Why use several different pots and pans when you can fit a full meal into one?
Bachsh is a traditional Bukharian rice and meat dish that is loaded with aromatic onions and fresh herbs. Bukharian Jews originate from central Asia, in modern day Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. They have an incredibly rich, insular culture. Their cuisine doesn’t use many vibrant spices, but focuses on subtle aromatics like carrots, onions, garlic, and meats to infuse flavor. Bukharians are the champions of the one-pot meal, and many dishes are focused around the round, short grain rice that they had access to, along with lamb, beef, and chicken.
My husband grew up in a very traditional Bukharian home, and this recipe is straight from my mother-in-law, who is an amazing cook and incredible hostess. She prefers to use chopped chicken breast here, but some choose to make bachsh with chopped lamb and beef. When we first got married, she gave me some wise advice for hosting guests: “Make bachsh — it’s all in one pot and you’ve satisfied every guest!” She meant that a great way to make your life easier but still make everyone happy is by preparing a deeply satisfying meal like bachsh.
Bachsh is a perfect simple weeknight meal as it comes together in about 45 minutes, and is a huge family favorite. It’s usually served with a chopped salad of tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers, and bell peppers, dressed with lemon and olive oil. On your plate, the tart lemony dressing mixes with the savory rice and meat for a delicious balance of flavors.
- 1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
- 2 cups round, short grain rice
- 2 chicken breasts, chopped finely into small cubes
- 1 bunch of parsley, minced finely
- 1 bunch of cilantro, minced finely
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the chopped chicken breast, 1 tsp salt, and half the chopped parsley and cilantro. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 1 1/2 cups water, cover the pot, and cook for 7-8 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, place the rice in a fine mesh sieve and rinse with cold water until the water runs clear. This removes any dust and excess starch from the rice. This step is essential to prevent the rice from becoming sticky and mushy.
4. Add the rinsed rice to the pot, along with the rest of the chopped herbs, remaining salt, black pepper, and water. Stir to combine, and bring the mixture back to a simmer over medium heat. Stir gently and reduce the heat to low.
5. Cover the pot and cook for another 12-15 minutes until the rice is fully cooked. Stir again gently, turn off heat, and allow the rice to steam for another 5 minutes.
Serve with a chopped salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, and bell peppers dressed with fresh lemon juice and olive oil.