Flavours of Jordan

The making of Mansaf,

starts well before the actual cooking. Making the Jameed (fermented yoghurt, from which Mansaf is made) is the first step. Jameed balls, are bought from local stores, and some speciality stores. In Jordan they are always bought from the source: the Bedouins making it. Nowadays, there is a modern version of Jameed that comes in carton containers, already liquified, but they are nowhere near the goodness of the original dried Jameed balls.

If you live in the UAE, you can buy my artisanal DS Jameed balls on this link, which are a beautiful, superior quality, small batch Jameed Balls, made by a Jordanian Bedouin, that I have sourced from Jordan myself.

Mansaf is a Jordanian celebration of tradition, life and hospitality.

 

Read and learn more about Mansaf, Jameed and the traditions and history on this link.

 

 

Ingredients

Serves: 12
  • 5 Kg Goat or Lamb meat pieces on the bone
  • 2 DS Jameed Balls
  • 2Kg Yoghurt (natural yoghurt)
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 3 heaped tbsp cornflour
  • 3 ltrs water
  • 4 whole cardamom seeds
  • 1 tbsp black pepper seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp mastic
  • 2 small cinnamon sticks
  • 2 whole cloves
  • Salt to taste (remember the Jameed is already salted)
  • 2 cups assorted toasted or fried nuts (almonds & pine nuts)
  • Shrak bread (thin, large bread found at supermarkets and bakeries, see video belwo)

For Rice

  • 8 cups medium grain rice
  • 1.5 ltrs broth (from this recipe)
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric or Osfor
  • Salt & Black pepper to taste
  • A dash of DS Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

A day ahead, break up the Jameed balls, and soak in enough water to cover, wrap with nylon and refrigerate.

Start by cooking the meat and making the broth.

First sweat the chopped onions along with the whole spices in olive oil, or ghee if using. When translucent but not browned, add the meat pieces, bay leaf and season with a little salt. Cook stirring for 5 minutes to seal and slightly brown the meat. Add enough water to cover and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 3 hours. (the prolonged cooking over low heat, makes for an extra tender and juicy meat). Keep skimming the foam (gray scum) that forms at the top.

Once done, remove meat pieces from broth and place in a separate bowl.

In a large cooking pot, drain the broth over a large sieve, and discard the onions, and spices. Return the meat to the broth and Bring to a gentle boil. (the water should be 1/3 the size of the meat for the 5kg about 3 liters of broth)

Meanwhile, Blend the Jameed with its soaking liquid, add a little water if it appears too dry or too thick. After blending the Jameed should look like yogurt in its original state. Pour over the simmering broth and stir to incorporate all, and leave to simmer.

Meanwhile, blend the 2 Kg yoghurt with the cornstarch until well incorporated. Add to the broth and Jameed mixture, and stir to mix all very well. Bring to a gentle boil and reduce the heat, simmer stirring occasionally for 45 minutes – 1 hour.

While the Jameed is simmering, Make the rice, like you would any rice. Rub the rice with turmeric or Osfor (safflower threads), salt and black pepper. Stir fry the drained rice, with a heated dash of olive oil till coated. Add the broth and stir to incorporate. Then cook till the rice is puffed and has no bite.

To Assemble Mansaf

Place Shrak bread on top of the serving tray (Sider). Pour a little cooked Jameed on top to moisten. Then Pour the cooked rice on top, and spread around to cover the serving tray. Place the meat pieces on top of the rice to cover the whole tray. Then top with the toasted nuts. I personally add cooked minced meat on top of it all, as I find that it tastes delicious with the rice, and also looks fab! Pour a little cooked Jameed on top of the meat and cover all with another layer of Shrak bread to keep warm and steaming. Pour the Jameed in a large bowl, to ladle over the rice as you serve.

Serve immediately! Goes great with spring onions, and assorted pickles (cauliflower, turnip and lemon chili pickles)…

 

Ramadan Kareem!

 

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