You’ve definitely lived in Jordan if you’ve eaten…

The first question I’m asked when I mention to people that I lived in Jordan for almost 3 years is,

Did you try the Mansaf?!

Well, sure I did! It IS the national dish! Walking down the streets of Amman, you stumble upon a lot of restaurants and plenty of them serve mansaf. However, the #1 tip that I received from Jordanians was that if you want to get a real taste of mansaf, that dish should be served and prepared by a Jordanian mom–or even better–a grandma who knows the bits and tricks of the recipe and serves it during important occasions or when honoring a guest!

I did just that! I vividly remember visiting my friend’s farm in Irbid and being pulled into the kitchen to witness the preparation of a huge tray of lamb mansaf, the main course. It was sitting amidst the lunch table, surrounded by assorted mezza platters such as hummus, kubbeh, labaneh, fattoush, tabbouleh, makdous, zettun, & dolma…

 

You’ve definitely lived in Jordan if you’ve eaten Mansaf!

Photo credit: nina.jsc via Foter.com / CC BY

 

My friend exclaimed, “You will leave my house heavier” and then promptly dove into lunch. 

To make mansaf, you first get your pre-prepared special ingredient jameed (a hard dry yogurt of goat or sheep boiled and then left to dry and ferment). This is then kept in woven cloths to make a thick yogurt, where salt is added daily to make very dense ball-shaped units.

To start preparing the yogurt based sauce, jameed balls are taken and liquefied with water, then added to broth and meat.

 

You’ve definitely lived in Jordan if you’ve eaten Mansaf!

Photo credit: sstrieu via Foter.com / CC BY-ND

 

Meanwhile the mansaf rice is cooked with a mouthwatering mixture of peppers. Then, overlapping layers of bread “markouk” are spread out upon a platter.  The rice is then piled upon the laid markouk leaving a well in the center. The meat is spooned into the rice well and then sprinkled upon with butter fried almonds, kaju, and pine nuts.

Garnished with some parsley and chives, I carried that enormous mansaf tray to the dining table, followed by the array of mezza platters. Although I missed out on the proper way to eat it by rolling the rice, using your right hand, into tiny balls and then dipping the roll in the jameed, the plan is still to eat until you can no longer breathe!

 

You’ve definitely lived in Jordan if you’ve eaten Mansaf!

Mansaf

 

It is certainly a heavy meal, but that is the whole point I guess. The hosts were so eager to hear my feedback on their mansaf. I LOVED IT !!

For some delicious Middle Eastern food, make sure to book our own private chefs Nabz & G (Dubai)!