A Taste of Jordan

After a few recent technical difficulties we are happy to announce that our blog is now up and running again!

And our weekly posts all about the magnificent country of Jordan are back! This week as an introduction to our new Culinary Tours we are looking at some of the delightful tastes and treats found around the kingdom and suggest were is the best places for you to try it. If you have visited Jordan before you will know just how much variety of food there is and that each dish is as delicious as the next – a true foodie paradise! But as there is so much to talk about I have had to split the blog in to 2 parts!

Note of caution!! This post may not be suitable reading when hungry!!

A Taste of Jordan -part 1

In Jordan food is not just a necessity to sustain life- but is often a grand social event. Most meals are shared by large groups of family or friends and enjoyed communally from one large platter. Servings are usually large and generous, as food is probably one of the most important symbols of the famous Jordanian hospitality.

 

Mansaf

Jameed, mansaf, karakThe national dish of Jordan – lamb cooked in Jameed and served on top of a bed of rice and shrak bread, garnished with pine nuts.

Most tourists turn their nose up at the idea of Jameed, but once they try it, not many refuse a second helping! Jameed is fermented yoghurt traditionally produced from sheep’s milk. It is dried out to form a hard white stone – useful when living in the desert with no refrigerator! To prepare, it is then broken up and added to the lamb stock to make a rich, slightly salty sauce.mansaf, jordan, karak, lamb and rice dish

Mansaf is usually the dish served on special occasions such as weddings, births and festivals or simply to honour a guest. Traditionally it is eaten in true communal Bedouin style, from one large platter with everyone standing around the dish with left hand behind the back and using the right hand to eat with.

Best place to try Mansaf – Karak. You can visit the local communities and see how they prepare the Jameed for storage and cooking then join them for a meal.

Maqlubah

maqlubah, rice, chicken and vegetables, jordan food, Maqlubah translates to ‘upside-down’ – chicken or lamb cooked in a pot together with fried vegetables and rice and turned ‘upside -down’ to serve.

Traditionally a dish from Palestine, it is usually served with  wide range of vegetables – tomatoes, green peppers, cauliflower, aubergines, potatoes, onions and garlic, al of which are deep fried first to give them a golden brown colour. They are then layered on the bottom of the pan, followed by the cooked meat or chicken, then the rice. The stock is then added to cook the rice. Once ready the pan is turned upside down so the golden colour of the vegetables is now on the top. Usually served with yoghurt or a simple salad.

Best Place to try Maqlubah – this is a very popular dish right across Jordan and can be found in most traditional Jordan restaurants. However, there it always tastes better when home made so why not try a cooking class in Amman, Petra or Aqaba, join in with the local family and learn to cook it yourself.

 

Sayyadiya

sayyadiah, fish and rice, aqaba food, seafood, traditional jordan foodAlso known as ‘Aqabawi mansaf’ – Fish served in a caramelised onion sauce over a bed of rice, garnished with pine nuts and green peppers.

Aqaba is Jordan’s only sea side town so it makes sense that this fish dish is a speciality of the city. Saayadiya originated at a time when the fishermen would bring home left overs from the market, however today it is most often eaten on special occasions and family gatherings. The fish is marinated in spices before being sautéed in the caramelised onion sauce giving it a sweet and nutty flavour. Usually served with a parsley and tahini (sesame paste) sauce.

 

Best Place to try Saayadiya – Aqaba – many local restaurants near the harbour offer fresh fish served in this traditional way.

 

Zarb

Wadi Rum, Jordan Zarb dinnerA true Bedouin tradition – meat, vegetables and rice cooked in an ‘underground oven’.

A hole is dug in the sand and lined with a metal barrel. Wood and charcoal is then used to light a fire in the bottom. Once the fire has burned out and the hot embers are left a metal stand loaded with the food is lowered in to the barrel. The food is then covered with a lid, a blanket and then buried in the sand.

After a few hours the food is dug up and served with side salads and yoghurt.

Best Place to try Zarb – Wadi Rum. most camps will prepare a zarb dinner when guests stay overnight in the desert.

 

Next week we will continue our foodie theme and have a look at breakfasts, sweets and drinks!