Jordanian Mansaf without a doubt is the emperor of the food offered in societal events. Mansaf has a unique authentic theme of societal integration and harmony, in addition to hospitality and generosity. Mansaf unites the hearts of the persons gathered around it on one man’s heart, and therefore, their minds are harmoniously unified. They all share the same food-platter united, and are down to earth eating by the tips of three fingers. Traditionally, between eight to twelve persons stand in a ring around a circular medium-sized tray on a table, for eating Mansaf that is offered in societal gatherings, such as, wedding feasts. Mansaf used to be eaten by balling tiny bits of rice, bread, and meat together with some yogurt sauce by the tips of two fingers and the thumb, and then tossing the bites-ball into the mouth. The bites-ball eating style had long been faded away, and a table spoon is mostly used for eating Mansaf. As a matter of fact, the art of the knowhow to eat Mansaf properly by fingers no longer exists, nowadays.
Mansaf is served firstly for the guests, who are unknown to the host in many cases, and are just passing by remote areas. After that, is served for others in the household. Mansaf is generously served on a circular tray, in order to convey utmost generosity of hospitality, and to indicate that one of the host’s lambs has been slaughtered and cooked for the occasion. The leftovers however, are not wasted instead they are distributed to the neighbourhoods. Despite the fact that a generously served Mansaf displays utter generous hospitality, it might not be appreciated by some, especially in the present urban higher living standards and a wider prosperity spread.
Mansaf has a few basic baladi – organic – ingredients, but yet is deliciously cooked. In fact, the simplicity of using a few ingredients in preparing Mansaf, such as mutton, rice, yogurt and bread, lends to Mansaf its ultra sophistication. Jordanians source the basic ingredients to cook Mansaf locally, and have usually preferences, such as shrak wholesome bread, baladi muttons, jameed Karaki, and samin Balqawi. These respectively are, wood fire baked and smoked wheat bread, Jordanian organic muttons, the knobs of sun-dried yogurt lumps produced by the city of Karak, and the both spices and herbs infused clarified butter produced by ElBalqa region.
The Balqawi styled Mansaf is the crème de la crème of all the Manasif. Nonetheless, we desire to introduce contemporary elegancy aspects to the Jordanian Mansaf. Therefore, we inspire the market to rethink its serving style, particularly for occasions such as, conferences, tourist groups and other urban city social events. We inspire caterers to serve a stylish fashionable Mansaf, but without undermining its authenticity. We propose elegant Mansaf that is sufficient for a table of between 8 to 12 persons, as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Plan of Mansaf Tilal – منسف تلال, scale : 1:10
The stylish decorative and delicate modern urban styled Mansaf consists of 8-tiny hills, i.e., tiny Manasif in a ring at the bottom of a larger and higher hill, which has 4-tiny central Manasif on the top peak, and is formed by shrak breads. The Shrak breads are spread over a stack of breads or a shallow circular container in a freely manner to shape the hill. The proposed assembly of the Mansaf is stylish, elegant and harmonious, in addition to forming an octagonal star when the bottom edge of the larger hill meets the bases of the 8-tiny hills.
We propose also, to produce Mansaf that is much more agreeable to the eyes, and therefore, to decorate the serving tray beautifully, with red radishes , green olives, and short sticks of the root ends of spring onions .We suggest arranging a small numbers of these near the rim of the tray, such that they do not cause big distortions to the original authentic styled Mansaf. As a matter fact, we note that these edible decorations have the colours of the national Jordanian flag.
We suggest assembling the proposed style of Mansaf, i.e., Mansaf Tilal – منسف تلال – , as follows:
- Elevate the middle section of the serving tray with a stack of middle-sized shrak breads or a shallow circular container, over which spread larger breads to cover the breads stack / the container, and to let them freely drop along sides the stack/container. On the top peak, assemble 4-tiny Manasif over 4 folded breads and decorate with parsley leaves at the midpoint. Optionally, add a thin ring of yellow rice on the outer perimeter of the 4-tiny Manasif, see Fig 1.
- Fold 8 small breads in a ring around the tray, over each of which spread flat smaller shrak bread, cone-shaped rice, and two pieces of mutton, and then sprinkle a handful of roasted nuts. Optionally, add a thin ring of yellow rice around each of the rice-cones, see Fig 1, and also some more meat on the slopes, as desired.
- Sprinkle a few handfuls of roasted pine-nuts and almonds all over the tray with special attentions to the slopes.
- Decorate the serving tray beautifully, and therefore, arrange a number of edible decorations directly on the tray, such as short spring onions sticks, rose-opened radishes and green olives, see Figure 1.
Upon serving, we suggest serving one portion of Mansaf Tilal منسف تلال , to each of the persons around the table such that one tiny Mansaf of a small shrak bread, the rice-cone, the meat and the roasted nuts, as a whole is served to each of the eight plates. The folded breads underneath are left behind on the tray for each to help oneself as desired, of breads, radishes, olives, etc. The creamy yogurt sauce that is herbs and spices infused and cooked, is served in a small glass jug next to each plate; in addition to a spoon on the right and a fork on the left. Tall and shorter clear glasses are also provided for water and the yogurt sauce, respectively. Lastly, we suggest that Jordanian food industrial institutions, such as catering and hospitality colleges, to get to prepare a pilot Mansaf Tilal منسف تلال for a test-group, whom appreciate the authentic styled Mansaf , in order for these institutions to collect feedbacks to improving Mansaf Tilal منسف تلال .