Pilaf is used to be food for the true connoisseurs and gourmands, favorites of fortune, warriors and philosophers. No wonder that among the fans of this dish there are many representatives of strong half of humanity. And a real pilaf can be created only by a man.
The first information about pilaf was found in the annals of I-II century BC, at the time when a cultural cultivation of rice in India and the Middle East started. Actually, pilaf as a dish came out of these countries, however, only in Central Asia, more precisely in Uzbekistan, thanks to the ingenuity of the population and skills of cooks (named osh-pavoz), who pass on their knowledge and secrets from generation to generation, pilaf became a cultus, the object of pride and national property.
None of event in Uzbekistan can be held without cooking this dish. It happens that a person has to eat a pilaf three times a day: morning pilaf (traditionally at 6 am) on the birth of a child; dinner pilaf – due to wake, and in the evening – on the occasion of wedding. And it is not boring, because the deal is that there is more than a hundred ways of cooking, moreover, master’s hand is a great thing. Each region, and sometimes every city in Uzbekistan has its own proprietary recipes for making pilaf and they are so various that even a beginner will never confuse Tashkent and Bukhara pilaf, and without any difficulty distinguish Samarkand from the Ferghana one.
Of course, for a detailed study of the subject it is always necessarily to go to its homeland. But if you do not have much time, and you intend to learn about the dish more, and also to try the pilaf of different regions of the Uzbekistan, then your direct road is to the Central Asian Centre of pilaf.
A cafe with such a sonorous title is located in Tashkent city, in a very beautiful shady corner, not a far distance from the city tower. There are no pretentious halls here, waiters in livery and gold on the ceilings - everything is simple and very democratic, because all kinds of the population come this place. Often you can see the company of businessmen dressed in status branded costumes exuding an incredible perfume, sitting beside a table with a simple office "plankton", restless students or totally unceremonious tourists, who desire to capture every moment from the preparation up till the process of a meal.
The secret is very simple: real thing can not be not liked, ant here everything is real:
- there are real giant cast-iron kazans, in each of which a pilaf to 800 visitors ( the word of “custom” is not used, it is replaced by "Mehmon" which means “guest”) can be prepared. Contemporaneously, up to five of these kazans can be employed in the center for cooking various kinds of pilaf on reservation, although the most popular types are considered to be the "Tashkent toy oshi" (Tashkent holiday pilaf) and "Devzira-osh" (Ferghana pilaf with devzira rice)
- there are real masters called osh-paz, who passed here the whole way from assistant up to masters despite neither the age nor the former merits. Moreover, if the veteran osh-paz or a novice helper reveals a lack of tact or respect towards the leadership of a cafe, they will surely be forgiven, because only the most talented people are picked to be here. But in case, God forbid, a rage was expressed in relation to the visitor, the dismissal is imminent, even despite the status.
- and, of course, the most real freshest products. Meat and vegetables are brought here not in the evenings, but early in the mornings, directly from a six-hour market, thus the question about the quality just is not worth it. As it is broadly known to prepare the best pilaf everything should be the best: selected Khorezm rice, only yellow carrot of “mushak” variety, peas of “nohat” kind (preferably from the mountainous areas of Ferghana valley), Samarkand raisins, fresh beef and mutton, as well as vegetables, which are used for making the salads to pilaf. Moreover, apart from pilaf, salads, pastilles and tea, there is nothing else to order here, this is the specific institution. However, nobody murmurs, furthermore, probably it is hard to find the place to see people being such pacified after the meal.
Nowadays, pilaf, owing to its democracy, conquered the entire world; it is cooked in many parts of the world. But still, try on a real pilaf, marvel at the variety of recipes, learn from the famous masters the basics of cooking, to acquire the necessary tableware and "right" spices, you can only here in Uzbekistan!