The national dish of Jordan, Mansaf is all about lamb meat cooked in goat milk yoghurt called jameed and served with turmeric rice!
After Saleeg and Bedouin lamb rice, here is another easy meat and rice dish that is the pride of Jordan— Mansaf with Jameed. I first came across a Mansaf recipe on Pinterest and pinned it for later. I do a lot of reading before I attempt a foreign dish that is tied closely to their culture. That pin, was everything NOT mansaf! I unpinned it.
I have mentioned it several times and I will reiterate it many more times! When you are attempting to recreate a recipe from a different culture (be it minority or dominant), the least you can do is appreciate the original version before making enormous changes to the recipe and then calling it the best version! Take the opportunity to learn about the people behind the food, the ingredients they use, the techniques they use, etc. Be inquisitive and then share with the world giving due credit to the cuisine! If the cultural appropriation of food takes momentum, food blogging would need certification! 🙂 I know it is a thin line between appreciation and appropriation!
Ok, now let's talk about Mansaf with Jameed sauce!
What is Mansaf made of?
The three most essential ingredients to make a batch of Mansaf are Lamb, Jameed and of course some rice! The national dish of Jordan, Mansaf is all about lamb meat cooked in goat milk yoghurt called jameed and served with turmeric rice!
What is Jameed?
Jameed is a kind of fermented aged yoghurt that you get in liquid form these days. The traditional jameed is a hard dry yoghurt made from goat's milk. It needs to be soaked for a long time before it can be used. So usually the preparation for mansaf starts a day ahead. However, these days you get liquid jameed in tetra packs which makes making mansaf even easier.
The liquid jameed tetra pack I picked was 1 kilo and had two small packs inside of 500 grams each. It is easily available across the Gulf in most supermarkets. So I would really urge you to look out for Jameed and try making Mansaf. The rest of the ingredients are something you will have in your kitchen on any given day, well apart from the lamb meat! 🙂
Traditionally this is served on Shrak bread which looked like Roomali Roti but I skipped making or sourcing it.
How does Mansaf taste?
Honestly, once the Jameed sauce boils, you will get the goat smell! It may not be pleasant for some (like me) the reason why I added black pepper to mellow down the smell. That said, we did try to eat like the Jordanians would want us to. 🙂 And you will agree why mansaf is celebrated so much around the world by Jordanians and others alike. A trip to Jordan is never complete without having Mansaf.
How to eat Mansaf?
In a traditional setting, the mansaf is served on a large platter and placed on the table, and the guests would stand or sit around the platter with their left hand behind their back and eat only with their right hand. You make balls of rice and meat and pop them into your mouth and eat! We were just two of us and it was indeed a great pleasure to eat off one plate! A great couple bonding time 😀
Jordanian Mansaf | Lamb Meat Cooked in Jameed Sauce
For the Lamb Stock
- 1 kg mutton or lamb bone-in
- 1 large onion chunked
- 3 to 5 green cardamom
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon ghee
- enough water to cover the meat
For the Jameed Sauce
- 1 cup liquid Jameed (Laban Jameed)
- 1 to 2 cups prepared lamb stock
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup yoghurt optional
For the Rice
- 2 cups basmati rice rinsed and soaked for 20 to 30 minutes
- 4 cups water to cook the rice
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 1 green cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
For the Garnish
- ⅓ cup almonds or pine nuts soaked and toasted lightly
- shrak bread optional (or any Arabic flatbread for lining the serving plate)
Make the Lamb Stock
- Add all the stock ingredients to a large deep pot and bring it to a boil.
- Skim and discard the foamy layer that forms at the top with a ladle. This is to remove any impurities.
- Boil for at least 30 minutes.
- Fish out the meat chunks and keep them aside.
- Strain the stock.
Make the Jameed Sauce
- Add back the stock to the same pot along with liquid jameed, cooked meat and turmeric powder.
- Let it simmer on low flame until thickened and the meat is tender to fall off the bone.
Prepare the Yellow Rice
- Boil water with ghee, salt and turmeric.
- Add the drained rice and cook until done.
- Place the flatbread on a communal platter.
- Spread the rice.
- Top with pieces of lamb and pour some jameed sauce.
- Spread some almonds or pine nuts.
- Serve along with the excess jameed sauce and salad on the side.