The Gazan playwright and author Ahmed Masoud introduced me to this dish, which embodies the fiery, garlicky and dill-infused cooking of the Gaza Strip. Traditionally baked in a clay pot, I’ve adapted this recipe for the hob. As varieties of chilli can differ in strength, add them in stages until the sauce has the right level of heat for you.
- Heat the cooking oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry for about 10 minutes, until softened. Then add the tomatoes, sugar, spices and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper, with 3/4 cup/200ml just-boiled water.
- Smash the garlic, dill, chillies and 1/2 teaspoon salt together in a mortar and pestle for a few minutes. This releases the oils from the chillies and herbs and makes them more fragrant. Add to the tomato pan, cover and simmer for 20 minutes over a low heat.
- Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds by placing them in a dry pan and stirring over a medium heat for a few minutes until they turn golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- When the sauce is ready, taste and adjust the seasoning (you may want to add a pinch more sugar or a bit more chilli). Finally, add the shrimp—making sure they are submerged and turning them if necessary—cooking for about 2 minutes, or until they have just turned pink and are cooked through.
- To serve, drizzle with a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil and scatter with the sesame seeds and chopped parsley.
Yasmin Khan is a food and travel writer, broadcaster and author of the best-selling and critically acclaimed travel cookbooks The Saffron Tales (Bloomsbury 2016), Zaitoun (Norton 2019), and Ripe Figs (2021).