International Meals – Jordan

Full disclosure – this meal was WEEKS ago.  But I wanted to finish writing up our Japan trip, and the school year is starting, and we’re buying a condo, and we agreed to run a roller derby officiating clinic, so it’s taken a bit.

We’ve visited this part of the world, primarily while in the “I”s, so I knew where to head for the specialty ingredients we would need.  The national dish of Jordan is Mansaf, which is meat cooked with a fermented yogurt sauce.

The original type of yogurt that would have been used with this is called laban jameed, and consists of goat’s milk yogurt that’s been preserved with salt and then dried into hard balls.  These are then crumbled and reconstituted, and represent a really clever way of storing milk in a hot climate.

However, this form is challenging to locate in North America, and every source we looked at assured us that Iranian liquid Kashk is essentially the same thing, just skipping the “dried and then rehydrated” step. So we got that.


Preparation of the dish as a whole is not complicated.  You just deal with each of the parts and then put them together.  Part the first: boil some nice lamb shanks until tender.
Lamb shank
(They are not yet tender in this photo.)

Part the second, thin the yogurt with a little bit of water, bring to a low heat on the stove and add the lamb.

Yogurt on stove
It doesn’t LOOK terribly appetizing at this point, but it had a wonderful tangy fragrance.

Part the third, make rice.  We continue to ignore directions that don’t involve “put in device designed expressly for this purpose and push button.”

Finally, bread.  We just purchased it, rather than making our own this time.
Persian bread

And that’s it for prep.  Final step is to just layer everything and pour more sauce over it all.

Assembled mansaf

We didn’t just make the one dish, however – we needed an accompaniment and something to drink.  For the former, we made a Jordanian roasted eggplant dip, moutabal. It seems very similar to baba ganoush, but apparently many baba ganoush recipes do not use tahini, and this one does.

At any rate, just like hummus, the recipe is pretty simple.  Cook your vegetable, eggplant in this case.

Eggplants on a roasting tray

Then mush them up with tahini, lemon juice and salt. Bam.


And to drink, Limoana, which is basically mint lemonade. Mint, fresh lemon juice, sugar, and ice.  What’s not to like?  Unfortunately, I didn’t let the sugar syrup cool far enough, so it melted the ice.  Still tasty, but not quite the intended texture.

Lemonade in a blender.
Here’s the final spread.
Jordanian meal
This was excellent.  The tangy yogurt coating on the lamb in particular was really memorable.  The bitterness of the eggplant was offset by the tartness of the lamb and the lemonade.  No notes.

And that’s Jordan, and the Js!  Next up, Kazakhstan.

Mansaf (Lamb with yoghurt sauce)
Moutabal (Roasted Eggplant Dip)
Limoana (Mint Lemonade)

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