Maygu Sabzi Recipe

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!

Serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 as a main

  • teaspoons saffron threads, crushed into powder in a pestle and mortar
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons warm water
  • leeks, whites and tender green parts only, halved, thinly sliced into half-moon shapes and washed well
  • cup herbs of your choice (I use cilantro, leaves and stems; Italian flat-leaf parsley, leaves only; and mint, leaves only)
  • tablespoons olive oil
  • pound shrimp, shell on, deveined, and washed
  • 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.