In Bizarre Foods Amman, part of the Delicious Destinations series featuring Andrew Zimmern, the host and his crew visited numerous restaurants in the city, showcasing a variety of unique and delicious dishes. Here is a convenient list of all the addresses and dishes highlighted in this exciting exploration of Amman’s food scene.
DISH – Musakhan
WHAT IS IT?
To prepare musakhan, quartered chicken is coated in olive oil.
Chopped red onions, salt, cinnamon, baharat (a blend of spices popular in the Middle
East) and sumac (a spice that gives the dish its purple color) are added into
the chicken. It is then marinated overnight. The next day, more sumac is
sprinkled on the marinated chicken before it is slow roasted for 3 hours. The
sauce is prepared through caramelizing red onions in olive oil. Again, sumac is
added into the sauce. The dish is then served on a warm taboon, one of the many
flatbreads in the region. Warm taboon is soaked with drippings from the pan and
the chicken and sauce are placed on top. Onions are sprinkled all over and it
is finished with toasted almonds.
Maqluba is a warm and spicy combination of lamb, rice and
vegetables, served upside down. The vegetables used for the dish vary by
season. Maqluba is prepared through seasoning lamb with cinnamon, cardamom seeds,
bay leaf and black pepper. It is then braised for 2 hours. Vegetables are
drizzled with olive oil and cooked in an oven. The vegetables and roasted lamb
are then layered. Uncooked rice soaked in water and seasoned with cinnamon,
salt and pepper is placed on top. Meat broth is added into the layers of
vegetables, lamb and rice before being cooked for 10 minutes on high and 15
minutes on low. The dish is finished with a touch of fried almonds and chopped
Maqluba is the house specialty at Sufra Restaurant. Here,
eggplant is the vegetable of choice for the maqluba.
ANDREW ZIMMERN AMMAN DISH – Zarb
WHAT IS IT?
It’s no surprise to come across a dish called Zarb while going through the Petra portion of your Jordan itinerary. Zarb is a tower of meat and vegetables cooked in a pit covered with a lid and sand for 2 hours. It is prepared through cooking rice, vegetables and meat (either lamb or goat) in a tall, multi-tiered rack placed in an underground oven. The rice is placed in a pot at the bottom of the rack and seasoned with baharat. Cardamom seeds, butter and water are added into the rice. Meat and vegetables seasoned with baharat are placed on the upper layers of the rack.
Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp offers authentic Bedouin-style lodging and meals. Meals here are served on the floor, following traditional Bedouin style. It’s an interesting place to include in a Jordan 7-day itinerary.
ANDREW ZIMMERN AMMAN DISH – Mansaf
WHAT IS IT?
Mansaf is another traditional, tribal Jordanian dish of lamb
cooked in creamy yogurt sauce. To prepare mansaf, water is added to crushed
jameed (traditional Jordanian dried yogurt) and brought to a boil. The mixture
is stirred continuously. Pieces of lamb are then added into the yogurt mix and
cooked for an hour and a half. A platter is then lined with shrak (traditional
Jordanian flatbread). It is topped with a mound of rice and lamb, and finished
with a sprinkling of pine nuts and parsley.
Alqantarah is a restaurant on the hills above Petra that
seeks to expose visitors to the wide variety of traditional tribal Jordanian
food. It only uses homemade shrak and jameed in its mansaf.
DELICIOUS DESTINATIONS AMMAN DISH – Mezze
WHAT IS IT?
Mezze is a collection of Jordanian spreads, dips and savory
bites eaten from breakfast to late night. It can come in any combination. In
Amman, one can typically find a mezze of 3 kinds of hummus, ful (fava bean
spread), and falafel.
Hashem Restaurant is located in downtown Amman and visited
by people from all walks of life, including the Jordanian royal family. It is
open 24 hours a day and is famous for its mezze of ful and falafel.
Pomegranate is a key ingredient of ara’yes: grilled pita
sandwiches filled with lamb, tomatoes, and tart pomegranate molasses. The
filling is prepared through grinding lamb meat and adding an equal amount of
chopped tomatoes into it. Onions, parsley, garlic, pepper, a sprinkle of
baharat and tangy pomegranate molasses are added into the ground meat and
tomatoes. They are then mixed by hand until the mix becomes spreadable. It is
then filled into pita breads and grilled in a coal-fired oven. The hot and
crispy ara’yes are then quartered and garnished with onions, parsley and lemon
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