Narvuz celebrations arrived in Brussels in spectacular fashion this year, as the Uzbekistan Embassy in Belgium held a night long function to show all those in attendance the rich culture that this central Asian country has to offer.
Attendees were greeted with drinks, dances, live music and most importantly, Palov (also known as plov): a particular dish that pertains to Uzbekistan and the surrounding region.
Containing fresh lamb; onions, carrots, rice, garlic, canola oil, salt cumin, ground black pepper and boiled water, the cooking of Palov starts with the pan being filled with oil, and the lamb being thrown in. Then, after 10 minutes, the carrots, garlic, salt, cumin, ground pepper and water is added in sequence.
This is a dish that fries, boils then drips, and so once the frying of these ingredients is done, then the rice is added, and it is left to gently boil. After, the dish is lowered in temperature and allows for a gentle dripping of the juices across the pan, giving you the finished piece.
Palov is a very traditional, staple dish in Uzbekistan and goes back for generations, with legend dating it back to the cooks of Alexander the Great. The Uzbeki saying goes that “If you want to see the strength of the man, see the Palov he eats”. So skilled are the Uzbeks at cooking this dish that master cooks can purportedly cook enough in one cauldron for 600 people!
Using typical ingredients that are native to the country, the dish is possible due to Uzbekistan being a fertile place that allows the growth of many delicacies and materials; materials that are used in many Western products we use today: dried fruits, honey, mineral water and fibres for bed sheets, as the country is the world’s second-largest exporter and fifth largest producer of cotton .
Uzbekistan is Central Asia’s most populous country and has some of the oldest cities that have foundations from ancient Persia.
Yesterday’s event endeavoured to show this rich history, and guests got a small taste of the culture, but those hosting the event extended a welcome for everyone to visit the country and learn more of the culture entwined within it.