The foods eaten by the people of Jordan

The culinary traditions of Jordan have been shaped by various historical, geographical, and cultural influences over the past 500 years. These traditions have evolved with the convergence of Bedouin, Levantine, and broader Middle Eastern cuisines. Below is a broad overview of foods that have been consumed in Jordan over the past five centuries:

  1. Grains and Cereals:

    • Bread: Flatbreads like khubz and shrak have been staple foods. Bread is eaten with almost every meal, often used as a utensil to scoop up food.
    • Freekeh: Roasted young green wheat grains that have been a popular grain for centuries.
    • Bulgur: Crushed wheat grains, often used in salads and pilafs.
  2. Rice Dishes:

    • Mansaf: The national dish of Jordan made from lamb cooked in a sauce of fermented dried yogurt called jameed and served with rice.
  3. Meats:

    • Lamb and chicken are the most commonly consumed meats. They're often grilled, roasted, or stewed with spices and served with rice or bread.
    • Kebabs: Grilled meat skewers.
    • Maqluba: An upside-down rice, meat, and vegetable dish.
  4. Legumes:

    • Hummus: A dip made from mashed chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic.
    • Falafel: Deep-fried balls made from ground chickpeas or fava beans.
    • Ful medames: Cooked and mashed fava beans.
  5. Vegetables and Salads:

    • Tabbouleh: Salad made from bulgur, finely chopped parsley, mint, tomato, spring onion, with lemon juice, olive oil, and seasonings.
    • Fattoush: Bread salad made from toasted or fried pieces of pita bread combined with mixed greens and vegetables.
    • Stuffed Vegetables: Zucchini, grape leaves, and peppers stuffed with rice and ground meat mixtures, known as warak enab and mahshi.
  6. Dairy:

    • Labneh: Thick, tangy yogurt cheese.
    • Jameed: Fermented dried yogurt, mainly used in the preparation of mansaf.
  7. Sweets:

    • Knafeh: A popular dessert made with thin noodle-like pastry soaked in sweet syrup, layered with cheese or nuts.
    • Baklava: Layers of filo pastry filled with nuts and sweetened with syrup.
    • Halva: Sweet made from sesame paste.
  8. Beverages:

    • Coffee: Bedouin-style coffee, lightly roasted and flavored with cardamom.
    • Tea: Often flavored with mint or sage.
    • Arak: An aniseed-flavored alcoholic beverage.
  9. Herbs and Spices:

    • Jordanian cuisine uses a variety of spices, including cardamom, cumin, coriander, sumac, and za'atar (a mix of dried thyme, sesame seeds, and sumac).

Trade, migrations, invasions, and other historical events have all influenced Jordan's culinary landscape. Over the last 500 years, the Ottomans and the Arabs have had the most significant influence on Jordan's culinary culture. The exchange of culinary traditions, particularly during the Ottoman era, integrated various dishes and cooking techniques from surrounding regions.

While this is a broad overview, it's essential to understand that food traditions evolve, and local variations of dishes often exist based on available ingredients, family recipes, and regional influences.

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