Jordan, United Arab Emirates – Mansaf

by Adelina Aida

This dish is very royal having different ingredients together on a plate. It has lamb large pieces, fermented sauce, nuts, and raisins, served with rice or bulgur. This is a very delicious dish, very popular throughout the UAE. This is a national dish of Jordan and also has many different variants. It is an Arabic dish and as we knew, Arabs have many royal dishes with the use of a huge amount of meat especially lamb meat or mutton, and dry fruits, nuts, saffron, etc. The use of butter, yogurt fermented sauce, lamb meat, rice, and nuts, are the main elements of this dish. This dish has the use of all different flavors together in one plate but these go well with each other. It has a traditional way to serve the dish, like the bread known as SHRAK, is spread at bottom of the plate then the yogurt sauce known as jameed is added and covered with rice and meat pieces.

This dish is the Specialty of JORDAN. This is also very famous in other countries like

  • Saudia Arab
  • Dubai
  • Syria
  • Palestine
  • Iran
  • Egypt
  • Kuwait


Arab cuisine is the cuisine of Arabs but is distributed among the different regions. Every region has its different and unique taste but they are having and representing the same dish with their own twist of taste. Some dishes are very old so they represent the traditional values and old traditional spices, herbs, cooking methods, cooking utensils, etc. Because os having climate changes, spices, and vegetable cultivation many affect the taste of different regions.

Different Arab regions

  • Khaleej
  • Maghreb
  • Mesopotamia
  • Bahraini Cuisine
  • Levantine cuisine
  • Bedoiun Cuisine
  • Kuwaiti cuisine
  • Medieval cuisine
  • Omani cuisine
  • Qatari cuisine
  • Yemeni cuisine

An Arabian dish made with fresh herbs, spices, and sauces describe by the poet Kushajim :

Dinars of carnelian and gold in a vessel so delicate, it may almost melt and flow.
All radiating with a luster like carnelian shimmering on pearls.
In the vessel harmoniously combined, here together and there dispersed.
The spices emitting fragrance like wine mingled with the sweet breeze.
On top are pearls and silver decked with gems,
Which the cook delicately fashioned, a gorgeous dish with flavor and perfume.
The scattered rue is flowers of turquoise gems, vibrantly green,
Jiggling with murri and olive oil, ebbing and flowing with sheen.


Mansaf is associated with Jordanian Culture and tradition because it is also the NATIONAL DISH OF JORDAN. It is cooked at special events either religious festivals, weddings, holidays, celebrations, etc. Atwa (truce) and Ja’ha (peacemaking process) are the two main events of Jordan and this dish is also very important in these events.

In the 20th Century, Joseph Massad declared this dish as the traditional and national dish of Jordan.

This dish has come up from many other dishes like first-time fish mansaf is cooked at AQABA. Then shakreyyeh is made by adding simple non-dried yogurt to the mansaf.


In the 20th century, Pastoralist Bedouin mansaf was prepared by adding Camel meat, a lot of Ghee, bread pieces, and bulgur. After some time, rice is started to add to this dish instead of bulgur, and lamb meat is used. And so many variations are made and finally, this new dish is very popular in the Arabs.


In many areas, small meat pieces are also added to this dish to make it easier to cook and eat. So this is also an option to add vegetables and meat small bite-size pieces, large pieces, meat with bone or without bone. You can add any meat you like to add, you can also make this dish as the vegetarian version of MANSAF.


Rice is one of the elements of the dish. Rice is soaked in water, this will make it easy to cook and softer. Rice of mansaf is very mild in flavors. Some salt, aromatic spices like cloves, star anise, and cinnamon with turmeric for some color is added and cooked with rice. To prevent stickiness of the rice olive oil or vegetable oil is added. Long grain rice is more appropriate for this dish.

The rice is light yellow in color because turmeric is added. We can also add saffron for the color and nice aroma to the rice in this dish.


