What Is Plov, Uzbekistan’s Popular Rice Dish Known For Its Fertility Enhancing Powers?

Plov holds symbolic significance in Uzbekistan's culture.

by Tejashee Kashyap
What Is Plov, Uzbekistan’s Popular Rice Dish Known For Its Fertility Enhancing Powers?

When it comes to Central Asia, is a land rich in history, culture, and culinary delights. Among its culinary treasures, Plov is Uzbekistan’s savoury rice dish. Beyond its tantalising flavours and aromatic spices, do you know plov carries a deep cultural significance, particularly in its association with fertility?

Uzbekistan’s Plov

Believed to have originated in the Persian Empire, Plov spread across Central Asia through trade routes, evolving into various regional variations. So the story goes, for Alexander the Great, who gave the order to create a filling dish to feed his army while they were on expeditions in Central Asia. In Uzbekistan, Plov occupies a special place in everyday cuisine. The dish was recently added to Unesco’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity List. It is now regarded as an important component of the nation’s culinary heritage.

In Uzbekistan, Thursdays and Sundays are thought to be the most popular days for making and consuming plov. Beyond its role as a beloved dish, Plov holds symbolic significance in Uzbekistan’s culture, particularly concerning fertility and the desire for children. In traditional Uzbek society, the ability to bear children is highly valued. According to an article published by BBC, the reason plov is so popular on Thursdays is because it is said to have potent aphrodisiac properties. Hence, it makes it ideal to consume on a day when conception is common. The tradition of conceiving on Thursdays is associated with the country’s strong Islamic values.

Also Read: From Idli To Pakora, 26 Indian Dishes Flagged As Biodiversity Threats By Scientists; Here’s The List

What Does Plov Consist Of?

Central to Plov’s allure is its simple yet harmonious blend of ingredients. Plov is traditionally produced by women in the family home; in restaurants (especially on special occasions), a male chef is in charge of making it.

In Uzbekistan, there are more than a hundred varieties of this dish. Recipes vary depending on the season and the area. The classic recipe typically includes rice, meat (commonly lamb), carrots, onions, and a medley of spices such as cumin, coriander, and turmeric. Plov is prepared in a precise order. Rice, water, spices, onion, and white and yellow carrots are added after the meat is brown. Every plate of plov, as per Uzbek custom, needs to be served with naan (bread).

From wedding celebrations to gatherings honouring new life, Plov serves as more than just a dish. So, have you tasted Plov before?

Cover image credits: Canva

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