Published: 16-Jul-2018 (21:09); Viewed: 2450; Difficulty: 4 out of 10
Mastava is one of the gems of Uzbek cuisine — very thick hearty soup with rice, vegetables and usually meat. Due to similarity in cooking technique and ingredients, with pilaf, sometimes mastava can be called liquid pilaf. This soup is cooked in very interesting technique, when you use strong boiling during all the process to achieve maximal fat absorption by rice and vegetables.
The description is looks very long and complicated and the list of ingredients is big as well, but really, when you understand how to cook mastava, you will see, that this is a very simple dish with only few basic cooking rules.
As many other Uzbek dishes, mastava is all in one dish, and you can use it for breakfast, lunch and dinner with only extra bread.
Of course, it is very difficult to find very original Uzbek ingredients for this dish, but in or story about how to cook mastava, we will show, how to substitute them with ingredients, available everywhere.
Ingredients. Ingredients for mastava will be groupped into three main groups – hearty soup itself and two extra additions for serving:
Lamb meat – 0.5 kg. It is better to choose fatty meat with bones, like ribs.
Starchy rice – 200g. Arborio rice is a very good choice.
Onion – 2 medium bulbs
Carrot – 2 medium
Tomatoes – 2 medium
Potato – 2 medium
Garlic - 2 bulbs
Chilli pepper – 3-4 hot chilli. You can add few medium hot to make taste more rich
Basil and coriander for serving
Bl. Pepper – 1 tsp
Cumin – 1 tbsp
Salt – 2 tbsp – adjust the taste later on
Savory – 1tbsp – this is not classical spice, but used for better taste
Oil – 1-2 tbsp for fatty lamb, or 4-5 tbsp for lean meat
Water – 2 litres
Salt to taste
Garlic to taste
Chopped tin tomatoes – 400g
Onion - 1 bulb
Olive oil - 1tbsp
Garlic – 1 bulb
Mix of hot chilli – to taste, but I do recommend to use 3 birds eye and 1 medium hot chilli to taste
Salt – to taste – it is difficult to give exact amount because of the big difference in the taste of chopped tomatoes
Sugar – to taste
Milled black pepper – 1 tsp
Coriander – small bunch
Basil – half small bunch
This is a long list of ingredients, but you very simple. Also you can add some other vegetables, like aubergine, turnip etc...
Chop lamb into a small pieces, sort of 1 bite size, it is ok if bones will be in them.
Slice and dice all vegetables. You should follow the following guideline: All diced vegetables should not be big. Keep diced potato in the water until need it. ¼ of onion thinly slice for adding at the end of cooking. 1/3 of garlic – do not cut – it will be used at the end as well. Chilli – you can live them as it is.
Preheat oil in the Dutch oven and place meat fat side down. Wait until the fat is melted. Add cubed onion and start to fry meat and onion steering every so often. When the meat start to be brown and onion – translucent, add garlic, salt and spices. Continue to fry couple of minutes.
Add cubed carrot and fry for few more minutes, until carrot start to be browns. Than add about half litre of water and deglaze all walls of the pan. Add the rest of water and bring it to boil. When it is start boiling – add cubed tomatoes and chilli peppers. Leave to boil for 20 minutes. Now it is time to make extra sauces for the serving.
Let’s make some chilli sauce. First step prepare all ingredients. Cube onion, finely slice garlic, chop all green herbs, but make sure that you’ve finely chop stalks separately from the leaves. Finely slice chilli pepper.
In a small pan preheat olive oil and cook onion, until translucent. In you like more sweet taste – you can almost caramelise onion. Add garlic and cook few more minutes, until it soften. Add tinned tomatoes and bring to boil. Add salt, sugar, powdered black pepper, chopped green stalks and chopped chilli pepper. Bring to boil and cook about 20 minutes until it loose all excessive liquid, steering occasionally.
Add chopped leaves and remove from the heat. Store in a jar and chill down for serving. Spicy chilli paste is ready.
Prepare garlic yoghurt. It is simple and quick. Press few garlic cloves, salt them, add Greek yoghurt and mix everything together. Keep refrigerated.
Lets return back to our soup. It looks like it is boiling about 20-25 minutes now and it is time to add rice. After adding rice – it is necessary to steer it to avoid rice stuck together. Cook rice for 20 more minutes with intensive boiling. Again it is good to mix all oils and fats with rice. Then add cubed potato, sliced onion and whole garlic cloves. Check salt, just in case and boil about 15 min until potato turns soft. Switch off and keep it for 15-20 min for mature.
Finely chop coriander and basil leaves. You can also add all other green herbs, like green onion, dill etc. Serve – bowl with mastava, table spoon of garlic yoghurt on side and tea spoon of chilli paste on top of garlic yoghurt. Sprinkle everything with chopped herbs.
Of course this description as very good to understand, how to cook mastava, but it will be very usefull to watch our video Mastava, Uzbek cuisine as well:
This video about mastava will give you all answers about cooking process.
tips and tricks
During all cooking, boiling should be very intensive – it is necessary to mix the fats and oils in the soup with other ingredients.