Foods from Jordan – Part 1 of 2

This is a Hipmunk post from Jodi Ettenberg of Legal Nomads

After several years of eating my way through Asia, I went to Jordan from Bangkok this year and was able to eat a whole other type of food. I’m a big fan of rice and noodles and soups but it was a wonderful shock to my tastebuds to swap out the chilli and tamarind for sumac and mint, to replace somtam salads with fatoush. I left Jordan full – very, very full. Here are some of the foods I loved along with some the photos from my trip to illustrate them:

1) Hummus: Many of us already know hummus well, and it’s become a popular snack in North America, eaten with carrots or pita. In Jordan, it is often mixed with sesame paste (tahini), giving the dip a seriously creamy texture and making it much more filling 

2) Fattoush: a crisp green salad topped with dried sumac, mixed with chopped fresh vegetables like tomato and cucumber and some baked or fried pita chips mixed in. The salad is dressed with a deliciously tart lemon juice and oil vinaigrette. Great side dish to a heavier meal.

3) Mouttabal: While many are tempted to call this dish its sister iteraration, baba ghanoush, mouttabal is roasted eggplant mixed with garlic, lots of tahini paste and some other ingredients to make a perfectly balanced dip for your meal. (In contrast, baba ghanoush is lighter, usually without the tahini) Mouttabal is extremely smoky with great lemony undertones and one of many foods I couldn’t get enough of. I posted a recipe and more photos here, if anyone wants to make it at home!

4) Maglouba: Literally meaning “upside down” dish, maglouba usually consists of spiced rice, chicken and vegetables cooked casserole-style in a pot and then flipped over on a plate once it’s done.  It’s a beautiful looking dish and a pleasure to eat.

5) Manakeesh: I first tried manakeesh back in 6th grade, when my best friend Susan’s mother made it for breakfast. The most common variety is a simple flatbread dough brushed with olive oil and topped with za’atar spice mix (I might just do a separate post on za’atar as it’s incredibly delicious and versatile) but other iterations include yoghurt and cheese (below) and ground meat. No matter the version, this is a perfect snack.

More to come on Tuesday with part 2!

Disclosure: I traveled to Jordan as a guest of the Jordan Tourism Board for Legal Nomads, but all photos and opinions presented are completely my own.