April 7, 2010

Cooking Osh

Often people ask us what kind of food Central Asians like to eat.

Most of the times we spare them from the truth. But there is a dish that is safe to share. If you like oil.

Osh is a meal that is served e v e r y time you go visiting, to a wedding, or to a funeral, or a party of any kind. It served in the bazaar every day. It is on the menu in every restaurant. It is just a part of Central Asian life. They eat it once a week...usually. Or more, or less, but Thursday is a traditional osh day. So this Thursday you know what to cook for dinner!

There are naturally different kinds of osh, and many cities have their 'own' kind of osh but the main ingredients are the same: oil, rice, onions, carrots, meat and cumin. You might also add chick peas or raisins or garlic or a yellow spice that makes the osh - well, yellow.

You can cook osh on the fire:

Or you can cook it on top of tandoor oven:

But tonight we cook it on a Chinese gas stove top (because our city does not give us gas yet).

First you pour lots of oil into a strong sturdy pot. Let it be some 4-5 cm deep. It needs to be heated. My friend checks the heat by throwing a match in the oil. If it catches fire, the oil is hot enough.

Then you put cut onions and chopped meat into the oil. Let them brown for a good while until onions are brown and meat is browned too.

Then it is time to put thinly sliced carrots on top. If this was a western recipe, we would take ready sliced frozen carrots out, but in Central Asia you do everything from scratch, on the spot.

Mix in the carrots until everything is cooking in the hot oil. See the one whole carrot in there? It is cooking for our 7,5 month old cutie. She loves osh and osh carrots.

After you have killed the carrots, you put in the rice. We presoaked it in hot water for a while. This is a 'two-bowl-osh' (two piles of rice). Central Asians rarely use careful measurements in cooking.

Do NOT mix the rice with the onion-meat-carrot mix. The rice is going to cook on top. Trust me. It is going to taste good. Just smoothen the surface....

...and add some water and salt.

You can carefully stir the rice, but not mix the whole potful.

This is how it looks, and now we let it boil away for 15 minutes. Or so.

After it has been cooking for 15 minutes or so, add the cumin. Rub it between your palms, and throw it in.

Use your extra long Martha Stewart wooden spoon to poke holes into the rice. It will let the steam through, and it will cook the rice.

Tuck in a whole garlic...it will cook nicely and be soft and delicious when done.

Keep on checking the rice, and when it is cooked, your osh is done.

Now you can mix everything together. I do not have pictures, as I had to go and nurse a baby. Next time.
Dig out meat and cut it into smaller chunks. Keep the garlic whole.
Serve osh into a large plate, and sprinkle some meat on top. Put the garlic on the side. Eat with you hand, with salad and hot tea.



  1. Fanittaja yleistön pyynnöstä saisiko saman reseptin suomeksi vaikka tiivistettynä, että varmasti tekee kaiken oikein.

  2. Hei muru! Tämä resepti olikin täällä sinua ajatellen, mutta kieli kääntyi enkuksi. Yritän keretä sitä kääntämään, mutta tässä tiivistelmä: kuumaan öljyyn sipulit ja lihat, kun ne on ruskistunut, lisää porkkanat. Kun porkkanat on keitetty kuoliaaksi, lisää riisi päälle(älä sekoita!). Vettä, suolaa, jos haluat niin (esiliotettuja) kikherneitä. Kun riisi on höyrystynyt kypsäksi, sekoita, ja pilko lihat. Nami nam!


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