Russia’s size accounts in part for its rich culinary heritage. Fertile plains provide grains for breads, brews, pastries and cereals. Rivers and seas offer fish, including the coveted caviar-laden sturgeon. Tundra in the north provides wild game, while the southern and eastern reaches introduced Middle Eastern and Asian influences. Azerbaijani Plav (Azerbaijani Pilaf) is a traditional Azerbaijani recipe for a classic dish of rice cooked in chicken stock with sesame seeds and ginger garnished with almonds.
- 1/2 cup of blanched almonds
- 2 tbsp of pareve margarine
- 1 cup of unconverted white long-grain rice
- 2 cups of chicken stock, fresh or canned
- 1/2 tsp of white sesame seeds
- 1/4 tsp of ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp of salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spread the almonds on a cookie sheet in a single layer and toast in the oven for about 5 minutes, watching for any sign of burning and regulate the heat accordingly. Set aside.
- Melt margarine in a heavy 1 1/2- to 2-quart casserole set over moderate heat.
- Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon until the rice turns somewhat white and opaque. Stir in the sesame seeds, then pour in the chicken stock, ginger, salt and a few grindings of black pepper. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil, then cover the casserole tightly and bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the liquid has all been absorbed and the rice is tender.
- Sprinkle the reserved almonds over the rice and serve at once.