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Shrimp Balls

Martha's version of the Gulf dish jbab rubyan calls for cooking succulent shrimp balls loaded with pine nuts and golden raisins in a bath of sweet-and-spicy tomato sauce.

  • Yield: Makes 20

Source: Martha Stewart's Cooking School, Episode 511

Ingredients

For the Shrimp Balls

  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons Arabic Seafood Spice Blend
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins, chopped
  • 2 cups medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped

For the Sauce

  • 1/4 cup tamarind paste
  • 3 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 green chile, such as serrano or jalapeno, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 loumi (dried lime)
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 2 medium tomatoes, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh dill, finely chopped

Directions

  1. Make the shrimp balls: In a large skillet, melt ghee over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until softened, about 12 minutes. Add spice blend and cook 2 minutes. Stir in pine nuts and raisins and cook 2 minutes more. Set aside to cool.

  2. In a food processor, pulse shrimp until finely minced. Transfer to a bowl and fold in lemon zest, cilantro, and dill. Fold in reserved onion mixture; set aside.

  3. Make the sauce: Place tamarind in a small bowl and add just enough hot water to cover. Let soak until softened, at least 15 minutes. Mash with a fork before straining through a sieve into a bowl. Press on any remaining solids in sieve before discarding. Set aside.

  4. In a large skillet, melt ghee over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 12 minutes. Add chile, coriander, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Add tomato paste, loumi, cinnamon, tomatoes, and reserved tamarind liquid. Cook until tomatoes are softened, about 10 minutes. Add 4 cups water and simmer sauce for 10 minutes. Season with salt.

  5. Using a 2-tablespoon scoop, form shrimp mixture into balls, adding directly into sauce as they are formed. Cover and let cook 5 minutes. Uncover and gently turn balls, then cover again and continue to cook until opaque throughout, about 5 minutes more. Stir in cilantro and dill just before serving.

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