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Mansaf: Jordan's National Dish

Mansaf: Jordan's National Dish

Introduction to Mansaf

Mansaf is the national dish of Jordan, a flavorful and iconic meal that represents the rich culinary heritage of the region. This traditional dish features tender lamb cooked in a tangy yogurt sauce, served over a bed of rice and garnished with nuts and herbs. Mansaf is more than just a meal; it embodies Jordanian hospitality and is often served during special occasions and celebrations.

History of Mansaf

The origins of Mansaf can be traced back to Bedouin communities in Jordan, where lamb was a prized ingredient and yogurt was a staple food. Over time, Mansaf evolved into a symbolic dish that reflects Jordanian traditions and values. It became a customary meal for gatherings, weddings, and important events, showcasing the generosity and warmth of Jordanian hospitality.

Ingredients for Mansaf

1 kg lamb, preferably with bone, cut into large pieces

2 cups plain yogurt

3 cups water

2 cups long-grain rice, rinsed and soaked

1/2 cup almonds or pine nuts, toasted

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter

1 tablespoon baharat spice mix (or use a blend of cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Chopped parsley or cilantro, for garnish

Instructions for Mansaf

In a large pot, brown the lamb pieces in ghee over medium heat until they develop a golden crust. Season with salt, pepper, and baharat spice mix.

Add water to the pot, cover, and simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the lamb is tender and falls off the bone.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt with a bit of water to create a smooth sauce.

Add the yogurt mixture to the pot with the lamb. Stir well and simmer gently for another 30 minutes, being careful not to let the yogurt curdle.

In a separate pan, sauté the sliced onion in ghee until caramelized and golden brown.

Drain the rice and cook it in salted boiling water until tender. Drain any excess water.

To serve, arrange the cooked rice on a large platter. Place the tender lamb pieces on top of the rice, then pour the yogurt sauce over everything.

Garnish with toasted almonds or pine nuts, caramelized onions, and chopped parsley or cilantro.


Mansaf is more than just a dish; it is a cultural experience that captures the essence of Jordanian cuisine. The tender lamb, tangy yogurt, and aromatic rice come together to create a feast fit for sharing and celebration. Whether enjoyed with family or served to honored guests, Mansaf reflects the spirit of Jordanian hospitality and the pride of its culinary traditions. Immerse yourself in the flavors of Jordan with this iconic and delicious dish.