World Cooking – Jordan

List Item: Cook something from every countryCountry: Jordan
Progress: 59/193

You know what, I wish every weekend was a Bank Holiday weekend. Either that or I did a job that paid enough to have one every week. It’s great to have a chance to have a chance to make more tracks with the world cooking list whilst also having a lot of time to chill, play some Sims 4 and catch up on some TV.

Anyway, today’s post we will be looking at food from Jordan. It’s one of those nations that I knew of from a young age because of my going to Anglican schools and Jordan appearing in a number of hymns. Growing up, I learned more about the many reasons that I might want to go – I mean, duh, Petra,  – but the climate and the whole being gay thing makes a visit somewhat difficult. Maybe one day though; a guy can dream.

In terms of food, Jordanian food is a member of the larger family of Levantine cuisine alongside Lebanon and Syria. This means food cooked in a number of different ways with ingredients like yoghurt, olives, onion and local spices not being too far behind. Foods that I have made for other nations (such as falafel and fattoush) are part of Jordanian cuisine, but there are a number of distinct dishes that are considered quintessentially Jordanian. Today, I tried to make what could be considered their national dish.

Main: Mansaf

The last thing that I should be doing in a day of 32 degree heat is have a pot of lamb simmering in the kitchen for nearly 2 hours. Especially when there is no wind outside to waft away any of the steam and excess heat being generated. Then again, I guess that, this being a Jordanian recipe and all, this would be the sort of weather his might be cooked in – so I shouldn’t really complain too much.

Anyway, this dish that I made today is Mansaf. Depending on where you go online, it is either billed as the national dish of Jordan or the most traditional. It’s one of those dishes that would come more under the umbrella of ‘celebration dishes’, one that represents hospitality and can be made more and more lavish depending on the occasion. I saw recipes out there that called for additional toppings and most listed saffron as essential. If saffron is on an ingredient list as a ‘must have’ you know that it’s one the more lavish side.

In making this, I followed this recipe from International Alert but I reduced the amount of toasted nuts because (with the rice, yogurt and lamb) this is quite a decadent dish. I also couldn’t find the bread she talks about so I got some good looking flatbread to act as a base instead. The spiced yogurt sauce was delicious and the lamb was so tender – it was a touch on the salty side, but the rice and the bread really absorbed a lot of that.

Speaking of the bread, having the layer of bread at the bottom and pre-softening it with some of the sauce prior to piling the other ingredients on top is just genius. By the time you get down to the bread it is just falling apart and has taken in so much flavour that it’s hard to slow down and savour it fully. As a recipe it may have made me sweat, but it was definitely worth the mild discomfort of a warm kitchen.

Right, so next time I will definitely be making food from a former Yugoslav country. I know I said that a few times before and ended up making a bunch of other county’s dishes, but this time I mean it. I have recipes in mind for Croatia, Slovenia and North Macedonia – so I just need to check out the weather next week so that I don’t end up sweating up a storm whilst making something intense.

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