پلاو

In English, it is called “pilaf”, which according to the best site for the English language ever, is influenced by Greek:

oriental dish of rice boiled with meat, 1610s, from Turk. pilav, from Pers. pilaw. Spelling influenced by Mod.Gk. pilafi, from the Turkish word.

Nişanyan concurs with regard to the Aryan origin of this word, although he insists upon the Dravidian origins of the Persian “برنج”, with Sanskrit as the intermediary, naturally. Sanskrit is also blamed elsewhere for “پلاو” (and thus its descendents). It is worth noting that although پلاو is attested as the Persian in both of those sources, contemporary Iranians seem to drop the “alef” in favour of پلو, and Iranians are presently transcribing it into the Latin script as “polo”. Tajikistan still uses “палов” though, which conforms in pronunciation to پَلاو. Does anyone know which Persian spelling and pronunciation is use in Afghanistan?

Regardless of the word’s many spellings and pronunciations, most Central Asians eat it in a similar way. As a public service, I am providing you with some Central Asian “pilaf” recipes, organised by state of origin, travelling from Northeast to Southwest:

Chinese Türkistan: Everyone’s favourite guy shows you how it’s done:

And an English language recipe. Plus a Chinese language video:

Kazakhstan: A Russian language recipe. And here an American living in Kazakhstan tells us that he has been told that:

it isn’t plov if the meat and the rice aren’t cooked together.

Kyrgyzstan: A Malaysian woman who is married to a Kyrgyz man shows us how she throws down with some paloo.

Uzbekistan: Because in Soviet times Uzbekistan was well known for its cuisine (but in a more racist way than Georgia was), it’s not hard to find recipes, even in English, which use Uzbekistan as the gold standard.

And this one has amazing pictures.

Tajikistan: This kid gives you a proper recipe in English:

And this kid does it in one third of the time to a soundtrack:

Turkmenistan: I found two videos, but they both charmed me immensely. One is of a group of Turkmens in Chicago done to a Persian soundtrack:

The second is in Turkey and done to a techno soundtrack:

Pick your poison.

Lastly, lest we forget the poorest country on Earth that isn’t considered “African” (and its poor people who are subject to the US-backed Karzai dictatorship after years of living under the US-sponsored Taliban, who are probably going to come back to power with US blessing so long as the US can keep military bases there with the goal of encircling Iran, for oil money, all while NATO troops murder Afghanistani civilians once a month), they too are known to be excellent cooks (in between having their villages attacked by flying robots):

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