Mansaf is a traditional dish from the Levant or Bilad Al-Sham made of lamb cooked in a sauce of fermented dried yogurt (i.e. jameed), served with rice or bulgur, garnished with roasted blanched almonds and herbs (parsley). It is the national dish of Jordan, and can also be found in Palestine, Syria and parts of Saudi Arabia and Iraq influenced by this cuisine due to proximity. The name of the dish comes from the term "large tray" or "large dish".
- 2 large containers of Jameed
- 6 pounds of lamb chunks (with bone preferred)
- 1 diced onion
- 2 Tbsp butter
- Almond slices
- Pine nuts
- 4 cups white rice
- 1/2 dozen Syrian (flat) pita bread
- 2 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 ground cardamon pods
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- Black pepper, salt to taste
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- Minced garlic
- 1/2 Tbsp turmeric
- Bunch of Parsley
Mansaf is made in three steps, preparing the lamb, preparing the Jameed and preparing the rice.
Prepare the Lamb
Put the lamb chunks preferably with the bones (have the butcher cut the lamb shoulder into boned chunks) into a pot of water. Make sure the lamb is covered.
Add olive oil and spices. Boil the lamb up to two hours or until the lamb is fork tender.
Prepare the Jameed
You can purchase pre-made Liquid Jameed from us at QualityGrocers.com. Put in a pot and stir constantly. Bring to a boil, and then bring the flame down to a low heat and continue stirring. It takes about 60 minutes to properly prepare the Jameed sauce.
Prepare the rice
Mix the rice, water, olive oil, half the diced onion (with the remainder to be added to the rice after it is cooked). Add turmeric to the rice (gives it its yellow color). Add salt to taste. Add a pinch of Saffron.
When the rice and meal is near completion, add 2 Tblspns olive oil to a small frying pan and grill the pine nuts and/or almond slivers until brown.
Drain stock from lamb (juices from the lamb pot) and mix into the Jameed; add spices. Boil 10 minutes. Remove the cooked lamb and place on the side.
On a large round platter, lay the Pita Bread.
Use some of the Jameed-based stock to soak the bread, which will be the base of the presentation dish. (You want the bread to become soft but not too soupy).
Place the cooked rice on top of the Syrian Bread forming a pyramid. Sprinkle the freshly browned pine nuts and/or almond sliver around on top of the rice. Garnish with chopped parsley.
Place the jameed-based stock, hot, in a side bowl.
Place lamb either in a separate dish or on the side of the rice.
In Bedouin cultures, the meat is placed on the rice and the bedouins will eat the rice and the meat together with their hands. In Western Arab cultures, the rice is served on a plate with bread from the serving pan. Lamb meat is placed in the dish and the entire lamb and rice is covered in jameed sauce, spooned from the jameed serving plate.
Sahtein! (Enjoy the meal)