Of all Gaza’s delicacies, this recipe is the one visitors most frequently request. They encounter this dish at Gaza’s seaport restaurants and are smitten. Our version was provided by Um Ramadan.
2 lbs small fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion or 5-6 shallots, finely chopped
2 green chilis (to taste)
3 Tbsp tomato paste
6 tomatoes, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp minced fresh dill
6 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
11/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
¾ tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
¼ cup pinenuts or slivered almonds
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cook shrimp in a dry pan over a high flame very briefly. They will release some liquid: pour this off and return to heat until pan is dry again. Shrimp should be just barely pink. Set aside.
Coarsely chop the green chili, and crush it with 1/2 tsp salt. Rub garlic and dill together by hand.
In the same pan in which you cooked the shrimp, sauté onions in olive oil. When onions are transparent, add tomato paste and stir well.
Mix in tomatoes, spices, crushed chilis, about a cup of water and the dill and garlic mixture. Stir well. Simmer for 10 minutes on low heat, and then stir in shrimp.
Meanwhile, toast the nuts and sesame seeds, or fry them until golden in 1 Tbsp olive oil and set aside.
Pour the shrimp mixture from the pan into the zibdiya (an ovenproof earthenware dish) or individual ramekins. Cover with sesame seeds, nuts and parsley. Bake for 10 minutes covered with aluminum foil, then remove the foil and broil another few minutes until the top is crusty. Serve with bread.