Jordanian Mansaf

        Mansaf(Arabic,ãäÓÝ ) is a Jordanian dish originating in Arabia. Today it has been adopted as the national dish of Jordan, made of lamb cooked in a sauce of fermented dried yogurt and served with rice.

Preparation: The lamb is cooked in a broth made with a fermented then dried yogurt-like product called jameed, and served on a large platter with a layer of flatbread (markookor shrak) topped with rice and then meat, garnished with almonds and pine nuts, parsley and then sauce poured over all.

Cultural role: Mansaf is served on special occasions such as weddings and births, or to honor a guest, and of course on main holidays . It is traditionally eaten collectively from a large platter in the Bedouin style, standing around the platter with the left hand behind the back and using the right hand instead of utensils.


Biblical background of Mansaf

Rice was not used in Jordan before the twentieth century, as rice is not a notional product of Jordan, it's actually imported. The Mansaf, years ago, was cooked with grounded wheat (Jarish in Arabic) and  flatbread (Shrak in Arabic).  Historical Jordanian Mansaf is based on three main local product; wheat, milk and meat. Read the following verses of Genesis 18, the food mentioned in these verses is similar to the Jordanian contemporary Mansaf.

1-  The LORD appeared to Abraham by the terebinth of Mamre, as he sat in the entrance of his tent, while the day was growing hot.

2-  Looking up, he saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them; and bowing to the ground,

 3-  he said: "Sir, if I may ask you this favor, please do not go on past your servant.

4-  Let some water be brought, that you may bathe your feet, and then rest yourselves under the tree.

5-  Now that you have come this close to your servant, let me bring you a little food, that you may refresh yourselves; and afterward you may go on your way." "Very well," they replied, "do as you have said."

 6-  Abraham hastened into the tent and told Sarah, "Quick, three seahs of fine flour! Knead it and make rolls."

7-  He ran to the herd, picked out a tender, choice steer, and gave it to a servant, who quickly prepared it.

8-  Then he got some curds and milk, as well as the steer that had been prepared, and set these before them; and he waited on them under the tree while they ate.




 Jordanian Mansaf

Each country has its national dish, which it is famous for. Jordan has a certain dish that is fantastic and extremely yummy, the Mansaf. What makes this dish special is the white sauce it is mainly made of, salted dried goat milk “Jameed”.
Jordanians are well known for their hospitality, and the Mansaf plays a big part in the hosting of guests. It is served in a big round tray, and people eat it using their bare hands, this might sound uncivilized, but it is not, it is actually part of the Jordanian tradition
which has been a characteristic of Jordanian history for years on end.

Mansaf has three basic ingredients; rice, lamb meat and goat milk.


1 kilo cooked rice "washed, boiled in water and with butter added at the end”
1 kilo lamb meat “cut in big chunks”
1 big whole onion
½ kilo liquid salted goat milk “you can buy it from the super store or a “Jordanian house” store, the product is called Jameed El-Kasih”
Pine nuts “fried”

Wash the meat and drain it until it has gotten rid of all its excess water, put it in a big pot and pour the Jameed or goat’s milk over it, add 4 as much water “2 liters” to the milk, cook it on a high fire and drop the onion in the pot. Let it boil for one hour, then lower the heat and leave the pot uncovered, stirring occasionally.
To cook properly, it needs three hours on the fire.
When done and the meat is soft and properly cooked, put the rice in a big round tray, and put the meat over it, pour some Jameed over them all and sprinkle the pine nuts all over the tray.
Pour the rest of the Jameed in a bowl and keep it on the table in case you would like to pour some more over the rice to make it soggier.

Sahtain wa 3afieh !


This page was suggested by the Mansaf gourmet Rev. Bashir Bader