One of my favorite things about Queens is that there’s deliciousness around every corner: killer tacos down the street from a sex toy emporium; Chinese style nougat outside the Flushing LIRR; even Mexican seafood cocktails in the back of a bodega.
Today’s Twofer Tuesday—Uzbek plov and fruit pie from Greenway Health & Pharmacy, a drugstore/butcher/glatt kosher market in Rego Park—falls squarely in the latter category. Plov is a hearty Central Asian one-pot rice dish scented with cumin and studded with sweet bits of carrot that I’ve come to know and love after 20 years of living in the neighborhood.
Greenway’s excellent version uses beef, and is heavy on luscious nubs of carrot and also has chickpeas, and naturally, cumin. It’s made by a grandmotherly woman stationed next to the butcher counter. She also cooks up bakhsh, a plov variant that gets its greenish hue from coriander, parsley and dill; and a third type that features raisins.
Today I stopped by to see if they had any bakhsh. I didn’t see it, but the lady at the register was confident they had some and walked me to the back of the store. After looking on the shelf, she spoke to one of the butchers who soon emerged from the walking freezer cradling a gigantic silver foil wrapped cylinder that must have weighed more than 10 pounds. “No that’s way too much for me,” I said and she countered by saying she could cut off a slab. “No thank you,” I responded.
So instead of bakhsh, I was tempted by three sheet pans of fruit tarts sitting on the counter. I opted for the strawberry one. For a moment I thought it was a Danish and asked if it had cheese. “It’s pareve,” she responded which I later learned is a classification of kosher in which no dairy is used. Despite the fact it had no butter, it’s still one of the best things I’ve ever eaten from a glatt kosher drugstore, as is the plov.
Greenway Health & Pharmacy, 65-47 99th St., Rego Park, 347-527-1388