Extreme Weather Costly For Uzbeks' Beloved Plov Dish
Faizan Hashmi 14 days ago Tue 16th November 2021 | 12:32 PM
The sweet-flavoured, yellow carrots grown by Uzbek farmer Mukhtor Gazatov are a key ingredient in his country's national pilaf dish -- but extreme weather has devastated this year's harvest
Tashkent, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 16th Nov, 2021 ) :The sweet-flavoured, yellow carrots grown by Uzbek farmer Mukhtor Gazatov are a key ingredient in his country's national pilaf dish -- but extreme weather has devastated this year's harvest.
"They are sweeter than the orange kind and lend a special flavour," the 60-year-old told AFP at his farm outside the isolated republic's capital.
But one of the worst droughts in years has hit the ex-Soviet region.
Gazatov's crops were ruined while shoppers grumble over carrots that are four times more expensive than before, pushing up prices of a plate of plov.
"When the weather is that hot, some carrots simply burn out. The carrots that survive are smaller," said Gazatov, whose annual income fell by a third.
City temperatures surged past 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in early June -- a month when readings are typically in the mid-30s or lower.
Unseasonably cold weather earlier in the spring had already delayed the harvest and compromised its quality, causing carrots to crack, Gazatov lamented.
Scientists link such shifting weather patterns and extreme temperatures to the effects of climate change.
- Whole lotta plov - In the capital Tashkent, it is not hard to see where the demand for Gazatov's crop is.
Restaurants with plov-heavy menus are dotted throughout the city, whose region is one of several that claim to make the best version of the dish.
Plov is served at weddings where ingredients are cooked in massive cast iron pots.
Thursdays are earmarked for plov-making followed by love-making in married households -- according to legend, at least.
"Uzbekistan had non-beneficial weather conditions, which limited this year's harvest. Local prices were also affected by the high prices in markets connected to Uzbekistan like Russia" where not enough carrots were planted, Khurramov told AFP.
A growing population and shrinking glaciers in its upstream neighbours have added urgency to these efforts.
If there is a check on rising prices for plov's ingredients, it is the ruthless competition between eateries focused on a single meal.
Abdurahim Mirzayev, a 59-year-old career plov chef, said that he chose to sacrifice profits this year to ensure his rough-and-ready restaurant on the outskirts of Tashkent was full every lunchtime.
His version of the dish, known as "wedding plov" or "holiday plov", is embellished with raisins and chickpeas.
But carrots are essential to plov's distinctive aroma and cannot be replaced, he said.
Javokhir Djamoliddinov, deputy director of the national statistics committee that maintains the "plov index", said he believes Uzbekistan will always find a way to serve its favourite dish.
"We have always eaten plov," he said, "and we will always eat it in the future."