Info Shymkent - Kazakh Plov a famous dish in Central Asia

Cooking the famous Kazakh Pilaf at home

Kazakh Pilaf is a famous and delicious dish in Kazakhstan. Today we want to cook this traditional rice meal with you. Here we go!

Pilaf – is one of the most famous dish in Central Asia. You can find Pilaf in every Central Asian country. Today we want to cook the Kazakh version of Pilaf – also well known as Kazakh Plov or Kazaksha Palau. Here we go!


The ingredients of the Kazakh Pilaf:

  • Rice – 400-500 gramm
  • Carrot – 5-6 pieces
  • Onion – 2-3 pieces 
  • Beef – 150-200 gramm
  • Jeerah – depends on taste 
  • Salt – depends on taste
  • Raisins (grapes and barberries) – 2-3 spoons
  • Garlic – 3 cloves of garlic
  • Curry and Curcuma – depends on taste 
  • Cardamom – depends on taste 
  • Sunflower oil – half glass
Frying the Beef in the pan
Frying the Beef in the pan


At first we cutting the beef in cubes and the onions in “half moon” form. The carrots have to be cut into slices and then in stright line in a stick form. We use Jasmine rice for the plov and we washing the rice with the warm water 2-3 times and putting it after cleaning already into warm water. 


So, we’ll start cooking Plov! Take the pan with the form of Wok. Heat up the pan and then adding sunflower oil. When the oil is warm enough, add the beef. Mix the beef with the sunflower oil well. Add a little bit salt. When the meat has a light brown color, add the onions into the pan. Mix well again. When the onions got a golden color add the carrot sticks. Mix the ingredients in the pan. After around 1-2min you can add salt. Now you can add also the spices like curry and Curcuma into the meal. Mix it well, too. The raisins are following after the spices. You have to mix them, too.

After 1-2 minutes cooking you have to add hot water. Cover the Zervak (Plov without rice is called Zervak) with around two centimetres of this hot water. Put the cardamon into the Zervak and close the pan with the lid now. Cook strong the Zervak with enough heat. After around 5-7 minutes you have to check the carrots. If they are getting softer you can add the rice finally.

Cooking the Zervak of the Pilaf
Cooking the Zervak of the Pilaf

As I already wrote, rice have to be hold in warm water during preparation. Just take the rice now out from the water with the mesh skimmer and add it into the pan, too. Don’t mix the meal this time! Just add the rice on top of Zervak by covering it. Add the cloves of the garlic into the rice. Check the juice of the meal: Is the water enough to cover the rice too? The rice hast to be in the Zervak. Close the pan with the lid and let the food cooking for around 3-4 minutes. Switch also the oven to maximum heat. Turn down the heat to medium after the time left. 

Kazakh Pilaf is ready!
The Kazakh Pilaf is ready!

If you recognize that the rice is getting dry in the meal add again a little bit water. Try to make “a mountain of rice” with mesh skimmer, but please don’t mix the whole meal. Cover the pan again with lid, and cook the meal for another 15 minutes.

Final preparation

After this waiting time you can turn of heating and mix the meal in the pan. Take the beef out and cut the meat into smaller pieces and put the plov and the beef on plates.

Now the Kazakh Pilaf is ready ! You can eat together with a tomato & cucumber salad and hard cooked eggs. Enjoy the meal – Bon Appétit!

Cover Image: A serving suggestion how you can serve Kazakh Pilaf to your guests.

You like the Kazakh cuisine? Check out other Kazakh recipes: