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Recipe: Jordanian Mansaf

Posted on 5/7/2019 12:00:00 AM in The Buzz

When enjoying mansaf, use your right hand—never utensils—to eat from the communal tray, according to Bedouin tradition.

When it comes to food, nothing is more quintessentially Jordanian than mansaf. This national dish—which consists of heaping piles of rice topped with aromatic braised lamb, slivered almonds, and a creamy yogurt sauce—is perfect for feeding a crowd. And rightfully so: Mansaf originated with Jordan’s Bedouin population, who are well-known for their hospitality and often serve the dish during celebrations.

Traditionally, the sauce is made with jameed (dried goat-milk yogurt) which can be difficult to find in the States. While our version uses more readily available ingredients, you’ll enjoy a taste that’s just as transporting.



For the lamb:

3 pounds lamb, cubed
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1-1/2 teaspoons allspice
1-1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt and pepper (to taste)
2 cups chicken broth
4 bay leaves

For the rice:

8 cups dry basmati rice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 quarts water
1 teaspoon turmeric
Salt (to taste)

For the yogurt sauce:

8 cups Greek yogurt
2 ounces goat cheese
Milk (as needed)


2 cups of slivered almonds


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  2. Season lamb with cardamom, allspice, cumin, cinnamon, and salt and pepper. Place lamb in a Dutch oven with the chicken stock and bay leaves. Cover and braise for one hour, or until tender.

  3. While the lamb is cooking, prepare the rice. Melt the butter in a large pot and sauté the rice until it starts to turn nutty and brown. Add the turmeric, water, and salt, and bring to a boil. Then turn down the heat and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, or until the rice is soft.

  4. Add yogurt and goat cheese to a blender and puree until smooth. Pour the mixture into a pot and heat over low, adding milk intermittently until the sauce is the consistency of heavy cream. (Be careful not to let it boil, or the sauce will curdle.)

  5. When all of the components have finished cooking, assemble your mansaf. Spread the rice evenly over a large plate. Remove the cooked lamb from the braising liquid with a slotted spoon and place it on the rice. Pour the yogurt sauce over the dish. Top with slivered almonds and serve piping hot.

Serves: 8

Experience the varied cuisine of three Middle Eastern nations when you join O.A.T.’s Suez Canal Crossing: Israel, Egypt, Jordan & the Red Sea Small Ship Adventure.

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