Description :

The quintessential dish of Bedouins, featuring lightly spiced lamb, fluffy rice, and a tangy jameed-based yogurt sauce, all piled on top of torn flatbread.

Ingredient :

For the Broth:

  • 4 lamb shanks (about 3 1/2 pounds; 1.5kg total)
  • 1 medium (8-ounce; 226g) yellow onion, peeled but left whole
  • 10 allspice berries
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 4 cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon (3g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt use half as much by volume or the same weight

For the Yogurt Sauce:

  • One 2.2-pound (1kg) Tetra Pak of liquid jameed, such as Kasih and Ziyad, or 1 (roughly 8-ounce/226g) disc of jameed soaked overnight in 2 cups (473ml) water and then blended until smooth
  • 1 pound (453g) full-fat plain yogurt (preferably goat or sheep, but cow milk works as well)
  • 1 tablespoon (10g) cornstarch
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 medium cloves garlic, crushed or minced

For the Rice:

  • 1 1/4 pounds (566g) jasmine or Calrose rice
  • 2 tablespoon (30ml) unsalted butter or ghee
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt use half as much by volume
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric

To Assemble and Serve:

  • 1 large shrak, markook, or other thin flatbread (see note)
  • 1 cup slivered almonds (4 ounces/113g), toasted until golden (see note)

Direction :

  1. For the Broth: In a large pot or Dutch oven, cover the lamb shanks with enough water to barely submerge. Set over medium-high heat and cook just until water comes to a boil and foam rises to the surface. Remove from heat, drain shanks, then wash with water to remove any foam clinging to them.
  2. Wash pot well, then return the shanks to it along with the onion, allspice, cardamom, cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon, and salt. Add enough water to cover all the ingredients by one inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook until shanks are very tender but not falling off the bone, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  3. Transfer shanks to a platter and keep warm. Strain broth, discarding solids; keep warm. Wash pot once more.
  4. Meanwhile, for the Yogurt Sauce: In a small saucepan, whisk together liquid jameed (or reconstituted jameed), yogurt, cornstarch, and 1/2 cup (118ml) water. Season with salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly, then remove from heat (it is very important to whisk continuously to prevent curdling; if it does curdle, use a handheld immersion blender to bring it back together into a smooth sauce). The sauce should be relatively thick at this point, almost like a pureed vegetable soup.
  5. In a small skillet, heat olive oil and garlic over medium heat until garlic is fragrant and cooked through, but not at all browned, about 2 minutes. Pour the garlic and its oil into the yogurt and stir to combine. The sauce should be quite salty and sour, so add salt as needed.
  6. For the Rice: In a medium mixing bowl, rinse rice in several changes of cold water until water is almost clear, then cover rice with cold water and let soak for 15 minutes. Drain well.
  7. In a large nonstick pot or Dutch oven, heat the butter and oil over high heat until butter is melted. Add rice, stirring to fully coat in the oil, then add 3 cups (710ml) water along with the salt and turmeric. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until most of the water has been absorbed, 2 to 5 minutes. Stir once, then carefully cover pot with a clean kitchen towel and cover tightly with the lid. Remove from heat and let stand 15 minutes.
  8. To Assemble and Serve: Pour 4 cups (1L) of the strained broth into the cleaned large pot or Dutch oven along with the yogurt sauce. Whisk to form a very smooth sauce (if it isn't smooth, use an immersion blender to smooth it out). The sauce should have a consistency somewhere between whole milk and half-and-half; if it's too thick, whisk in more broth 1/4 cup (15ml) at a time until proper consistency is reached. Season once more with salt, if necessary, bearing in mind the sauce should be very salty and tangy, almost like a very strong feta cheese.

  9. Add the lamb shanks to the sauce and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until lamb is heated through and the sauce is thick enough to coat the shanks in a thickened and creamy glaze, about 15 minutes. If sauce is still too thin, continue simmering until the sauce reaches a heavy cream–like consistency. 

  10. To serve, tear up bread into large pieces and arrange on a large, round serving platter in a single, slightly overlapping layer. Pour enough yogurt sauce over the bread to soak through and soften. Fluff the rice, then spoon in a mound on top of the bread. Set shanks on top. Ladle more yogurt sauce all over until it has soaked through the rice and bread (you don't want the mansaf so wet that it begins to flow like soup, but you can be generous with the sauce). Sprinkle all over with the toasted almonds.

  11. Serve, passing more yogurt sauce at the table for diners to add to their plates.

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