Vegetarian version of Jordanian rice known as Mansaf. Layer of rice is topped with spiced vegetables, yogurt sauce and nuts. A hearty and delicious meal.
For Day 2 of this week's blogging marathon, I have a vegetarian version of Jordanian National dish, called Mansaf. Traditionally mansaf is made with lamb but this vegetarian version uses lots of hearty spiced vegetables.
This recipe is from 'The New Middle Eastern Vegetarian' cookbook by Sally Butcher. I bookmarked almost all of the pilaf recipes from that cookbook. Some of the Middle Eastern Pilafs are quite elaborate with lots of flavors and textures.
Jordanian Style Rice Pilaf:
In Jordan, Mansaf is eaten at every important occasion. It is made with meat, either camel or lamb. The name of the dish comes from the phrases 'large tray' or 'large dish'.
This vegetarian version of Mansaf has a layer of rice, topped with spicy vegetables and a creamy garlicky yogurt sauce. According to the author, the secret of Mansaf is the inclusion of this yogurt sauce called jameed (or laban moutboukh).
Rice is cooked with butter and is flavored with ground cinnamon, salt and pepper. Ground turmeric adds a nice tinge of color to the dish.
To make this dish hearty, it is loaded with tons of delicious vegetables that are again flavored with garlic and Middle eastern spices. Here are the veggies in this layer:
To add some protein to the dish, soy granules or tofu or beans like chickpeas can be added.
Garlic Yogurt Sauce | Laban Moutbouk | Jameed
Jameed is made with strained yogurt and is a sharp creamy sauce. It is served hot, so the yogurt needs to be stabilized. Traditionally egg white and cornstarch are added to the yogurt and cooked to avoid curdling.
But my own version uses some chickpea flour (besan) and cornstarch to ensure yogurt doesn't cuddle while cooking. Using whole milk yogurt is key, otherwise the sauce will split when heated.
Final Garnish for Jordanian Rice:
Garnishing the final dish with nuts and fresh herbs or a green salad makes all the flavors pop in the mouth.
Mansaf is served over flatbread like pita or khobez. The idea is to break off pieces of bread with your hands, pick some rice and sauce and eat it all in one big bite.
Jordanian Rice Pilaf Recipe | Vegetarian Mansaf
For the Rice Layer:
- 1½ cup Basmati Rice
- 3 tbsp Ghee/ Clarified Butter
- ½ tsp Turmeric
- ½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 2¼ cups Water
- To taste Salt
For the Vegetable Layer:
- 1 Medium Eggplant, chopped
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Onion, chopped
- 1 Medium Red/ Orange Pepper, chopped
- 1 cup Mushrooms, sliced
- 3 Garlic cloves, finely minced
- ½ tsp Ground Cumin
- ½ tsp Ground Allspice
- ¾ cup Tomato Puree
- To taste Salt & Pepper
For Garlic-yogurt Sauce (my version of laban moutboukh):
- ½ cup Full fat Yogurt
- 1 tsp Chickpea flour
- ½ tsp Corn Starch
- To taste Salt
- 1 tsp Olive oil
- 2 Garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- ½ cup Sunflower seeds or Sesame Seeds
- ½ cup Parsley, chopped
For the Rice Layer:
- Rinse the rice and drain well.
- Melt butter in a heavy bottom pan, add the drained rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid sticking to the pan.
- Next add turmeric, cinnamon, water and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and cook for 15~20 minutes or until the water is absorbed and rice is tender.
- Take the pan off the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes.
For the Vegetable Layer:
- Salt eggplant and leave it in a colander for at least 15 minutes. Squeeze out the excess water, pat dry on a clean kitchen towel and keep ready.
- Heat oil in a saute pan, add the onions, peppers, mushrooms, garlic and the eggplant. Cook the veggies for 4~5 minutes or until the onions are soft and the other veggies start to get tender. Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook till the veggies are tender.
- Next add the tomato puree, spices, salt and pepper. Cook for 3~4 minutes.
- Add ½~1cup water and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for 2~3 minutes. Turn off the heat and keep ready.
For the Garlic~Yogurt Sauce:
- Whisk chickpea flour, cornstarch and salt into yogurt. Make sure there are no lumps.
- Heat 1tsp oil in a small saucepan, add the garlic and cook till it turns golden, make sure not to burn. Remove garlic into a small bowl.
- Lower the heat and add the yogurt mixture. Keep whisking the yogurt to avoid curdling. Cook till the yogurt starts to bubble around the edges. Turn off the heat and add the reserved fried garlic.
For the Garnish:
- Dry roast the nuts till golden. Set aside.
- Pile the rice on the serving plate. Spoon the vegetables into the middle of the rice and cover with sauce. Sprinkle with the toasted nuts and serve with the chopped herbs. Serve the extra sauce on the side
- To add some protein to the dish, soy granules or tofu or beans like chickpeas can be added.
- The vegetable layer can be made up to 2 days in advance. Layer it with rice and top with the yogurt sauce just before serving.
- Heat ½ tsp oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan and saute 6 cloves of finely chopped garlic. Remove the garlic into a small bowl.
- Turn the heat to low, add 1½ cups of yogurt to the pan.
- Stir in 1 egg white, ½ tsp cornstarch and a pinch of salt, stirring continuously in the SAME direction. Don't stir the yogurt randomly, it will cause it to curdle.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for a few minutes.
- Take the pan off the heat and stir the garlic back in. Jordanian garlic-yogurt sauce is ready to serve.
Linking this to Valli’s BM# 109 and don’t forget to check out what my fellow marathoners have cooked up today.
Thank you 🙂
The recipe sounds like a one delicious one pot meal , would love to give it a try . The veggies and the yogurt all sound very interesting .
The new pictures look awesome Pavani. Btw just read that comment, wow some are really so sensitive. anyway kudos that you took it so nicely and I see you mended the recipe as well!
I haven't made pilaf in ages. Thanks for reminding me of this incredible dish. This recipe sounds amazing. So delicious... I love the spices you used. My family will love this I'm sure. Can't wait to make.
The rice pilaf recipe worth trying! Fantastic execution and the result is absolutely amazing. Can't wait to make a big bowl of it!
We love this dish for all the hearty veggies in it- but the yogurt sauce is the real winner! YUM
Looks so delicious Pavani
Rafeeda - The Big Sweet Tooth
When I read mansaf, I thought, "Isn't it non-veg?" But I am totally in love with how you have converted this recipe into vegetarian with all those hearty vegetables... In love with your clicks, makes me drool!
Flavorful rice topped with veggies, sauce and nuts looks so inviting and delicious. Learning a lot about different cuisines.