This one’s a bit of a poser. It is safe to say that Jordanian cooking has not received broad recognition outside the Hashemite Kingdom – or else Jordan is not getting the credit it deserves for the proliferation of hummus with tahini, baba ghanouj, falafel, and other dishes we tend to consider generically Middle Eastern, but which certainly are served in Jordan.
Traditional dishes in Jordan were based on cereals, legumes, wild herbs, cracked wheat, mushrooms, wild artichoke, and sheep and goat products, including yogurt. The national dish is the Mansaf, a Bedouin specialty of lamb seasoned with aromatic herbs, lightly spiced, cooked in dried yogurt, and served on a large platter of rice, almonds, pine kernels, and other nuts (the use of the special dried yogurt is what sets Jordanian Mansaf apart from that of Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq, where it is also considered the “national dish”).
Other popular dishes are lamb kebabs, Jaaj mashwee (roasted chicken accompanied by bread, salad, and hummus), Fasooliyeh (a tomato-based bean stew, usually served with rice), Bazelleh (A tomato based pea stew, usually served with rice), Batatas (potato stew), Mlukhiyyeh (a kind of spinach stew cooked with chicken or beef pieces and served with rice), Mahshi (vegetables stuffed with rice and meat), and Waraq dawaalee (steamed grape leaves stuffed with rice and meat).
Now, as to those recipes (we haven’t forgotten your original question), there appears to be little available, at least in this country. There are a few books on the market that contain Jordanian recipes (although we can’t find a real Jordanian cookbook):
- The New Book of Middle Eastern Food (Canada, UK), in which, author Claudia Roden says, the cooking of countries from Morocco to Sudan and Iran to Greece is inextricably linked.
- Recipes and Remembrances from an Eastern Mediterranean Kitchen (Canada, UK), which features recipes from Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan
- The Complete Middle East Cookbook (Canada, UK), which is sure to have some recipes to suit your needs.
Beyond that, we’ve taken a lot of time to say we’ve come up empty-handed.