Mansaf

 
 Mansaf is 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.

Ingredients:
  Sauce Ingredients:
  Garnish:
  Preparation:
 
  1. Saute the lamb in the semne, sprinkle some salt and pepper and 1/2 teaspoon spices.
  2. When the lamb cubes are little bit browned, remove them from the pan and cook the onions until softened in the same semne.
  3. Return the meat to the pan, sprinkle with the remaining spices, and cover with water.
  4. Keep them until they boil, then cover and keep until the meat gets well-done(about 2 hours).
  5. Remove the foam and drain off all but 1/2 cup of broth.
  6. Stabilize the yoghurt by dissolving the cornstarch in the water then adding it to the yoghurt, slowly bring it to the boil, stirring in one direction only, reduce the flame and keep it uncovered for 3 minutes.
  7. Pour it slowly into the pot of meat.
  8. Add the parsley and keep it over very low heat for a few minutes to blend the spices.
  9. Sprinkle some salt and pepper if you want, and add a bit more broth if desired.
  10. Toast the bread by putting it into a hot oven for 2 minutes.
  11. Arrange the bread on a large platter and cover with the rice.
  12. Put the lamb pieces over the rice and pour the yoghurt sauce over all.
  13. Garnish with lots of pine nuts.
     

Remark: The original yogurt for the Mansaf recipe is called (JAMEED) but if you could not find it, you can use the yogurt recipe mentioned above instead.

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. Serve hot.