Plov is a festive dish and is traditionally prepared for significant events such as weddings (marriage rites), circumcisions (religious ceremonies), and funeral feasts (a meal in memory of the dead). A less festive variation of pilaf is prepared in many Uzbek families at least once a week, usually on Thursdays, and in some families on Thursdays and Sundays.
It is customary to serve Pilaf in the centre of the table on a large lyagan (a large round dish made of clay and covered with glaze and national paintings on the top). The whole family eats directly from lyagan, and personal plates are not served. Traditionally Pilaf is eaten by hands, but not all families follow this tradition. It is customary to eat Pilaf with a spoon in public places.
The authentic Pilaf is cooked in a copper cauldron, called “Kazon” or “Kazan”. Main ingredients: onions, carrots, rice and beef/lamb. Each region of Uzbekistan has local differences that highlight the region’s flavours. The difference can be in the type of rice, the carrots and how exactly they were sliced, and what additional ingredients are added (raisins, chickpeas, the head of garlic, quince or pomegranate), how all these ingredients are laid out in Kazan (layers or mixed). Only local rice varieties are used: Lazer, Alanga (white rice from Khorezm province and Karakalpakstan) or Devzira (brownish-red rice from Fergana valley).
As a general rule, every Uzbek person considers the Pilaf from his region as the most delicious version he has been accustomed to since childhood; this flavour is the best and most enjoyable for him.
Travelling to Uzbekistan, it is a must to taste this dish, and maybe even more than once.