Buffalo Rice Pilaf with Dried Apricots
I was born in one of the Central Asian countries where food was more of a ritual which is associated with specific family event. Rice pilaf is one of these foods which are cooked mostly by women and usually for a special event or big family gathering. There is a rule for women, who were born or spend a big chunk of their life in Central Asian countries, they absolutely must know how to cook pilaf. Women in my family all of them knew and know how to prepare this special dish. It is not that difficult to make if you follow the instruction below and it is very tasty. Usually for pilaf people use lamb or beef, I decided to make it with the buffalo meat which is much leaner than beef and it brings unique flavor to pilaf.
This amount will serve about 8-10 people
• 2 pounds ½ inch thick cubed buffalo roast
• 2 cups of row rice
• 5 medium carrots sliced thin
• 1 large onion sliced thin
• 1 whole garlic head
• 1 can of garbanzo beans
• 1 cup of dry apricots
• 4 tablespoons of canola oil
• 1 teaspoon saffron powder for color
• 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
• 1 table spoon of Himalayan pink salt
• About 4-5 cups of hot water
Preheat a cast iron casserole pot on high with oil in it until it starts smoking, add meat and cook until it turns into a nice brown color.
Then add carrots and onions and cook for about 5-7 minutes.
Add about 2 cups of hot water, close the lid, turn the heat down to medium and cook for about 20-30 minutes until meat gets tender. Open the lead and add salt, saffron, cumin seeds and place garlic in the middle. Cook for another 5 minutes then add garbanzo beans and raw white rice.
Pour hot water on top of the rice until it covers it to about 1 inch above.
Cook rice on high until most of the water evaporates then add sliced apricots, dome shape the rice and cover it with the lid, turn heat to low and cook it for about 15 minutes.
Take it from the heat and let it rest for another 10-15 minutes. It is done!
Serve pilaf on a large serving platter with meat on the sides and the garlic on top. People from Central Asia also serve pilaf with fresh fruits and hot green tea.