Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Walima Fifth Challenge - Representing the Jordanian Cuisine

Jordan (Arabic: الأردنّ‎ al-'Urdunn), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, is an Arab country in Southwest Asia spanning the southern part of the Syrian Desert down to the Gulf of Aqaba. It shares borders with Syria to the north, Iraq to the north-east, the West Bank and Israel to the west, and Saudi Arabia to the east and south. It shares control of the Dead Sea with Israel, and the coastline of the Gulf of Aqaba with Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. Much of Jordan is covered by desert, particularly the Arabian Desert; however the north-western area, with the Jordan River, is regarded as part of the Fertile Crescent. The capital city of Amman is in the north-west.
During its history, Jordan has seen numerous civilizations, including such ancient eastern ones as the
Canaanite and later other Semitic peoples such as the Edomites, and the Moabites. Other civilizations possessing political sovereignty and influence in Jordan were: Akkadian, Assyrian, Judean, Babylonian, and Persian empires. Jordan was for a time part of Pharaonic Egypt, the Hasmonean Dynasty of the Maccabees, and also spawned the native Nabatean civilization which left rich archaeological remains at Petra. Cultures from the west also left their mark, such as the Macedonian, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Turkish empires. Since the seventh century the area has been under Muslim and Arab cultures, with the exception of a brief period when the west of the area formed part of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem and a short time under British rule.

Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a constitutional monarchy with representative government. The reigning monarch is the head of state, the chief executive and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The king exercises his executive authority through the prime ministers and the Council of Ministers, or cabinet. The cabinet, meanwhile, is responsible before the democratically elected House of Deputies which, along with the House of Notables (Senate), constitutes the legislative branch of the government. The judicial branch is an independent branch of the government.

Our Savoury Dish is the Mansaf the national dish of Jordan : lamb seasoned with aromatic herbs, sometimes lightly spiced, cooked in yoghurt, and served with huge quantities of rice. Feasting on Mansaf is taken seriously, and hours are spent in its preparations.
Mansaf is cooked in jameed (the Arabic word for dried yoghurt), which is then mixed with water in a tray to produce a creamy sauce. This is poured into a large stewing pot with chunks of lamb meat. The pot is put over an open fire. As the stew begins to warm, it is stirred to prevent the yoghurt from separating.

If you visit Summer's Blog http://www.mimicooks.com/ she has a posting about the Jordanian Mansaf and a video of a Jordanian lady preparing the Mansaf Dish.

Large trays are covered with the doughy flat Arabic bread and dampened with yogurt. On top of this, a layer of rice is heaped. The meat is then piled on top. Almonds, pine-kernels and other nuts may be sprinkled over the dish, which is then ready for serving.

2 Large containers of plain Greek Yogurt
1 kg of lamb meat preferable with bones for more flavour or lamb shanks
Water to boil meat
1 small onion
Cumin, turmeric and any other spices to flavour the lamb
Arabic flat bread (optional)
3 cups jasmine rice
Silvered almond
Pine nuts
1 1/2 Cups butter
1:in a large pot before turning on the heat mix the yogurt.
2: Bring it to boil on high heat , make sure while you cooking the yogurt you are constantly stirring yogurt with a wooden spoon (VERY IMPORTANT) in one direction only. If you started stirring to the left you must keep stirring that way until yogurt starts to boil..
3: Once yogurt boil turn heat off..
4: in another pot cover pieces of lamb with water
5: add small onion.
6: Boil until lamb is tender, skimming the top
7. Remove the lamb meat and strain the broth to remove any small particles.
8: add about 2-3 cups of the broth to the cooked yogurt.
9: add salt to taste and if not tart enough you may add juice from about 1/2 a lemon.
10: add lamb meat to the yogurt and broth mixture (make sure to remove the onion) and let boil one more time.
11: cook rice with 1 cup of butter
12: brown almonds and pine nuts in remaining butter.
When serving put Arabic bread and wet it with some yogurt, then add rice and meat in individual plates and spread cooked yogurt and slivered nuts over it.

Our Dessert Recipe is the Kunafa with sweet cheese.. if you cannot the Naboulsi or Akawi Cheese in your local store, for sure feel free to use Mozzarella Cheese mixed with Ricotta, also you can use fresh Mozzarella which I find it the best for dessert Another name for fresh Mozzarella I find in Canada is the Boccoccini Cheese they are small Mozzarella Balls soaked in water comes in plastic containers.
The recipe is taken from Summer‘s Sweet Blog, it includes a video which shows step by step instructions


  1. salam arlette
    it will be a very nice challenge from jordanian cuisine and a new experience too. I like mansaf & i've already seen it in summer blog
    thanks arlette

  2. Great work Arlette...i guess i will not make either recipes because they are already on my bolgs, but i will republish them towards the end of this month. have a great day

  3. i love middle eastern cuisine having lived in syria for many years..would love to try these out

  4. Sounds like an incredible feast! I'd be interested to learn more about Arabic flat bread.

  5. hi
    i'm french and i love your site
    i love middle eastern cuissine