Mansaf-Middle Eastern Creamy Lamb Dish

Mansaf literally translates to “large platter” because traditionally the entire dish is served and even eaten, on a large platter! It is a savory lamb dish that is slow cooked until fall apart tender, then mixed into a creamy yogurt broth, and then served over soft rice that soaks up all the juices and topped with buttery toasted pine nuts and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.


Different areas in the Middle East make Mansaf differently-there will always be many variations of the same dishes around the world! I scoured the internet for as many recipes and I can find and condensed it down to this basic dish

Mansaf is traditionally made with an ingredients called “jameed.” Jameed uses an ancient method to completely dry out yogurt until it resembles a white stone. This was for preservation purposes in desert areas. To use Jameed, soak in water for a few hours, then blend until completely smooth. Adding hot broth from cooking the lamb help to ensure a smooth and creamy consistency.

However, thanks to modern times, you can now find Jameed soup starters! Where the soaking and blending has already been done. My favorite is by Ziyad brand as it is ready and easy to use.

There are a few essential steps to ensure Mansaf turns out delicious. The first is preparing the lamb, then slow cooking the lamb, then making the yogurt sauce, and finally putting it all together.

How to prepare the lamb

The first step to making Mansaf is preparing the lamb. Wash lamb shanks thoroughly and cut off any excess skin or fat. Add lamb shanks to a tray and mix together all the spices. Sprinkle a healthy amount over the shanks and rub in very well. Now you can either let this marinate, or cook it right away if you’re short on time.

Sear Lamb Shanks

In a pan on medium high heat, add oil and wait till it begins to shimmer. This means it is hot and ready! Add in lamb shanks one by one-you may have to do this in batches. Sear the lamb shanks on each side-about ten minutes overall. then remove and set aside. Searing the lamb shanks locks in flavor and reduces impurities when it’s time to simmer!

Simmering the lamb shanks

Prepare Aromatics

After searing the lamb shanks, place all of them in a pot large enough to fit them comfortably. Cover the lamb shanks with cool fresh water, then turn on the heat to medium and bring to a simmer.

Simmer Lamb Shanks with Aromatics

While that is happening, prepare your onions, garlic, cardamom, bay leaves, beef stock cube, and black pepper. Add it into the pot and cover, continuing to slow cook for several hours until the shanks are fork tender.

Making the Mansaf Sauce

Add Strained Hot Broth to Yogurt

Once the lamb shanks are completely tender, remove from the pot and set aside. Strain your leftover broth. Add a scoop of hot broth to a half tub of yogurt and give it a good mix.

Jameed Soup Starter

Pour your Jameed soup starter into the same pot and heat over medium heat stirring constantly. Now begin adding a ladle each of the broth and yogurt mixture , alternating each one and making sure to continue stirring.

Add Lamb Shanks to Broth

One you have enough broth to cover the lamb shanks again, bring it up to a gentle simmer and add the shanks back in. Simmer gently while mixing occasionally for another 15-20 minutes.

Check for salt at the final moment. Jameed is a very salty ingredient, so it is best to be careful and not over salt the dish. If the dish can use a little more salt, add it in at the end.

How to serve Mansaf

If you have any leftover broth from slow cooking the shanks, use it to cook some rice! Simply add 2 to 1 ratio of broth to basmati rice. Bring it up to a boil. Turn the heat down to low. Cover, and cook gently for 20 minutes.

In the meantime warm some ghee in a pan and toast pine nuts, stirring constantly to prevent burning.

Spread out the cooked rice on a large tray. Then place your lamb shanks over the top. Spoon on lots of yogurty broth. Spread over toasted pine nuts, and finish with a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley.

Enjoy your delicious Mansaf!

Serve Mansaf Over Rice Topped with Pine Nuts and Parsley


  • 6 lamb shanks
  • 1 tsp each cumin, paprika, turmeric, allspice, cinnamon, salt, and black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Water


  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 5-6 cardamoms, crushed
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 beef stock cubes
  • 3 bay leaves

For the Mansaf

  • @ziyadbrand Jameed Soup Starter
  • 1/2 tub yogurt
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • Fresh chopped parsley


  1. Mix seasonings and rub into lamb shanks. Sear all sides in a pan in some oil on high heat
  2. Add seared lamb shanks to a large pot. Cover in water. Add aromatics and bring the pot to a simmer
  3. Cover and simmer gently for several hours until the lamb is completely tender
  4. Remove lamb shanks and strain broth
  5. Add a cup of hot broth to 1/2 a plain yogurt tub and mix well
  6. Add @ziyadbrand jameed soup starter to a pot and heat on medium heat, mixing continuously
  7. Begin adding yogurt mixture and hot broth, alternating each and mixing thoroughly
  8. Once you have enough liquid to cover the lamb shanks, add them back in. Bring pot up to a simmer and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes
  9. In a separate pan, toast pine nuts in ghee.
  10. Serve Mansaf over cooked basmati rice, pour over toasted pine nuts and sprinkle over parsley.

I like to use leftover lamb shank broth to cook the rice so it’s more flavorful!

2 responses to “Mansaf-Middle Eastern Creamy Lamb Dish”

  1. We adore reading your blog! Your distinctive perspective and real voice make a difference in the world. Keep writing, because your words have a lasting impact. Thank you for being yourself!

    Thanks – TheDogGod

    • This genuinely made my day-thank you so much for your kind words! If you’re interested at all I pot video tutorials for each recipe on the blog (and even more!) on Instagram 🙂

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