Mansaf, the national dish of Jordan, translates to “explosion” in English, and it sure does resemble an explosion in display and flavor. To make mansaf, layers of thin bread and rice are topped with a fermented garlic-yogurt sauce, that’s prepared using lamb broth and prepared with slow-cooked lamb and fried cauliflower. Growing up, mansaf was almost always served at any celebratory gathering—it’s that good!


Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes


Fermented Garlic Yogurt Sauce

  • 1 head cauliflower (cut into florets)
  • 4 lbs lamb shoulder (bone-in, cut into cubes)
  • 2 lbs whole milk plain yogurt (I use the Mountain High brand)
  • 1 packet jameed soup starter (smaller one, if you find multiple sizes)
  • 1 white onion (cut in half)
  • 8 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tbs cornstarch
  • 1 tbs vinegar
  • 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbs avocado oil
  • 3 loaves pita bread (cut up into small pieces)


  • 3 cups jasmine rice
  • 1 ½ tbsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbs avocado oil


  • almonds (chopped and fried)
  • parsley (chopped)


Prepare Lamb

  • Fill a large pot ¾ of the way with water
  • Add vinegar and lamb and set the stove on high heat
  • In the meantime, boil water in your water boiler (enough water to cover the lamb in the pot)
  • Once the water in the pot reaches a boil and there's a layer of fat floating at the top, drain the pot of water and meat into a colander
  • Rinse the pot out and place the meat back in the pot
  • Pour the boiling water from the water broiler onto the meat and add in both halves of the onion
  • Cover the pot and set it on low heat for about 45 minutes or until the lamb is cooked

Prepare Cauliflower

  • You can fry, air fry, or roast the cauliflower—I prefer to air fry or roast
  • If air frying or roasting, coat the cauliflower florets in olive oil and set your oven to 350 degrees F for 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is golden

Prepare Yogurt

  • Once the lamb is ready, pour the jameed soup starter packet and 1 ½ cup of your lamb broth to a high speed blender and blend
  • Then, add half of the container of yogurt to the blender and blend again
  • Once combined, pour yogurt mixture into a pot and turn the stove on high heat
  • Once the yogurt mixture reaches a boil, add the cornstarch and the remaining yogurt and mix using a whisk
  • In a small frying pan, sauté the minced garlic in olive oil and add to the pot of yogurt sauce
  • Continue to mix the yogurt sauce using a whisk until everything is well combined and has the consistency of a sauce
  • Add the lamb and cauliflower to the yogurt sauce and lower the stove top to low heat
  • Cover the pot and allow the sauce to simmer for 30 minutes


  • In a mixing bowl, combine 1 tbsp salt and rice
  • Cover the rice with hot water and let it soak for 30 minutes
  • Once the rice has soaked, drain and rinse using a colander
  • Boil water in a water boiler
  • Once the water has boiled, add 1 tbsp avocado oil to a pot and turn the stove on high heat
  • Once the oil is hot, add the rice to the pot and combine with the oil
  • Pour the boiling water over the rice (enough water so that the water rises about ¼ inch above the rice)
  • Mix in turmeric and 2 tsp of salt into the rice
  • Once the water reaches a boil, lower the stove to low heat and cover the pot
  • Cook for about 10 – 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked through


  • Layer a large serving tray with the pita bread
  • Pour some yogurt sauce onto the bread
  • Place a layer of rice over the bread
  • Place lamb and cauliflower all over the rice
  • Pour more yogurt sauce all over the tray of bread, rice, lamb, and cauliflower
  • Top with fried almonds and chopped parsley
  • Place the additional yogurt sauce in separate bowls for serving

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Baking these takes me back to the time Tariq and I were walking through Bab el-Amood and we…

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