This is a Hipmunk post from Jodi Ettenberg of Legal Nomads
On Friday I posted about some of my favourite foods from Jordan, and here is part 2 to the series. There are enough dishes to make this a 10-part series but I’ve stuck to the ones I truly loved and couldn’t get enough of during my travels there. Let’s continue with the noms!
6) Zerb: Zerb is a crazy, crazy dish. It’s baked in a hole in the ground that has been sealed up with clay or mud, and when the clay dries up, the dish is ready. It’s rich – so incredibly rich – with roasted lamb or chicken, the fat dripping down from the meat onto the rice. It’s served with the usual dishes (many of the dips from Part 1), but it’s incredibly filling and explosively tasty. Traditionally a bedouin dish, I tried it in the desert near Ma’in.
Here is the rack (cooked), the pit it’s cooked in and the final product:
7) Foul: Traditionally a dish from the countryside, foul is a essentially a filling breakfast porridge with spices. The base is made from a paste of fava beans and it’s topped with sumac, za’atar, lemon juice, parsley and more. Hearty morning dish to get you started for your day, and not bad to look at either.
8) Knafe: I can’t forget about dessert! Knafe is a rich cheese dessert topped with baked phylo dough and draped in honey and topped with pistachio pieces. It’s crispy and goopy all at once, and it’s so incredibly delicious that you keep eating even though your stomach is telling you to stop.
Me (right) and my friend Shannon (left) getting our knafe on at Habiba in Amman:
9) Mansaf: A very traditional (and popular) dish, mansaf is usually made with chunks of lamb braised in sauce of fermented, dried yoghurt (called jameed) and served over spiced rice topped with pine nuts. It’s a very hearty dish (this is a theme here) and each mouthful is a truly overwhelming mixture of tastes – the soft, braised lamb, the crunchy pine nuts, the sourness of the yoghurt. It takes quite some time to prepare but the end result is well worth it. Eaten with flatbreads, of course.
10) Mint Lime Juice: It was a toss-up between coffee (often scented with cardamom) or this shake, but I chose the mint because it was a singular theme throughout the trip. After a long day of traipsing through a given town, a mint lime juice was what capped off the travels. Fresh mint is used in a variety of dishes in Jordan and it’s extremely accessible (and affordable) compared to what it costs in my hometown of Montreal. As a result, they don’t skimp on the mint, and the juices are emerald green and extremely satisfying.
Mint juice in front of Petra’s The Monastery after climbing the 800+ steps to get there: