Beef Pilaf With Dried Fruits

This is a traditional dish of Lezgians, ethnic group living predominantly in southern Dagestan and northeastern Azerbaijan. It’s not an everyday dish (at least in our family), instead, it is cooked on a special occasion such as birthday, wedding, etc.

Thanks to my mum’s friend Zarema for the recipe!

Tips: use white raisins so rice has not coloured. Use slightly sour dried apricots.

Beef Pilaf With Dried Fruits
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
2 hr 30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
2 hr 30 min
  1. 2 handful dried sour apricots
  2. 1 handful dried sweet apricots
  3. 2 handfuls golden raisins
  4. 1 handful prunes
  5. 600-700 g beef steak, cut into bite sized pieces
  6. 2 large onions, finely chopped
  7. 400-500 g white round grain rice, thoroughly washed
  8. 8 tbsp + 4 tbsp sunflower oil
  1. Soak dried fruits in cold water for 30 minutes (in separate bowls).
  2. Place dried sour apricots in a pan over low heat, cover with fresh water, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add the sweet soft apricots and raisins to the pan, simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Add dried prunes, and sugar. Let the sugar melt without stirring. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is thickened.
  5. Meanwhile, place meat in a saucepan, pour over cold water, bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat. Simmer until liquid has evaporated and meat is tender. Season with salt and black pepper, set aside.
  7. In a separate pan, pour 8 tbsp oil and fry onions over low-medium heat until golden.
  8. Add to the meat.
  9. Meanwhile, in a large pan, bring plenty of water to boil, add salt and place the rice.
  10. Reduce the heat and simmer until the rice is cooked. Drain.
  11. Put half of the rice on a large shallow dish. Pour over 2 tbsp sunflower oil, then top with the remaining rice and pour over another 2 tbsp oil. Fluff up the rice with a fork.
  12. Pour the syrup over the rice, and sprinkle over the dried fruits, then top with the meat.
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