Friday, 5 July 2013

Saudi Shrimp Kabsa

This recipe is free of gluten, dairy and nuts.

When I first came in contact with Saudi cooking 2 years ago, kabsa was the very first thing I ate. It's fairly simple and easy to make, but the spices are what made the meal for me. Since then, I was brought something called loomi from Saudi - blackened lime. You boil a lime in salt water, then dry it out in the sun until the inside turns black while the outside can vary in colour. It's probably 100x easier just to buy it ground or whole in a Middle Eastern food store, or from this link; I have never ever ever taken on the task of trying to make it on my own so I can't say how easy/possible it would be.

Loomi unfortunately doesn't have any substitute. It provides a bitter, sour flavour which sounds like NOTHING you want to put 10 feet within your dish but is actually amazing and I'll never eat kabsa without it again. It's like adding lemon, but not, because I add lemon AND loomi and that's what makes this kabsa complete.

It's probably worth noting that kabsa will still taste delicious without it, but seriously if you have an international food store anyway near your area you think might carry it just TRY IT. I was weirded out at first until I got up the courage to test it out on a huge pot of food, and as I said I'll never go back!

Yield: Serves 3-4 people

30 large shrimp, thawed with tales removed
1 bell pepper
1 large onion 
½ large cucumber
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tablespoons fish masala (a mixture of garam masala and curry will substitute, or baharat, if not available in your area)
½ teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon basil
2 teaspoons salt
Sprinkle of ground cinnamon
1 small (5.5 oz) can of tomato paste
Oil for frying
3 cups of basmati rice
A few squirts of lemon juice for each plate

Chop onion, cucumber and bell pepper into bite-sized pieces.

Heat oil in a large pot. Add onions and cook till translucent, followed by garlic.

Add bell pepper and cucumber.

Stir in thawed shrimp and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat.

Mix in all the spices and tomato paste. Pour in 3 cups of water and reduce to a low boil. Add loomi and cover for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour rice in with an extra 1½ cups of water. Bring to a boil, then cover on low heat until rice is cooked.

Serve and squirt each dish with a bit of lemon juice. I also like to take the loomi and squeeze all the juices it acquired onto the plates as well. 


Post by McKayla

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