Thursday, June 23, 2011


Since coming home a few months ago, everyone asks question about what the food is like where I live. They all want to hear the crazy stories of when I eat sheep brain, or the time I tried fried bugs. But on the whole Uyghur food is really good and filling. The following is the recipe to make Polu. This is one of the main foods in the Uyghur diet, and is mainly eaten at the lunch. In fact restaurants make one batch a day and if they are out by 1pm and you can forget about trying to order it for dinner. It is one of the foods I miss the most when I am home.

Polu (Rice with Carrots and Mutton)

1 cup salad oil

1 kg mutton cut into 4 big chunks

5 big carrots (some yellow, some orange), cut in thin slices on the diagonal, then cut into tiny long strips

½ medium-sized onion, cut in chunks

3 cup rice

4 ½ Cups water

2 tsp salt to begin with (add more to taste – up to about 3 ½ tsp total)

¼ tsp pepper

1 tsp cumin (optional)

Put oil in the pot and let it get very hot. Add salt to oil. Add mutton and cook from 2 minutes. Add onion. Keep frying until mutton is brown. Then put in carrot. When it comes to a boil, turn the heat down and simmer covered for 15 minutes. Turn heat up and add water. When it comes to a boil, turn the heat down and simmer covered for another 15 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary. Add rice on top of vegetables. Push not water but DO NOT STIR. Poke some holes in the rice. If a little too much water, cook at a high heat for a minute or two, then turn heat right down, cover and simmer for 30minutes. Turn off heat and let sit covered for another 10 minutes. Don’t remove lid until you serve it. Stir and serve.

Options: Add raisins, dried apricots, currants, or eggs tucked into the top of the rice before the final 30 minute steaming.

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