One-Pot Wonders

Maygu Sabzi (Persian-Style Saffron Shrimp with Leeks & Herbs)

June  7, 2016
4 Ratings
Photo by shayma
  • Serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 as a main
Author Notes

This dish, which can be enjoyed as an appetizer with crusty bread or as a main dish with steamed basmati rice—will make you fall in love with Persian saffron. If you are serving it as a main dish for 4 people, I would double the recipe. You can use any herb you like—that's the beauty . Make sure to peel and eat the shrimps with your hands, without cutlery—it's more enjoyable that way! —shayma

What You'll Need
  • 2 teaspoons saffron threads, crushed into powder in a pestle and mortar
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons warm water
  • 2 leeks, whites and tender green parts only, halved, thinly sliced into half-moon shapes and washed well
  • 1 cup herbs of your choice (I use cilantro, leaves and stems; Italian flat-leaf parsley, leaves only; and mint, leaves only)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound shrimp, shell on, deveined, and washed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • sea salt, to taste
  1. Divide saffron powder in two. To one portion, add the warm water, stir, and set aside. Leave the other batch as is, in powdered form. You will use it later.
  2. Pat leeks dry before you begin to cook.
  3. Chop herbs finely and set aside.
  4. Place a large frying pan (I use a 12-inch) on the stove over medium heat and add oil.
  5. When oil is hot and glistening, add leeks and sauté till they begin to wilt a bit, just about 5 to 7 minutes. Do not brown or overcook leeks.
  6. Turn heat to medium-high and add shrimps and saffron water. Sauté till the shrimp shells turn pink, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add herbs, gently stir to combine, take pan off stove, and set aside.
  7. Working very quickly (you don’t want the shrimps to completely cool down), place a small saucepan or frying pan on high heat and add butter. As soon as butter begins to melt, add the reserved powdered saffron, stir and pour this saffron-butter over shrimps. Gently stir to combine.
  8. Sprinkle sea salt on top and serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • kgw
  • Smaug
  • neighome
  • hookmountaingrowers
Shayma Saadat is a cookery teacher, food writer, stylist and photographer who focuses on the food of her heritage - Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, which she refers to as Silk Route cuisine. Shayma lives in Toronto with her husband and son. You can follow her culinary journey on Instagram @SpiceSpoon.

4 Reviews

neighome February 13, 2022
This has become my go to for shrimp; I love it! The quantities are a bit imprecise, but that just makes it flexile and easy to improvise with.
kgw October 14, 2017
What is the "best" way to de-vein a shell-on shrimp? I've heard of slipping a skewer under the aft-most shell segment, but did not have great luck...No doubt more practice is needed!
Smaug June 16, 2016
The amount of saffron and the amount and nature of the herbs are too vague to have more than a very general notion of what you're making here. Saffron is pretty hard to measure- short of counting threads or using a laboratory grade scale, you just have to use your judgement. A "cup of herbs" tells you almost nothing.
hookmountaingrowers June 12, 2016
Delicious! Uses a lot of saffron but it's delicious. Served over Persian rice and Tah Diq.