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  • Mansaaf

    (Very well known dish in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon)

    Spiced Lamb in yogurt

    1.5 kilo(3 lbs) lamb shoulder on the bone (have them cut it into serving pieces)
    fresh ground black pepper
    1/4 cup samneh or ghee(clarified butter)
    1/4 cup snoober (pine nuts)
    1 large onion, chopped
    1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
    1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
    1 small piece of cinnamon bark or cassia
    1 quantity Laban Mutboukh (recipe at bottom of this post)

    Place the lamb in a pot and just cover with cold water. Bring to a boil slowly, and skim off the foam (this is blood and must be removed to be halal). When well skimmed and boiling, add salt and pepper to taste, and cover, simmering about 30 mintues.
    Heat the samneh and add pine nuts. Saute until golden, remove, draining the samneh from the pan.
    Add onion and fry gently until transparent. Stir in turmeric, allspice and cinnamon bark, and cook another 2 minutes. Add this mix to the simmering lamb.
    Meanwhile make Laban Mutboukh and set aside.
    After lamb has cooked about 1 hour, remove lid and let liquid reduce to half.
    When reduced, add laban Mutboukh, shaking pan to blend it evenly. let Mansaaf simmer gently on low heat until the meat is tender and sauce thickens. If sauce must be stirred, do it carefully in one direction. Adjust seasoning to taste and remove cinnamon.
    Pile Mansaaf on a platter and spinkle with the pine nuts. Served usually with hot cooked rice. To serve in the traditional way, line a platter with split hkoubiz (arabic bread), and pile on the rice, covering this with the lamb and yougurt mixture. Sprinkle with pine nuts.

    Serves 6
    takes about 2 hours to make.

    Laban mutboukh
    (cooked yogurt)
    2 cups yogurt
    1 egg white
    2 teaspoons cornflower
    1 teaspoon salt

    Place the yogurt in a heavy pan.
    Beat the egg white until frothy and blend into the yogurt with the cornflower and salt. Stir in the same direction until well mixed.
    Place the pan over medium heat, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon for best flavor. Heat until it begins to boil, stirring.
    Lower heat and leave to simmer gently, uncovered about 3-5 mintues or until thick. Use as required.

    Note: in Jordan they use a yogurt called jameed, which is a dry yogurt ball that must be soaked and softened in water. Since this is expensive and difficult to find in most other countries, the Laban Mutboukh is an excellent substitute for the jameed.
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