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Traditional Mansaf Recipe

Mansaf is the national dish of Jordan and I can understand why. This Bedouin dish is fantastic and is a compliation of several recipes plus my own tweaks. Mansaf is served on a large serving platter over khubz (Arabic flatbread) and rice. It is meant to be eaten communally, as part of a social event. Guests gather around the table and enjoy mansaf, eaten with the finger tips of the right hand.

Chill: 4 hours | Prep: 15 minutes | Cook: 2-1/2 hours | Serves: 6-8



  • 2 pounds lean lamb, 1-1/2 inch cubes, beef can be substituted
  • ½ cup clarified butter, in all, use samna or ghee if available, or make your clarified butter (see clarified butter note)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cups plain Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon coriander (see spices note below)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom
  • ½ cup whole blanched almonds
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 4-6 loaves of khubz (Arabic pita-type bread)
  • 3 cups of prepared long-grain rice
  • parsley or chives, chopped for garnish


  1. Wash meat cubes and place in tray with lid. Cover meat with water, cover tray and place in refrigerator for 4-8 hours.
  2. Melt ¼ cup of the clarified butter in heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Drain and pat dry meat cubes. Place in skillet and cook for 20 minutes until browned on all sides. Season meat with salt and pepper, to taste, and add enough water to cover meat. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 1 hour.
  3. Add onion and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
  4. While meat and onion are cooking, place yogurt in a large saucepan and whisk over medium heat until liquid. Whisk in egg white and ½ teaspoon of salt. Slowly bring yogurt mixture to boil stirring constantly with a wooden spoon in one direction only to reach desired consistency. Reduce heat to low and allow yogurt to softly simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
  5. Stir yogurt into meat and add seasonings as desired. Simmer gently for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, as needed.
  6. In a small skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the remaining 4 tablespoons of clarified butter. Add almonds and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in pine nuts and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  7. Split the khubz loaves open and arrange, overlapping on a large serving tray. Melt the last remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and brush over the khubz to soften. Arrange rice over the khubz leaving a well in the center of the rice. Spoon the meat into the rice well and then spoon the butter and nuts over the meat. Sprinkle parsley or chives over top.

Note on clarifying butter: Clarified butter is necessary for frying since it doesn’t burn.
One stick (or 1/2 cup of butter) will yield about 6 tablespoons of clarified butter. So for this recipe, you will need to clarify approximately 3/4 cup of butter. Following is a simple clarification method. It’s not perfect, but easy and close enough. Slowly melt a stick of butter. Remove from heat and allow butter to cool undisturbed for 10 minutes to separate. You will notice a white foam on the top, the clarified butter in the center, and milk solids at the bottom. Carefully, skim the foam off the top and discard. Slowly pour the clarified butter off the milk solids into a measuring cup. Discard, the separated solids.

Note on spices: For a more authentic Bedouin flaver add the following spices:

  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon of cloves
  • 2 teaspoons of nutmeg

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