Mansaf / منسف‎

We love mansaf! After months of traveling and living in the Middle East, we take every opportunity to teleport ourselves to this land of rich flavors, beautiful scents, hot desert winds, and incredible art. There is no better way to do so than by eating some delicious food! Mansaf, as one of Jordan’s must-eats, is one of the dishes we miss most. Here is the recipe we use to bring back the memories of this wonderful Bedouin country.

Mansaf Recipe


1 kilogram of lamb on the bone
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon cardamom pods, crushed
1 teaspoon whole cloves
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tbsp black peppercorns
Water (dependent on how wide your pan is)
2 cups of Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 handful fresh mint, chopped

Roasted Nuts:

½ cup almonds, skins removed
½ cup pine nuts
1 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)


2 cups basmati rice, washed
½ teaspoon ground saffron
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon of sea salt
3 cups of water

For Serving:

1 piece of markouk bread (optional, tastes great even without it)
1 handful of fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup dried currants
salt and pepper


Stage 1 – Beginning the Mansaf Meat & Broth

  1. Start by fileting pieces of lamb meat from off the bone, but keep the bone for cooking. Pre-season the lamb with salt and pepper
  2. Take a large pot over medium-high heat and add a dash of olive oil
  3. Once hot, start with your onion and garlic. Saute for several minutes for 1-2 minutes as they start to sweat and become fragrant
  4. Next, add your lamb. Move your onions and garlic to the side so as to let your lamb directly hit the heat of the bottom of the pan. Sear your lamb for 4-5 minutes as it starts to brown
  5. As the lamb browns, add your cumin, cloves, cardamom, bay leaves, and cinnamon stick. Stir well for 30 seconds to get the spices well integrated into the lamb, onions, and garlic
  6. Then, add enough water to the pot so as to cover all your ingredients. Bring the heat to high and bring the entire pot to a boil. As the water boils, a white froth will come to the top of your boiling liquid. Scoop this liquid out with a spoon as much as you can
  7. After 2-3 minutes of boiling and fishing out the froth, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover your pot. Simmer everything together for at least 1 hour

Stage 2- the Rice and nuts

  1. Grind the saffron with a pinch of salt in the mortar and pestle
  2. Pour a bit of hot but not boiling water over the saffron
  3. As the flavors of the saffron come alive, take a small pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil
  4. When the water is boiling, pour your rice into the pot along with the warm saffron water
  5. Stir the rice and saffron water around in the boiling water until the entire pot has a nice orange hue to it
  6. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, then add the salt and butter, cover and let the rice simmer for 20 minutes
  7. While the rice cooks, take a pan over medium heat and add a tablespoon of butter. Once the butter is hot, lower your heat and add your pine nuts and skinned almonds
  8. Continually toss the nuts around as they start to toast, which should take about 3-4 minutes. As you toss and toast, sprinkle your cinnamon over the nuts if you wish to add it
  9. When the nuts have browned slightly and roasted, take off the heat and set aside
  10. After 20 minutes, uncover and fluff your rice. Re-cover and let the rice steam further until the rest of the Mansaf is ready

Stage 3 – the Yogurt Sauce

  1. After at least an hour of simmering, pour your pot of what has now become a lamb broth through a colander into a large bowl
  2. From the colander, fish the pieces of lamb pieces out and place back into the pot
  3. Add ½ of the strained stock back into the pot and bring the pot back to a simmered heat
  4. Take a separate pot over low heat and add a mixture of your Greek yogurt and remaining strained stock. Stir well so as to evenly heat the yogurt and to mix it well with the stock to create a thickened liquid
  5. Once heated, pour the yogurt liquid into the larger pot with the lamb and mix well through. Simmer for 10 minutes
  6. Finally, take the pot off the heat and add in your mint and stir well

Finally, sprinkle the roasted nuts and fresh parsley over the mansaf. And you’re done! Enjoy!

a bowl of Mansaf

The original recipe comes from this site.

Check out our article about How is Chocolate Made?