Zarb is a traditional main dish in Jordan that has been enjoyed by Jordanians for centuries. Made with marinated chicken or sheep and a variety of vegetables, including potatoes, carrots, and onions, Zarb is unique because of the way it is cooked. This dish is prepared in a special underground oven that is an important part of the Bedouin culture.

What makes Zarb special is its preparation way! The pot filled with marinated meat and veggies is placed on a metal rack inside a pit dug in the ground. Hot coals are placed around and on top of the pot, and the pit is covered with sand to create an airtight seal. This unique cooking method takes several hours, during which time the heat from the coals slowly cooks the meat and vegetables.

Before going deeper with Zarb or Bedouin barbecue, we need to shed light on other traditional Jordanian foods you can enjoy while visiting the kingdom.

Not in a Mood to Eat Zarb? Other Jordanian Foods You Need to Try

Makmoura: It’s a traditional Jordanian dish, typically made with rice, meat (often lamb or chicken), and various spices. It is similar to pilaf or biryani in terms of its preparation method but with unique specific spices used in Jordanian cuisine. Meanwhile, zarb reflects the ancient way of preparing food in underground pits; makmoura is the perfect way of Jordanian celebration.

Fasoolya Khadra: It’s one of the delicious appetizers in Jordan. However, it can be the main course in lunch. It’s refreshing, healthy, and flavored.

Mansaf: it’s the national dish in Jordan. Your visit can not be completed without heading to a local restaurant and having a hand on this decadent dish. It is not just a signature dish; Jordanians consider it a source of pride. 

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Zarb: A Beloved and Ancient Main Dish in Jordanian Cuisine

The key to making a delicious Zarb is marinating the meat and vegetables properly.

The mixture of spices, herbs, and olive oil used in the marinade infuses the dish with flavor. The pot used to cook Zarb is sealed to prevent any steam from escaping, which helps to retain the flavors and moisture of the dish. The slow cooking process of Zarb allows the heat to penetrate the meat and vegetables, resulting in a tender and flavorful dish.

The combination of spices and herbs used in the marinade enhances the taste of the meat and vegetables, making it a mouth-watering meal.

Cultural Significance: Family Gatherings and Special Occasions

Zarb is not just a dish; it is a cultural tradition. Families in Jordan have come together for generations to prepare and enjoy this meal on special occasions such as weddings, festivals, and other important events. It is a dish that brings people together and is an essential part of Jordanian cuisine.


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Experience the authentic taste of the Middle eastern cuisine with Simsem. Join local families in cooking traditional Middle Eastern dishes. Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with locals, learn new cooking techniques, and indulge in delicious food that will leave you craving for more. Book your culinary adventure today with Simsem.

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