Bulgur is also known as cereal food. It has many other names :

  • Bulgur
  • Groats
  • Riffoth
  • Burghul
  • Cracked groats
  • Parboiled groats

This is a very soft and easy-to-cook cereal. We even no need to cook, just soaked in warm water, and it’s ready. It is cooked and added to many sweet dishes and oats are also made.


Jordanian shark is wheat flat thin bread. It is also known as MARKOOK. It is usually served with mouttabal. But in this dish, this is the base of the plat. Shrak is prepared and lies down at the bottom of the plate. Then other elements are added.

The fluffy wheat dough is kneaded by adding salt and oil with flour improver and thin loaves of bread are made. It has a unique way to cook, it is cooked over the burner by direct flames to make it brown in color. This makes it very fluffy and nice in color.


Jameed is a hard, dried yogurt dip or sauce. This word JAMEED literary means HARD. It has a very thick textured and slightly sour taste. It is made from EWE or goat’s milk. After salting the yogurt when it is dense, the cloth is removed and small balls are made. It is also known by other names :

  • Strained yogurt
  • Laban
  • Greek yogurt
  • Yogurt cheese
  • Kerned yogurt
  • Sac yogurt


In this dish, large boneless pieces of meat are added, the first broth is made then this is cooked by adding herbs and some spices, etc. We can either add boneless pieces of meat with bones. If you are using meat with bones, the broth is more flavorful and rich in texture.

Traditionally used meat is :

  • Camel
  • Lamb

But we can any meat portion like

  • Fish
  • Beef
  • Chicken


There is full free hand to add any nuts and dried fruits in this dish :

  • Almonds
  • Coconut
  • Raisins
  • Cashew
  • Peanuts
  • Pinenuts
  • Pistachio
  • Walnuts
  • Dry dates


Garnish this dish with many ingredients you like but the traditional way is :

  • Parsely
  • Salted nuts
  • Jameed ( yogurt dip )


  • Boiled Eggs
  • Salad
  • Jameed sauce
  • Fried/ sauted vegetables like carrots and french beans


For rice

  1. basmati rice = 1 cup
  2. Turmeric powder = 1 tsp
  3. Olive oil = 4 tbsp
  4. Star anise = 2
  5. Cinnamon = 2 sticks
  6. Cloves = 6
  7. Fried onion = 1/4 cup

For Lamb

  1. Lamb Meat cut into Large pieces (including bones) = 2 lbs
  2. Water = 6 cups
  3. Salt = 1 tsp
  4. Cumin = 2 tsp
  5. Pepper = 1/2 tsp
  6. Arabic gums = 2 crystals
  7. Bay leaves = 2

For sauce

  1. Laban = 1 cup
  2. Water = 2 cups
  3. Salt = 1 tsp
  4. Olive oil / butter = 2 tbsp

Other serving ingredients

  1. Almonds = 1/4 cup
  2. Raisins = 1/4 cup
  3. Cashew = 1/4 cup
  4. Parsely = 1/2 cup
  5. Shrak loaves = 2 large


  1. First of all we need to cook rice and meat in different pans then assemble them in one platter with other ingredients.
  2. To cook rice, add rice in the large pot. Rice must be soaked 2 hours before if you are using long grain rice.
  3. Then add water around 4 cups with turmeirc powder, salt, whole spices, cloves, cinnamon, olive oil and then bring it to boil. When water starts boiling, add rice and cook on high heat until the water evaporates.
  4. Then low the heat and cove the lid for 10 minutes in steam, rice cooked properly.
  5. Take water of 6 glass in large cooking pan with fried onions, lamb meat, salt, pepper, bay leaves, cumin and let it cook for 30 minutes on medium high heat.
  6. The water of lamb meat must be simmering so the broth will reduced and meat cooked.
  7. When lamb meat cooked properly and broth is almost evaporated, remove the flame and its ready to assemble.
  8. Take a large platter, place two shrak loaves on the bottom.
  9. Prepared Laban is spread over the shrak and add rice over it.
  10. Now on the top place the meat pieces with thick broth left with meat so make it juicy.
  11. On top garnish it with nuts and parsely.
  12. You can add laban sauce over the top of nuts for nice color and serve this dish.
0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply