Hi, I am Nurzhan, a postgraduate student at the School of Computing at RGU. Moving out of my home country of Kazakhstan to a new place with a new culture was both exciting and frustrating, but it marked the beginning of a new journey for me!
At the start, it was difficult because I missed my home town, family and friends. Cooking and eating traditional food were the only ways I could feel at home.
If you are an international student thinking of applying to RGU there is no need to worry about not being able to find ingredients in the UK. Aberdeen has so many international stores where you can purchase the ingredients you need to cook any traditional dish.
Cooking meals from my home country
Two of my favourite dishes to cook from Central Asia is Kuyrdak and Plov. I will usually get lamb I need from from “Seven Heavens” or “Asian Halal” food stores (1 kg of lamb costs 10 pounds). Lidl is a good supermarket to visit for simple ingredients like salt, pepper and sunflower oil (this store is on of the cheapest compared to other supermarkets), and lots of the international stores also sell spices that I need to cook my dishes.
Plov is a traditional dish made from meat, vegetables and rice. Many countries in Central Asia and the Near and Middle East including Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan consider Plov one of their national dishes. Plov can often be enjoyed at special occasions such as weddings, but can also be enjoyed as a staple dish too.
One of the best things about this dish is that it’s made from one pot. Plov is traditionally made with lamb, but some people prefer to use beef. The quality and price are both great at the supermarket Morrisons so I recommend buying beef there. The average cost of 500 grams of beef is about £5.00.
Ingredients to make Plov
- Lamb or beef
- Salt and pepper
- Garlic powder
- Bay leaves
- Sunflower oil
You can find out more about the quantites you need from the following Plov recipe on BBC Good Food.
How to make Plov
Step 1: I strongly recommend to salt and season the meat with pepper and garlic powder overnight. This will leave the meat tender and flavoursome.
Step 2: Prepare the meat by cutting it into cubes, slicing the carrots, and dicing the onions.
Step 3: In a preheated pot, pour a little bit of sunflower oil. Then, after 60-75 seconds, add onions and carrots and wait until the onion turns golden.
Step 4: Then, put the rice and bay leaves in the pot, stir until they’re evenly distributed, and toast the rice.
Step 5: Place the entire head of garlic inside the pot after cutting off the top. Season generously with salt and pepper and add water. Turn the heat down low and cook for an additional 50-60 minutes.
Overall, with all ingredients, it costs me about £10 – £12.You can have this dish for lunch or dinner. It’s not time-consuming to cook or clean up. When I miss my country while living in Aberdeen, I like to cook this!