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Spicy Shrimp and Tomato Stew (Zibdiyit Gambari)

Spicy Shrimp and Tomato Stew (Zibdiyit Gambari)

  • YIELD    4 servings
  • TIME      45 minutes

This astonishingly simple stew, adapted from Yasmin Khan’s “Zaitoun: Recipes From the Palestinian Kitchen,” is bursting with the fierce, passionate flavors that are emblematic of the cooking of the Gaza Strip. You’ll mash together garlic, dill and jalapeños using a mortar and pestle and cook them in tomato sauce to add depth. Once the stew thickens, stir in the shrimp until they turn flushed and tender. To serve, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and dot with toasted sesame seeds and verdant flecks of parsley.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 (14-ounce) can whole, peeled plum tomatoes, juices reserved
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, plus more to taste
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  •  Sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 jalapeños, finely chopped, plus more to taste
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 pound raw medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed
  •  Coarsely chopped parsley leaves, for serving

PREPARATION

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices; 1 teaspoon sugar; the cumin, caraway seeds and allspice; 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper; and 1 cup water and bring to a simmer.
  2. Meanwhile, mash the jalapeño, garlic, dill and 1/2 teaspoon salt together using a mortar and pestle for a few minutes. Alternately, finely chop them together on a cutting board, then mash them by pressing back and forth using the flat side of your knife until a paste forms. (Both approaches release the oil from the jalapeño and dill and make them more fragrant.) Add to the tomato sauce and stir to combine. Cover and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally to break down the tomatoes, until sauce is thickened and flavors meld, about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds: In a small skillet, stir the sesame seeds over medium heat until golden-brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.
  4. When the tomato sauce is ready, taste and adjust the seasoning (you may want to add a bit more sugar or jalapeño). Finally, stir in the shrimp, making sure they are submerged, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they have just turned pink and are cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. To serve, drizzle with a generous amount of extra-virgin olive oil and scatter with the sesame seeds and chopped parsley.