Jordanian Cuisine


Located in the Middle East, Jordan is northwest of Saudi Arabia, east of Israel, and south of Syria and Iraq.  The land is mostly a desert plateau in the east and a highland area in the west. The desert region is dry and arid and the western highlands have a rainy season from November to April.
Since biblical times, the area came under the control of various powers :- Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Jews, Greeks, Nabateans, and Romans, to name a few.
Jordanian cuisine has also influences from Syria & Lebanon, hence, a rich elaborate kitchen. The Jordanian cuisine can range from grilling to stuffing of vegetables, meat, and poultry.

The national dish of Jordan is Mansaf, a lamb seasoned with herbs, lightly spiced, cooked in yoghurt and served with huge quantities of rice. Mansaf is a Bedouin's origin dish and often symbolizes an occassion.
Traditionally, the stew is scooped up with a piece of pita bread or right hand fingers.
Stuffed Baby Lamb is a popular dish in Jordan. A roasted lamb stuffed with rice, onions, nuts and raisins.  Musakhan is steamed chicken in olive oil & summak sauce. Fuul is a paste of fava beans, garlic, and lemon. Lentils, adas in Arabic, are a common ingredient in Jordanian dishes. Okra is very popular vegetables in Jordan, as well as in other countries in the region. Okra, known in Arabic as bamia, is widely used in a thick stew made with vegetables and meat.

Most popular in Arabic cuisine, are the appetizers, also known as mezze. On most occasions, the mezze could be considered a meal in itself.

Salads are an important side dish and a meal is finished with dessert or fresh fruits.

Last but not least comes the famous coffee without which no meeting, formal or informal is complete. Coffee is often served only a few drops at a time and is heavy with the fragrance of cardamom seeds. 

Traditionally It is poured from a long- handled copper coffee pot into a cup. When a guest's cup is empty, it is automatically refilled, only when the guest has drunk enough and he has tipped the empty cup from side to side, does the host cease offering.


Bread is eaten with every meal either dry or as a dip. There is a variety of tastes and textures to the flat bread, aka Khoubz in Jordan , depending on how the bread is baked, but most is round and flat.

To name some, one can find the Khoubz Sh'rak, a large thin, round, unleavened bread . Taboun, a thick, leavened and baked on hot rocks and Pita bread.  Ka'ik is a round ring bread covered with sesame seeds and Manaqeesh is a snack of hot bread moistened with olive oil and covered with thyme.

Tea is usually served lightly flavored with mint and heavily sugared.



3 cups plain yogurt mixed with 1 cup water
1 egg white, beaten with a fork until frothy
2 tabs cornstarch
3 teas salt 
3 Kg lamb cut into pieces
1 1/2 teas pepper
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup pine nuts 
1 onion, chopped
1 teas turmeric , 1 teas cumin , 1 teas paprika
1/2 teas cinnamon
3 cups rice, rinsed
6 cups water  
Arabic bread, toasted and broken into pcs

Place yogurt in a pot and stir in egg white, cornstarch and 1 teas of the salt, stirring continually with a wooden spoon in one direction , bring to boil over medium heat.  Lower heat to low then allow to boil uncovered until yogurt thickens about 3 minutes, continuing to stir.  Set aside but keep warm. 

Place lamb in a large pot and cover with water then bring to boil over medium heat, skimming off froth repeatedly until boiling. Add remaining salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes. 
Meanwhile, melt 4 tabs of the butter in a frying pan and sauté pine nuts until it begin to brown, pour on to a plate, draining butter back into the frying pan.

Add onion to frying pan and fry , adding more butter if necessary.  Stir in spices and stir further 2 minutes. 

Add this mixture to the boiling meat. While the meat is cooking, place the rice and water in a large saucepan then bring to boil. Turn heat to low, cover,cook for 20 minutes, stirring a number of times. Turn off heat but leave covered . Stir in remaining butter and keep warm.

After meat has been cooking for 1 1/2 hours remove lid and stir in yogurt sauce. Turn heat to low and cook until meat is tender and sauce thickens.  Remove meat and set aside, keeping warm.   Pour sauce into a bowl and keep warm. On a large platter place rice , place meat evenly over rice.  Spoon some of the sauce over top then sprinkle with pine nuts and serve. 

9 large onions
4 thin bread (can be sunstitute with pita)
500 ml of Frying oil
2-3 chicken
salt, pepper, summak, allspice
Clean chicken and cut it into 4 - 6 pieces each. Cut 4 onions to small pieces. Fry it in one Tab oil until golden. Add the chicken and turn it over in the pot adding salt, pepper, and allspice to taste. Cover with water and cook until tender. Cut 3 onions into medium size pieces. Deep-fry the onions until golden. After the chicken is done, remove the pieces from the water and place in a grilling pan, adding onion with salt, pepper, and summak. Grill in the oven.
To prepare the bread, spread the fried onions and oil evenly on the bread. Place the chicken over the bread. Sprinkle with summak. .
Shwarma Sandwiches

½ Kg' lamb meat, cut into strips

½ Kg'  chicken breast, cut into strips

½ teas  each cinnamon, cumin, black pepper, salt

3 cloves garlic, minced

1chopped onion

½ cup lemon juice

½ cup red wine vinegar

6 pita bread

2 tomatoes, chopped

6 slices pickled eggplant (optional)

3 serrano or jalapeסo chiles, stems and seeds removed, chopped


Place the meat in a glass bowl. In another bowl, combine the spices, salt, garlic, onion, lemon juice, and vinegar, stir well, and pour it over the meat. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Drain the meat from the marinade and pat dry. Grill the meat over a hot charcoal or gas fire until done, about 10 minutes, turning often. Divide the meat into the pita bread sections, add tomatoes, pickled eggplant if using and the chiles. You can top it with tahini sauce.

Lentil Soup
1 cup of lentils  (any color)
1  carrot
1 tomato
1 potato
5 garlic cloves
2 tabs butter
2 tabs double cream 
1 cup of chicken broth
1 teas cumin
salt and pepper

Peel vegetables and chop into medium size pieces. Wash lentils very well several times and drain. Fill a medium pan with water, bring to boil over high heat. Add lentils, carrot, tomato, potato and garlic. Leave to boil. 

When all vegetables are tender pour all components of pan in a blender. Blend well then strain in a medium bowl. In a medium deep pan, heat butter over medium-high heat. Stir in double cream for about 1 minute.
Add strained vegetable mix, chicken broth, salt, pepper and cumin. Leave to boil for about 5 minutes. If texture of soup is thick, add more broth or water.
Okra Stew
1/2 kg' okra, remove heads
1/4 kg' lamb cut to pcs

1 chopped onion

4 chopped tomatoes
1 can tomato
some from each: salt, peppr, cumin, coriander seeds, turmeric
3 chopped cloves garlic
Brown lamb with some oil on all sides. Add onions, spices (beside the salt) and garlic. Mix well and add the tomatoes. Let it cook on med. heat covered. Add the water when the tomatoes are soft. Simmer for 15 min or so, then add okra, tomato paste and salt.
Cook slowly . Serve with rice.
Recipe Index