July 07, 2014

Bukhara. Feasting at the end of Ramadan

I met a lovely family in Bukhara, who adopted me for my stay. Rustham and his large extended family lived in a narrow street near the Kalon minaret. A typical Bukhara house with a huge yard containing a day bed at one side, which acted variously as an eating table, a play table for the kids, and a bed at night to look up at the stars from.

Every night a feast of many dishes was served to assuage the hunger of the daily fast. Local fruits, vegetables, and good cuts of meat fresh from the main market, were all cooked and then presented in a manner which would not have been out of place in an expensive restaurant.

The best meal I shared at his home was the Uzbek traditional, Plov (or Pilov). Rice, carrots, nuts, a few herbs, and a chunk of meat, with its fat still on the bone, and then left to rest for 2 hours after cooking. It was the ideal dish for Ramadan. It could cook slowly until we could eat at exactly the prescribed time for the end of the fast, which was 8:08 pm this night. The days newspaper had been checked to ensure we ate at exactly the correct time.

As with pizza, Plov was originally poor peoples food made from leftovers, but is now an exotic delicacy outside of Central Asia. Easy to make, if you have the time, it fills you up and can give you great leftovers for the next day. Definitely one I will be making in the kitchen when I get home.

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