Sterling in Maine, April 2010

Serves 6-8
Active time 45 min
Total time 3 hours

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion
1 lb. lamb with some bone and fat
1 tsp salt
4 large carrots or 1 lb jullienned carrots
1 head garlic
slightly less than a pint glass of rice
1/2 cup raisins
2 tsp cumin
1 cucumber, sliced 
1 tomato, sliced into wedges
1/4 onion, sliced thinly
pepper to taste

1. Prep. Soak rice in warm water in a mixing bowl. Slice the onions into crescent moons, cut a 3 x 3” swath of lamb fat and cut in to bite-size thin strips, and lamb meat off the bone into bite size nuggets. Slice carrots into matchsticks with a knife, mandolin, or buy them pre-cut.

2. Saute. In a wok (or casserole pot) on high, fry the lamb fat pieces in the olive oil. When brown and crispy, remove with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towel, sprinkle generously with salt and serve as an appetizer. Brown onions in the oil (about 5 min) then add lamb meat pieces and bone. Add some of the salt to the lamb and sear lamb until a slight crust forms on pieces or they look cooked. Add carrots. Drain rice, cover with more water, and drain again. Repeat until water runs clear. When the carrots are wilted, add drained rice to the onions and lamb. Stir and let rice cook a couple minutes, absorbing the oils and flavors. Add the rest of the salt. Then just cover the contents of the pan with water, add a garlic head (left whole, skin on), and bring to a boil.

3. Slow cook.  Cook on medium-high, stirring intermittently until liquid disappears from the bottom, about 10 minutes. Make a smooth mound of the half-cooked rice mixture, and sprinkle the top with raisins and cumin seeds. Create steam vents by poking through the mound to the bottom with the back of a wooden spoon. Repeat all over every 1-2 inches. Gently push the top layer of rice over the holes, and cover contents with a metal mixing bowl or lid. Turn heat to low and cook until rice is done and lamb is tender, about an hour. Serve lamb and rice with a salad of fresh tomato, onion, and cucumber. Garnish plates with one or two roasted garlic cloves. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Copyright Lindsay Sterling 2010