This week we continue our culinary journey looking at more tasty treats from Jordan!
A Jordanian Breakfast
The best way to start the day – a feast fit for a king! A selection of different mezze style dishes served with fresh warm bread and usually a cup of sweet mint or sage tea. Just a small selection of the sort of things that could feature are:
Hummus – chick pea puree mixed with tahini (sesame paste), lemon juice and garlic
Ful (or ‘Fool’)– similar to hummus but with mashed flava beans instead of chick peas
Cheese – usually feta or haloumi, but could be anything equally as salty.
Lebnah – a thick creamy mild soft cheese
Eggs – Usually scrambled and served omelette style.
Falafel – deep fried balls of chick peas.
Most of the above will be drizzled in olive oil and maybe a little mild chilli, with more olive oil on the side perfect for dipping the fresh shraak or flat bread in.
Food on the go!
If you still have room after all that breakfast make sure you check out the wide variety of street food particularly in Amman, Madaba and Aqaba. Small stalls and shops line the streets offering everything from shawerma – chicken or lamb wraps – filled with tahini and salad or pickled vegetables to pastries stuffed with spinach, potatoes or minced meat.
To go with all these snacks there are lots of places that sell fresh fruit juice – freshly squeezed to order! Also fresh sugar cane juice – this has been around in the middle east since the time of the Pharaohs who used to drink it for its potential health benefits. But recently thanks to one stall in Amman it has become popular once again with the locals. Definitely something unique to try when in down town Amman.
It’s a well known fact that Jordanians have a sweet tooth. In fact, it would be unthinkable to end a meal in Jordan without some kind of sticky, sweet dessert. Some believe it is due to the naturally high sugar content in dates that gave the ancient Bedouin a taste for sweets. But history tells us it was the spread of the Ottoman Empire that really started the sugar rush in the Levant.
At the heart of the Ottoman Empire, the chefs of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul combined paper-thin filo pastry, syrup, nuts and dried fruit to create Baklava. The sweets quickly spread throughout the empire, with each region gradually putting its own spin on the original. Jordan today is mix of all these cultures, so the sheer variety of sweets available is incredible.
Photos below from left to right……
Baklava: a rich, sweet pastry made out of filo pastry, filled with pistachios and drenched in sweet honey or syrup.
Knafeh: A sweet pastry soaked in rose-water syrup, made with layers of shredded dough on top of akkawi cheese and fresh cream, topped with a sprinkle of pistachio nuts.
Ma’moul: A shortbread type pastry usually filled with dates, pistachios or walnuts
Um Ali: A type of bread pudding cooked with raisins, dates, nuts, rose water, milk and heavy cream.