Mansaf, the national dish of Jordan made with lamb meat cooked in a tangy jameed (goat milk dried yoghurt) sauce and served with yellow rice on a shrak (a thin bread)!
An easy Bedouin meat and rice dish that is the pride of Jordan— Mansaf, served traditionally on a large shrak bread. You can serve this along falafel as starter, Mutabal dip and kunafa for dessert.
My unsolicited two cents: 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 and the techniques they use, etc. Be inquisitive and then share with the world giving due credit to the cuisine!
Ok, now let's talk about the Jordanian Mansaf recipe with jameed sauce!
I mentioned this is an easy recipe but you may find it really hard to source Laban Jameed - the goat milk dried yoghurt. Nowadays you can get it in tetra pack as "liquid jameed". Rest of the mansaf ingredients you may already have!
- bone-in meat (mutton or lamb)
- basmati rice
- liquid jameed (Laban Jameed)
- red or yellow onion
- green cardamom
- bay leaf
- turmeric powder
- saffron infused water (optional)
- yoghurt (optional)
- almonds or pine nuts
- shrak bread (optional but recommended)
See the recipe card for quantities.
What is Jameed?
Jameed refers to the dried hard yoghurt made from goat's milk. It requires a long soaking time, so usually the preparation for mansaf starts a day ahead. Nowadays you can make mansaf with readily available liquid jameed.
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 countries in most supermarkets. So I would really urge you to look out for Jameed and try making Mansaf.
How to make it?
How to make mansaf with jameed? Making a batch of Jordanian mansaf recipe is easier than the elaborate Indian biryani recipes. You don't have a lot of chopping work to do and most of the cooking is hands-free!
I like to divide the process so it is easy to scale up or down.
- First off, you will need to prepare the mansaf meat stock - I like to use lamb meat.
- Using the stock, you will prepare the mansaf sauce aka jameed sauce.
- Next, cook the rice with turmeric or saffron-infused water.
- Fry the almonds or pine nuts or both.
- Assemble mansaf in serving platter.
- bone-in meat: You can use lamb, mutton, goat meat. I have never tried with beef so can't recommend it.
- basmati rice: You can use any regular long grain rice or sella rice.
- liquid jameed (Laban Jameed): If you could source only the hard jameed balls, then you need to reconstitute it into liquid yogurt by soaking it in water until dissolved.
- shrak bread: a thin arabic bread that you can skip or replace with Indian rumali roti.
Recently I came across Mansaf made with Freekeh, a superfood grain. You skip the rice and make a batch of Freekeh and serve with meat and jameed sauce.
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!
Honestly, once the Jameed sauce boils, you will get the goat meat 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 ate Mansaf like the Jordanians would want us to.
No, mansaf is not similar to biryani in any way. Other than the fact both are rice and meat dish, the ingredients and flavour profile is totally different and unique to each.
Mansaf is served in a large community platter for traditional gatherings like a wedding. 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!
Looking for more recipes using lamb or mutton meat? Try these:
These are my favorite dishes to serve with Mansaf:
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 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon ghee
- water to cover the meat
For the Jameed Sauce
- 1 cup liquid Jameed (Laban Jameed)
- 1 teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup yoghurt whisked
For the Rice
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 1 green cardamom
- 2 cups basmati rice rinsed and soaked for 20 to 30 minutes
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 4 cups hot water to cook the rice
- Salt to taste
For the Garnish
- ⅓ cup almonds slivered or whole, toasted lightly
- shrak bread optional (see notes)
Make the Lamb Stock
- Add all the stock ingredients to a large deep pot and bring it to a full boil.1 kg mutton or lamb, 1 large onion, 3 to 5 green cardamom, 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon ghee, water
- Skim and discard the foamy layer that forms at the top with a ladle. This is to remove the impurities.
- Boil for at least 30 minutes or until the meat is just cooked.
- Fish out the meat and keep them aside.
- Strain the stock and discard the solids.
Make the Jameed Sauce
- Add back the stock to a clean pot along with liquid jameed, whisked yoghurt and ground pepper. Stir constantly on low to medium flame to prevent curdling. Add salt if necessary.1 cup liquid Jameed, 1 teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper, ½ cup yoghurt
- Add the cooked meat and let it simmer on low flame until the sauce is thick enough to coat the meat as a glaze and meat is tender to fall off the bone.
Prepare the Yellow Rice
- In a large thick-bottomed deep pot, heat the ghee on medium to high flame. Add the cardamom, drained rice and turmeric powder. Saute to fully coat the grains in the oil.1 tablespoon ghee, 1 green cardamom, 2 cups basmati rice, ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- Add the boiled hot water and salt to taste. Bring to a full boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until most of the water has been absorbed.4 cups hot water, Salt to taste
- When you see the rice has surfaced without much water, stir once, and cover the pot with foil or kitchen towel and then with a heavy lid. Cook covered for 5 to 6 minutes and then remove from heat and let stand 15 minutes.
- Place the shrak or any thin flatbread on a large platter. You may tear up the bread into smaller pieces and spread to cover the platter.shrak bread
- Fluff the rice and gently spoon on a mound on top of the bread.
- Place the lamb pieces and pour most of the prepared jameed sauceall over the rice.
- Sprinkle some toasted almonds or pine nuts.⅓ cup almonds
- Serve along with the remaining jameed sauce and salad on the side.
Recipe adapted from Procrastinator Cook. You can also read the article by Migrationology for Mansaf experience.
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove.
Did you make this recipe? Let me know!