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The Bukharian Jews of Central Asia have ancient Persian roots, so it is no surprise that this layered rice pilaf dish is central to their cuisine. Spiced with coriander and cumin, brimming with beef (or sometimes lamb), shredded carrots, and chickpeas, it is a dish fit for Shabbat dinner or any celebration.

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Credit: Photo by Rachel Vanni / Food Styling by Judy Haubert

Recipe Summary test

active:
35 mins
total:
2 hrs
Servings:
8
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • In a large Dutch oven (casserole) or other heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned around the edges, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned in spots, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, paprika, and bay leaves and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

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  • Stir in 2 cups water, bring to a simmer over medium-high, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the meat is tender, 45 to 60 minutes. Uncover and stir in the chickpeas.

  • Sprinkle the rice and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt evenly over the beef mixture (do not stir). Pour 3 cups water on top and bring to a boil over high heat without stirring. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, until the rice begins to swell and most of the water is absorbed (the surface should appear dry), 10 to 12 minutes.

  • Poke several deep holes in the rice mixture to the bottom of Dutch oven with the back of a wooden spoon to facilitate evaporation. Sprinkle the currants on top, reduce the heat to low, and cook, covered, until the rice is tender and water is fully absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 15 minutes, then gently stir to combine. Taste and add more salt, if desired. Serve hot or warm, topped with cilantro.

Note

Recipe reprinted from The Jewish Cookbook, by Leah Koenig. © 2019 Phaidon Press

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