June 20, 2016

Stir-Fried Tangy Shrimp

Recipe: Sabrina Ghayour

Shrimp are too useful not to keep in the freezer for emergencies — they can be cooked in a blink and in myriad ways, helping you to make a meal out of simple ingredients in minutes. Traditionally in Iran, you eat seafood only if you live near the sea. My grandma used to call shrimp joonevar (Farsi for “insects”) because of their appearance when whole, and would never eat them, but I love them in all their shapes and sizes. They always make a dish feel special. I love eating this dish with rice, but you can serve it with bread or any grain you like.


  • vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced into half-moons
  • 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 large garlic bulb, cloves peeled and roughly sliced
  • 3-4 lime leaves, rolled and thinly sliced into ribbons
  • 6 red pickled chiles, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 4 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pound raw jumbo shrimp, peeled but with the tails left on
  • 6 preserved lemons, halved, seeded and sliced into half-moons
  • ½ cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into ½-inch slices
  • 2 ounces cilantro, leaves and stem roughly chopped
  • flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Yield: Serves 4

  1. If you have a wok, heat it over high heat. Otherwise, heat a large saucepan over high heat.
  2. Pour a generous amount of oil into the pan and, once it is hot, fry the onions, stirring only occasionally to prevent burning, until golden brown and crispy. Then, working quickly, add the ginger, garlic, lime leaves, chiles and the spices and keep stirring the mixture to prevent burning. Now add the shrimp and coat them in the mixture well.
  3. Stir-fry for 1 minute (or more, if they are large), then add the preserved lemons and stir-fry for about 1 minute more or so or until some of the juices have evaporated. Add the cucumber slices, stir and, finally, add the chopped cilantro. Stir-fry the mixture for 2 minutes until the shrimp turn pink and are cooked through, then serve immediately.

Haarala Hamilton


From Sirocco Copyright © 2016 by Sabrina Ghayour. Reprinted by permission of Appetite by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited.