Serves 6 to 8 

We visited Oman during one summer, and it was so hot that practically nothing happened during the day. When the sun finally went down, we were delighted to find that many little mishkak stands that sell kebabs were open then. In Muscat, Oman, we were told that the best food was in fact in an area by the airport known for its street stalls. There we saw vendor after vendor with the same thing: kofta (ground meat) and regular kebabs. What stuck out above all the other tastes were the shrimp kebabs we got at one stand—they had a kind of fire to them.

We were determined to get the recipe from the very confused proprietor, who gamely entertained our many questions while we scribbled down notes in the dark, but mostly he couldn’t fathom why we cared so much. Between our notes and what we managed to communicate between us using only the common language of food, we figured out that their marinade included tamarind, lime, and local chiles. A bit of trial and error upon our return to DC led to this recipe for the best grilled shrimp I’ve ever had. I love using dried black limes, which add a zesty sourness to dishes and drinks. These limes are dried whole, and many of them turn black during the process, though don’t be alarmed if you see much paler ones. They can be found whole and ground in Lebanese, Persian, and Indian grocery stores and online. Before grinding whole limes yourself, break them up first by crushing them under a heavy pot.


  • 1 quart (960 ml) grapeseed or canola oil

    TST-Maydan Bookcover Maydan Rose Previte
  • 6 whole dried arbol or guajillo chiles, stems removed

  • 7 dried black limes

  • 10 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 3 tablespoons tamarind paste or concentrate

  • 3 pounds (1.4 kg) peeled, tail-on (16/20) shrimp

  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon), for serving

  • Lime wedges, for serving

Equipment: 10 to 12 skewers; if bamboo or wood, soak them in water for 30 minutes before using.


In a blender combine the oil, chiles, dried black limes, and garlic. Blend until the ingredients are very well broken down, so that there are no big chunks of lime or garlic. Add the tamarind paste and pulse until well combined. Set aside ½ cup (120 ml) of the marinade. 

Place the shrimp in a large bowl and pour the remaining marinade over them. Stir gently so that all of the shrimp are coated in marinade. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and no more than 3 hours.

Prepare a medium-high grill. 

Thread the shrimp on the skewers, being careful not to push them too close together. Grill for 1 to 2 minutes per side, until the shrimp are opaque and pink. Remove them from the grill and brush them with the remaining marinade. 

Sprinkle with flaky salt and serve with lime wedges.

 “Recipe excerpt from the new book Maydān: Recipes from Lebanon and Beyond by Rose Previte and Marah Stets. Text © 2023 by Rose Previte. Photos copyright © 2023 by Jennifer Chase. Published by Abrams.”

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