Three course meal from Jordan that will tantalize your taste buds.
According to the geographical location, Jordan belongs to Levant regions; which is known for its rich culinary influence by the North Africa, the Middle East, Persia, and the Mediterranean. Jordanian cuisine caters to every need and fancy of an average foodie –from the fine diners to street food enthusiasts, from meat lovers to vegetarians and from savory bites to sweet cravings – the sky is the limit in experiencing different Jordanian dishes.
A ‘Jordanian invitation’ means that you are expected to bring nothing and eat everything. This invitation is followed by the popular Arabic phrase “Sahtain wa ‘Afiya” which literally means “we wish you good health and enjoyable meal.”
So the next time if you’re invited by your Jordanian friend, you will surely find a platter of meal including: Mansaf, Zarb, Mezze and some sweet which is a mandatory. A Jordanian meal is a multi-course meal and each course is a meal in itself. Let us look through in detail about the food options.
Mezze- the starter
A meal in Jordan begins with starters called as ‘Mezze’. A mezze is an assortment of delicacies, including breads, dips, salads and fried snacks. Jordanian food relies a lot on fresh vegetables, beans, pulses and yogurt. Mezze is never complete without bread, these bread are known as Khubz or Pita bread. Jordanian meal complies of some more bread on the list like Taboon.
To mention a few dishes Fattoush (a salad with toasted Pita bread, lettuce, tomato and cucumber), Tabbouleh (a green salad, with parsley as its core ingredient), Warak Enab (stuffed grape leaves), Hummus (a chickpea based dip), Baba Ghanoush (a roasted aborigine dip) and Falafel (mashed and fried chickpea patty).
The main course is an important part of the meal; Jordanian food shares a strong culinary bond with Arabic and Mediterranean countries, which helps create a fusion of flavor that appeals to Indian taste buds. Mujadara and Sorar are little similar to the Indian dishes. Mujadara is a lentil and rice based dish that resembles Indian Pulao, while Sorar is cooked with chicken, dried fruits and spices, resembling an ‘exotic’ take on Biryani.
Another key highlight of the Jordanian meal is Mansaf, which is made of lamb cooked in a sauce of fermented dried yogurt and served with rice or bulgur. The traditional way to eat Mansaf, has a ritual associated with it, a highlight being everyone should be standing and eating with their right hand only.
The other additions to the menu are Kebab and Kofta dishes like Islim Kebabs, Shish Kebabs or Kofta bi Tahini, which is quiet similar to the Indian dishes but with different spice blend.
Jordan’s reputation of being a sweet-tooth’s paradise certainly lives up to the hype. Jordanian sweet shops offer a range of deserts – for those with simple sugar cravings, to those with a more refined palate, wanting to experience different textures and tastes.
Locally known as Jordan’s national dessert, Kanafeh is a rich Levantine dessert made with white cheese, topped with crunchy pastry and drenched in sweet syrup. Other favorites include Harissa, a semolina flour pastry drenched in honey, butter, yogurt and almonds mix; and Jordanian Baklawa, which is a bite size pastry stuffed with pistachios and drenched in sweet syrup.
Last but not the least, for locals; no Jordanian meal is complete without a cup of Turkish or Arabic coffee with hints of cardamom. It is also customary in Jordan to be presented with numerous cups of coffee or tea when you are visiting a family, or even if you are visiting a shop. If not coffee, freshly squeezed sugar cane juice or Limoon-nana, Jordan’s national drink made from lemon, is the next best option.