Recipe from Jordan: Mansaf

When we first met Lorraine from Not Quite Nigella, she came bearing a slice of Red Velvet cake. I was in love.

Turns out, Lorraine happens to be one of Australia’s most popular food bloggers and the author of the just released book Not Quite Nigella: How I found happiness through butter.

Lorraine also loves to travel, so we asked if she could share one of her favourite recipes from her travels with us. Over to you Lorraine.

A plate of food on a table

Hi everyone! It’s Lorraine from Not Quite Nigella here and I’m absolutely thrilled to be guest posting on Caz and Craig’s fabulous blog!

When they asked me a while back, I said yes straight away, then I pondered what to write about. After chatting to Caz, I decided to post a recipe related to travel because of course Caz, Craig and their girls are such great travellers and adventurous eaters.

I must admit that I worry a little about people who don’t have the urge to travel. I understand that travelling is something that is reliant on budgets and finances, and I separate the people that want to travel but can’t, versus the people that don’t care to travel at all.

You do occasionally meet people that think they can see all they need to from the comfort of their own armchair. That’s fine. But here are five main reasons why I love to travel:

  1. To learn more about and meet people from different cultures.
  2. To eat food from different countries.
  3. To see views or vistas that I’ve never seen before.
  4. To gain perspective on things.
  5. To learn about words like Mansaf, Huckstering and Cattywampus!

I’m sort of half kidding about the last point, although when I was in America recently we both heard the terms Huckstering and Cattywampus. My husband and I looked at each other and immediately looked up the meaning. It turns out huckstering is promoting or selling something questionable, and cattywampus is a state of disarray, not to mention one of those words that you cannot get off your tongue and we’d find ourselves randomly shouting “cattywampus!” to each other for the rest of the trip.

Mansaf, a Traditional dish from Jordan

Mansaf from Jordan

Which brings me to Mansaf, another new word for me and one that I learned on a recent trip to Jordan. (Here are the Best Things to do in Jordan in 7 days)

I love visiting the Middle East – it’s so different in sensibility to anywhere else in the world, and the people in Jordan and other parts of the Middle East that I’ve visited, like Oman and Dubai, are among the world’s friendliest.

Mansaf is the name of the national Jordanian dish, and it is a dish of meat (be it beef, lamb or chicken) cooked until fork-tender and coated in a rich yogurt sauce spiced with Baharat spices.

There is a finely ground mix of spices usually comprised of black pepper, cardamom, all spice, cassia or cinnamon, cloves, coriander, paprika and sometimes mint or rose petals.

Baharat is actually the Arabic word for spices and versions vary somewhat between areas, but the mainstay to all Baharat spice mixes is ground black pepper. Baharat is used to spice meat and fish and imparts a heady, harmonious mix of spices to the meat of your choice.

Mansaf Recipe

An Original Recipe by Not Quite Nigella:

  • 750g/1.65 lbs. beef, lamb diced or chicken in pieces
  • 2 cups rice
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds or pine nuts, toasted
  • 4 tablespoons ground almonds
  • 1 tablespoon Baharat spices
  • 400ml/14.1 fl. ozs. natural yogurt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 large round of pita  bread
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley and 1/4 pomegranate
beef pieces mansaf

The Method:

ingredients cooking on a stove
ingredients being mixed

1. In a pot, boil the meat in enough salted water to cover it for two hours. Or I use a pressure cooker on medium strength for 30 minutes to cook the meat.

2. Meanwhile, cook the rice according to directions.

3. When the meat has about half an hour to go, heat a dry frypan on medium heat. Add the ground almonds and Baharat spices and stir, toasting both until they are aromatic. Then add the yogurt and stir in one direction – I was told not to change directions or it will curdle. Add the egg and stir it through.

4. Drain the meat from the water – it should be very tender. Stir it through the yogurt mix and coat the pieces. Season with salt and ground pepper.

5. Place a piece of pita bread on a plate.

6. Top with rice and then the yogurt beef. Top with the toasted nuts and chop the parsley and add on top of this along with the pomegranate seeds.

[ybox_title]AUTHOR BIO:[/ybox_title]

Lorraine Elliott is the founder and publisher of the popular food blog Not Quite Nigella. A former Advertising Media Strategist, she began the blog in September of 2007 after repeated suggestions from friends and family. She has been blogging full time since January 2009. The blog features a new story daily with topics ranging from recipes, restaurant reviews, chef interviews, travel stories or store visits.

Her blog has 250,000 unique readers per month, and is the most popular food and travel blog in Australia. She lives in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs with her food apathetic husband and her collection of 140 pairs of shoes. She wishes that she could sing.

Why do you travel and what’s your favourite part of travelling?

18 thoughts on “Recipe from Jordan: Mansaf”

  1. I’ve never considered myself a big foodie, but I love trying new tastes while traveling. It’s one of the best ways to get to know local culture. The mansaf sounds really good.

  2. I’ve never made anything like this before. It doesn’t look too hard. It looks really good though, I may have to venture out of my box and try it sometime soon.

  3. I’ve been following Lorraine for quite a while and I feel like I’ve traveled with her from place to place. This recipe is great but I’m *almost* tempted to stir in two directions just to see if it does curdle. πŸ™‚

  4. Well I would just like to say that I am quite often in a state of cattywampus. What I love about travel are the surprises – when something is so completely different to what you thought πŸ™‚

  5. Looking at Mansaf, it appears to be interesting and delicious, a concoction of rice, yoghurt, spices, meat lying on the top of a bread, I think it could be termed as a distant cousin to Pizza, though they are lot different but concept is same, adding concoction over bread.

    Though I am a vegan, I would let this dish pass, but I think with some innovation, a vegan alternative can be prepared, replacing meat with Soy and egg with I do not know what.

  6. I am Jordanian,If you want Almansaf to be delicious ,you have to cook it with special yogurt which is made for it.
    You can cook Almansaf without adding egg .

  7. Good effort,

    i am a jordanian, and i know mansaf….i am sorry to tell you this is not mansaf for sure.

    Manasaf has to be made with Jameed which is a special kind of fermented dried yogurt
    there is no eggs involved what so ever not in any way shape or form. ground almonds i have never seen in a mansaf but i don’t see the harm.

    and pomegranates we use on mutabal or baba ganouj not on a mansaf.

    another tip is when you add the yogurt avoid closing the lid as it might separate.

    sorry if i was harsh but mansaf is like a religion to me.

    1. thanks for your great tips Omar. It’s always great to hear the local traditional way to make it. Recipes can easily be changed as they get passed around

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

4 Powerful Ways to Travel More & Create Better Memories
Want to know how we've made a lifetime of travel for 25 years? In
This is what gives us incredible memories to share around the campfire. Join our community for insider tips and updates!
Scroll to Top