Iraqi Stewed Shrimp


Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

I decided to go ahead and post my pic of this dish, although it’s not particularly “photogenic”.  This is true of many Middle Eastern stewed dishes however.  But this entree delivers in flavor!  This curry-like dish is quite different from Indian curries.  The flavor of cloves in the Baharat spice, so unique to Arabic foods, is really quite nice with shrimp.

As written, this recipe is suitable for Induction.  If you have already reached the fruit rung of OWL, this is greatly enhanced served with a side of butter-seared, laterally sliced bananas.  In fact, this side dish is outstanding with ALL curry-type dishes, in my opinion.  For those not on a low-carb diet, this is usually served atop basmati rice, but low carbers can have it atop steamed cauliflower.  In some households, the cook will actually put the raw, rinsed rice directly into the stew broth the last half of cooking time (omitting the thickening, of course), making it more like an Indian Biryani dish, where the stock is absorbed totally by the rice as it cooks.


2 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined

4 T. butter, melted (I use unsalted)

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 oz. onion, sliced

3 Roma tomatoes, quartered

¼ c. each parsley and cilantro, chopped

1 tsp. turmeric

Dash each black and cayenne pepper

1½ c. water (or mixture of water and seafood stock if available)

1 T. Iraqi Spice Blend (Baharat):

about ¼ tsp. xanthan gum or guar gum

12 oz. zucchini or calaba squash, cut into 1″ chunks (unpeeled eggplant is a great substitute here)

DIRECTIONS: Peel shrimp and set aside.  Melt butter in large stew pot.  I use a large non-stick oven-proof wok for such dishes.   Add onion and cook over high heat until lightly browned. Add spices and saute 1 minute so the spices release their aroma.  Add parsley, cilantro, tomatoes and water/stock.  If using cubed squash add now, along with  water/stock and stir well.  Once the stew reaches a boil, lower heat and cover.  Simmer about 60 minutes total, when squash should be fully done and the flavors will have blended nicely.  If using eggplant, add about 20 minutes before stew is done cooking so it won’t completely fall apart.  Lightly dust a bit of the xanthan gum over the surface and slowly stir in, allowing the sauce to “set up” between dustings, as you don’t want this to get too thick.

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