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.



For the Shrimp Balls
For the Sauce


Instructions Checklist
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.