Majestical Mansef in the USA!

Holiday MansafLast night,
I devoured my first Mansaf for the first time in over six months! Yes, you heard me right: Six whole months without a taste of my country’s national dish! I know. I could lose my Jordanian citizenship for such a faux pas, but I’m sure those in charge would understand!

The place where we partook of this celestial meal was my friend Ajlounieh’s place, where we, along with other family friends, were invited to a dinner prepared by Ajlounieh’s super mom. Of course, and without doubt, the food was just divine. As was the case with my first Magloubeh in the US, I ate like there was no tomorrow.

Besides the heavenly food, the company was just divine. The guest list was diverse: Jordanians, one Palestinian, a Syrian, a Lebanese and some Americans. All were gathered together to get a taste of Jordan’s famous Mansaf.

So as not to break the tradition, we all enjoyed our Mansaf while talking about nothing less than the political developments in our volatile region. Our primarily pan-Arab chit-chat went on for hours and I have to say it was an entirely engaging and thought-provoking conversation.

Last night was definitely memorable. We had such a truly wonderful, wonderful time. I can’t wait for the day when I start throwing Mansaf dinner parties of my own. Hopefully this day is just around the corner. This picture comes courtesy of the one and only, Ajlounieh.


  1. Issam December 31, 2005 at 9:12 am

    Natasha, the Mansaf dish looks majestic. You know that I can add a depth to any conversation, so you might want to invite next time:-} Happy New Year

  2. Hani December 31, 2005 at 9:21 am

    The abies (pine) & almonds are more than rice in that dish!!! It looks just as you described it; Majestical.
    I just had my Mansaf dose last Thursday to make sure I keep my nationality πŸ˜€
    But whatever anyone does out side Jordan, they can’t approach the real taste of a home –made Mansaf, don’t you think?!
    Bas il ree7a wala il 3adam πŸ˜€

  3. sabrihakim December 31, 2005 at 9:35 am

    wala shiklo bishahee, glad you enjoyed yourself

  4. Ameen Malhas December 31, 2005 at 10:49 am

    Snobar kaman, mish galeel.
    Happy New Year.

  5. Ajlounieh December 31, 2005 at 11:29 am

    Sa7tein! We loved having you and Jeff over for dinner. We truly enjoyed our evening. Mama is happy that you enjoyed her mansaf. One correction – the Ajlounieh’s mother is originally from al-Rafeed (north of Irbid). So, Hani, don’t worry – it’s just as good as in Jordan. Happy New Year everyone!

  6. Linda December 31, 2005 at 11:49 am

    wow that does look good. ameen how can you eat mensaf without snober. of course a jordanian is going to put snober on the the mensaf.
    but hey, why are you guys eating in plates? what happened to the old fashion way: your hands?

  7. Hamzeh December 31, 2005 at 12:16 pm

    No no no, this rice wasn’t cooked with samneh baladeyyeh! This shouldn’t count Natasha :p
    If you’re ever in San Fran, try a restaurant called Fatoush, they do a nice take on mansaf.

  8. Ajlounieh December 31, 2005 at 1:12 pm

    This is now the Mansaf War of 2005! Hamza – this rice was cooked with a homemade samnah baladiya. That restaurant named after a Syrian Salad cannot make a comparable mansaf. Natasha, you know you got the real deal. πŸ™‚

  9. Abdelstar alslimat December 31, 2005 at 1:39 pm

    Mansaf ajlounieh,samen baladi,be alot sanobar,talking about mansaf war it is on,mansaf mansaf is good for the hart the more you eate the more you chat,[almaout la fatoosh]

  10. sk8er boi December 31, 2005 at 1:47 pm

    I could imagine how you must have felt. Earlier this year, I’ve spent a few months without mansaf or magloobeh, and yesterday, I was invited to a magloobeh lunch and I just ate and ate till I couldn’t breathe, and my stomach still kinda aches πŸ˜‰
    Happy new year

  11. Hamzeh January 1, 2006 at 4:29 am

    Wait, ajlounieh is the one who made it, right? I think her opinions are obviously biased in this discussion so she should be out πŸ˜€ Anyway, I just thought coz usually when they cook rice with samneh it comes up yellowish and I’ve always thought of it as the authentic look for mansaf rice to be yellowish.
    About the Fatoush restaurant, actually it’s a nice restuarant that is owned or operated by a Palestinian chef who pretty much lived her entire life in Jordan. You have to really try it if you’re in San Francisco because the presentation they came up with in my opinion is really genious. You really have to see it to know what I’m talking about.

  12. kinzi January 1, 2006 at 9:06 am

    What a great way to start the new year! It has been a while since I have had a mansaf, but the last time I made it my fingers smelled like jameed for a couple of days, what a smell to wake up to in teh middle of the night. Maybe I’ll try the yogurt way.

  13. jareer January 2, 2006 at 1:43 pm

    Mansaf without using the hands in eating is not considered real meal. Sorry ! It is not the old-fashioned way. It is the traditional way that comes with the package.

  14. Mellie October 3, 2006 at 1:09 pm

    o.k., I was not even born in Jordan, but I do cook mansaf here in the US. I cook all the yummy dishes I learned while living there, in Jordan. The only trouble I am having is uncertainty about my samneh. I make two kinds of samneh, but both ways were learned from a Maroccan cook (!)(she calls it smen). I just changed her oregano to saffron. It does not have just the same taste like the one I used to have in Karak, but perhaps the only difference is that I use Trader Joes Unsalted (cow-milk) Butter, and the one back in Karak was made of ewe’s-milk butter? HELP someone out there! PLEASE.

  15. Vanessa October 28, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    Hi all,
    Seems you all have had great Mansaf experiences. πŸ˜€ I myself love Mansaf and lamb is my favorite meat. My husband is Jordanian and we both LOVE mansaf so much. I would like to cook it for him, but my problem is making the yogurt sauce. I always seem to mess it up. I live in the SF bay area and willing to pay someone to teach me. I can also learn by phone. πŸ˜€ Thanks to all for listening. Vanessa


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