Jordanian cuisine has its roots in Bedouin cooking. Simple preparations and common dishes with other Middle Eastern countries like mazza to start a meal (mezze in other Levant countries) is not uncommon. The Epicurious Kids were excited to venture into the tradition rich Jordanian kitchen and it was quickly decided to prepare the most important dish in a Jordanian culture: Mansaf or Mensef. The preparation was simple enough, lamb pieces cooked in yoghurt and served over rice on a flat bread.
The national dish of Jordan, feasting on Mansaf is taken seriously and hours are spent in its preparation. Mostly the cooking time requires slow and gentle heat, taking over an hour of careful mixing. Preparing the ingredients was simple enough, the Epicurious Kids were only stumped by the jameed, dried yoghurt on the list, even I have never heard of this. So we improvised and thanked technology for refrigeration and picked a regular greek yoghurt instead.
Whenever onions need to be sliced, chopped or cut, Tristan decided it would be his teary task to take over. “This would only make me immune to all the crying, mommy,” he bravely stated. “And I will be in-charge of the cutting and peeling,” declared Inigo usefully. At this point, the kids have honed certain kitchen skills in their short time going through their challenge. I told them that they need to master all aspects of the kitchen, they need to be good at everything.
After some quite concentration, and dedicated gentle stirring, the meat was done. “This was easy!” declared Inigo. Tristan said that it probably was because they had to cook it moving from one place to another, like nomads. “But it is better than sandwiches on the road!” insisted Inigo.
A large serving plate was then covered with a doughy flat Arabic bread and dampened with yoghurt. On top of this, Inigo heaped a layer of rice. The meat is then piled on top. Tristan then sprinkled almonds and pine nuts over the dish. Ready to serve!