Mansaf is a national dish of Jordan. This traditional lamb casserole is served at celebration such as wedding banquet, graduation party, etc and holiday festive like Eid El-Fitr (or what we called Idul Fitri in Indonesia) feast.
The dish is cooked in monstrous portion to serve big crowds. I did scale down the recipe as the crowds are only three people here 🙂 Well, let me rewrite it: two adults who can really eat and another one is considered 1/4 of people for now (14-month old toddler).
The lamb is slowly cooked along with spices for 3 hours and the broth from cooking the lamb is used to cook the rice. The dish is usually topped with pine nuts and almonds. The meat literally fell off the bones from the long slow cooking. I’ve learned to like pine nuts a lot ever since I cooked the Middle Eastern dish. I like how buttery they taste and such great toppings on Mansaf. Mansaf is also traditionally accompanied by warm yogurt.
- 2 lamb shanks (1 lb each) or lamb chops
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup pine nuts
- ½ cup blanched almonds
- ½ tsp ground cardamon
- 1 tsp baharat spice mix
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups of uncooked rice
- 2 Tbsp ground cardamon
- 1 Tbsp ground black pepper
- ½ Tbsp ground allspice
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp ground dry ginger
- ½ Tbsp ground nutmeg
- Heat olive oil in a wide saucepan and fry the pine nuts until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Fry the almonds in the same oil and drain them too on paper towel
- Add the lamb shanks to the pan and seal on all sides, until the meat turns golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and save the oil
- Transfer the meat to a different pan and cover with water. Add in all the spices and cook for 3 hours (less if you are using lamb chop), or until it is very tender and almost falls off the bone. Adjust seasoning towards the end of the cooking cycle. Strain and save the cooking liquid. Keep the meat warm
- Fry the rice in the saved oil for a few minutes. Add 2½ cups of the cooking liquid, bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and cook for another 20 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed
- To serve: Spread the rice on a large serving dish and arrange the meat on top. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and almonds and serve immediately with warm yogurt