By Team FoodeMag: The national dish of Jordan is Mansaf: lamb seasoned with aromatic herbs, sometimes lightly spiced, cooked in yoghurt, and served with huge quantities of rice. Feasting on Mansaf is taken seriously, and hours are spent in its preparation. Mansaf is cooked in Jameed (the Arabic word for dried yoghurt), which is then mixed with water in a tray to produce a creamy sauce. This is poured into a large stewing pot with chunks of lamb meat. The pot is put over an open fire. As the stew begins to warm, it is stirred to prevent the yogurt from separating. Large trays are covered with the doughy flat Arabic bread and dampened with yogurt. On top of this, a layer of rice is heaped. The meat is then piled on top. Almonds, pine-kernels and other nuts may be sprinkled over the dish, which is then ready for serving. Our Jordan trip as part of FoodeMag’s #DestinationDiaries was curated by Samantha Wood, the food blogger extraordinaire and founder of the restaurant review website www.foodiva.net and Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea & Mövenpick Resort Petra. Do read more on our trip here.
Mansaf ~ Lamb seasoned with aromatic herbs and spices, cooked in yoghurt
For the Lamb
- 1 ½ kg plain yogurt
- 500 gms dry Jameed
- 2 ½ kg lamb (meat pieces or lamb shanks)
- 1 onion
- bay leaves, cardamom, cloves, cumin, turmeric and salt (as per taste)
- water for boiling
For the Rice
- 1 kg Jasmine or Basmati Rice
- 100 gms butter
- 3 gms saffron
1.5 lt stock from cooking of the lamb
- 150 gms slivered almonds
- 50 gms pine seeds
- parsley, fresh chopped
- 1 piece Shrak or large Arabic flat bread
For the Meat:
- Boil the meat pieces with a quarter of an onion, salt and all the spices in the water until they become soft. In another pot, mix the yogurt with the previously soaked Jameed under constant stirring (otherwise the yogurt will split), and bring the mixture to a boil. When the yogurt is boiling, turn off the heat.
- Once the meat turns soft, remove the pieces from the stock and strain it to get out all the little pieces out. Add some of the stock to the cooked yogurt and keep the rest to cook the rice. Add the meat into the yogurt mixture making sure there are no onions or bay leaves in it. Add a little salt and pepper (usually it does not need a lot of salt).
For the Rice:
- Sautée the rice in the butter until it gets a glazy look, add saffron and deglaze with the strained lamb stock. Cook it in the oven until the rice soaks up the stock.
- In a big plate, first lay the Shrak bread at the bottom and soak it with Jameed sauce, add the cooked yellow rice and the meat pieces. Sprinkle roasted almonds, browned pine nuts, parsley on top. Serve the sauce separately.
[Images by Debbie Rogers. Recipe provided by Mövenpick Hotels Jordan and we have tried and tested it at the FoodeMag kitchen]