The Ultimate Karmir Plav Recipe (Red Rice with Beef Recipe)

I know that this dish remains close to many of our hearts. This is the quintessential comfort dish, not only is it intensely nostalgic, it is totally satiating.
For this reason, I am personally placing a disclaimer on this recipe. It is my version of the “Ultimate Karmir Plav,” as with many of our dishes, the variations are endless, as our memories are directly connected with our tastes. This may not taste the way you remember it, however, I will say, that this recipe holds its own.

Without further ado. . .

Things You will Need:
7 qt. stock pot
Measuring cup
Cutting board
Chef’s knife
Cheese grarter
4-5 bowls (for ingredients after the have been processed)
Wooden spoon

3 cups basmati rice (rinsed until water runs nearly clear)
1.5 lbs Chuck beef, trimmed and cubed (the more marbled with fat, the better)
4 large tomatoes (grated into a bowl)
1 1/2 cup vegatable oil (I know this sounds like a lot of oil, trust me)
2 large yellow onions, small diced
4 Tbs. of tomato paste (if you like a really red rice, add an additional spoonful)
3-4 Tbs. Kosher salt
1-2 tsp. of black pepper
3 Tbs. of unsalted butter, cubed
4 cups of water (for rice)
1 cup of water (for beef)

Place pot over a med flame and add in a drizzle of your measured oil, allow to warm slightly. Add in diced onion and cook for 5-8 minutes, or until onions are translucent and ever so slightly golden. Add in cubed beef and season with a half of the salt and pepper, once the beef has browned a bit, add in 1 cup of water and turn the heat down to low. This beef is tough and needs to cook slowly for at least 1-1 1/2 hour, don’t rush this process, it will ruin your final result.

Once beef is tender, add in grated tomatoes, tomato paste, remainder of the oil, salt and pepper. Give this mixture 2-3 minutes on the fire so that it may all come together.

Your rice should be rinsed and drained by this point, it is now ready to be added to the pot. So, add in rice. By now, all ingredients except for the butter and water should be in your pot. Give the ingredients a good stir and add in the water. Turn the heat up and allow to come to a simmer. Once a simmer is reached, turn it down to the lowest setting and steam for 30-40 minutes with the lid on (you can choose to place a papper towl on the pot before placing on the lid, this will ensure that you will not have soggy rice).

Check your rice after the first 20 minutes, using your fork, gently, form a pyramid-like structure with th rice, moving the rice from the edges to a center mound. At this point, you can add in the cubed butter to the rice. Place lid back on and continue cooking.

If you are like me, and live for the crusted bottom bits, turn your heat up at the last 3-5 minutes to crunch up the bottom layer. I am salivating as we “speak!”

Final Note:
There are four condiments in which I like to enjoy with my Karmir Plav, individually, or combined. Here they are, in no particular order.

Lebne or yogurt
Crumble feta cheese (yes, feta cheese)
Thinly shaved red onions soaked in red wine vingar and olive oil  a bit of effort involved, but well wort it)
Mini dill pickles

I really hope that this recipe is loved as much by you as it is by me. I would love your feedback!

Main Dish, Recipes, Rice

Facebook comments:


  1. Pingback: Mast oo Khiar Recipe (Yogurt with Cucumber Recipe) |

  2. Hi,

    I love your website. Genius and effective. I was curious to know how many people this recipe feeds? I always cook for two people for dinner and try to make leftovers for lunch the next day.

    • Naris Mardirosian

      Hi Reese,

      Sorry for the late reply. This recipe will feed 5-6 hungry people. We are working on getting this information into the website. Thank you for your visit and comment.

  3. Gabe

    Please revise the oil amount to read “1/2 cup vegetable oil”. The way you have it written along with the comment in parenthesis made it sound like you were calling for 1 and a half cups of oil.

  4. Kendra

    I love this recipe, thanks for putting it out! I am American my husband is Armenian,I am able to make his foods and we all enjoy.

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