The blessed days of Dhul Hijjah just came to an end, with the start of Eid Al Adha. Many now have lots of lamb in the freezer due sheep slaughtering on Eid. There’s no better way to use that lamb than to make homemade mansaf, a popular Palestinian dish. Authentic mansaf is made using jmeed, a dried yogurt extremely high in fat and sodium. This mansaf recipe is my mother’s, twisted from the original just a bit to make it healthier. Using organic plain yogurt will still give a delicious taste to mansaf, without worrying about the negative health consequences.
Obviously, the main star of this dish is the lamb, cooked to perfection and softness using specific spices. Grass-fed lamb is very high in omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, and vitamin B12 which are all linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Grass-fed lamb has a lot more nutrient quality than conventionally fed lamb. In fact, it has 25% more omega-3 fatty acids. Yes, the diet of the livestock you consume can greatly impact the percentage of vitamins and minerals in the meat on your plate. The bone broth reserved and then added to the yogurt is simply incredible. It gives a delicious taste of spice and meat while boosting the nutrient value of your mansaf. Bone broth is full of minerals essential for our body. Of the many benefits, it aids in relieving arthritis pain, indigestion, leaky gut, and it strengthens your immune system. It is also a wonderful remedy for the common cold or flu. Grandma had it right with chicken noodle soup, which consists mainly of homemade bone broth. I had a client previously ask if bone broth had to be made using the bones. Do note, the key minerals and vitamins come from the bones. Original bone broth isn’t made in a pressure cooker, but the good news is that you save time and don’t deplete your food of nutrients by using one. I find it convention and cook, especially for a time consuming dish like mansaf.
The parsley in this recipe is more than just garnish; it’s full of vitamin K, iron, folate, fiber, and vitamin C. The almonds and pine nuts increase the healthy fat percentage, while adding protein and a perfect crunch to your meal. Try this mansaf recipe this Eid, and you’ll look forward to Eid Al Adha every year.
4 cups organic plain yogurt
2 cups water
2 tablespoons cornstarch (certified organic and non-GMO)
2 tablespoons turmeric, ground
3 tablespoons Himalayan Pink Salt
3 cups basmati rice, soaked (basmati brown rice works too)
10 pounds organic grass-fed lamb chunks, pressure cooked (10 cloves, 4 bay leaves, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 tablespoon Himalayan Pink Salt, 7 cardamom pods, and 4 black peppercorns)
10 layers ishraq bread, torn with hands into large chunks (Ishraq bread is a very thin bread made of whole wheat flour. You can replace it with any bread of your convenience)
3 bunches organic fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup of raw blanched silvered almonds and raw pine nuts (roasted in a skillet with organic coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil)
In a pressure cooker, cook lamb, 7 cups water, and spices for about 45 minutes. Strain; reserve the broth.
Place yogurt, cornstarch, water and salt in your blender. Pulse into very smooth.
Put the yogurt in a large pot, add turmeric; whisk. Cook on high and whisk without stopping until it boils. Remove from heat; add about half the lamb broth and some meat chunks. Stir; set aside.
Cook the rice in about 6 cups water with 1 teaspoon salt on high-heat for 10-15 minutes or until rice begins to show above the water. Put on low heat. Leave covered for about 5-10 minutes. Remove; set aside.
Put the bread in a large flat serving platter. Soak with cooked yogurt. Put a layer of rice on top. Top the rice with more yogurt. Top with the lamb chunks. Garnish with parsley and roasted nuts. Serve!
Noor H. Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, Sunnah Superfoods, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.