Recipe: Bahraini Shrimp Balls (Chebeh Rubyan)

Bahraini Shrimp Balls

Serves 4

Shrimp balls blend the flavors of the Middle East with India. Though these are traditionally stuffed with minced onion, I prefer the simplicity of unfilled balls. If you like spicy food, add a sprinkle of cayenne. The way the recipe stands, however, this dish is mild, but wonderfully flavorful.

TIP: Use the cheapest shrimp because you are just going to puree it anyway.


1 lb cleaned shrimp
1 Tbsp cilantro
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 – 1 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown rice flour

1/3 cup ghee or butter
1 onion, minced

baharat powder:

1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp cardamom

the rind of 1/2 a lemon, grated
1 tsp tamarind paste
1 cups warm water
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 Tbsp sugar


For the shrimp balls:

1. In a food processor blend into a paste shrimp, cilantro, turmeric, salt, and rice flour. Chill until needed.

Cheap shrimp is ideal for this recipe

Puree, hopefully using a bigger processor than I have!

I had to add the flour last because my food processor was too small

The shrimp mixture, ready to shape

For the sauce:

2. In a skillet with high sides, saute minced onion in ghee or butter until soft and golden. Add baharat spices, lemon rind, tamarind paste, water, tomatoes, chili, powder, and sugar. Cover and simmer while preparing shrimp balls, about 30 minutes.

The spices make this dish!

Adding the tamarind paste (has a lemony flavor)

NOTE: This sauce is much better the longer you cook it.

Assembling the shrimp balls:

1. For each shrimp ball, take 1-2 Tbsp shrimp mixture and form into a ball.

Make these smaller if you don't want to cut them with a knife

TIP: Keep your hands wet to prevent shrimp mixture from sticking to your hands.

2. Add shrimp to simmering sauce and cook for about 20 minutes covered. Serve with rice.

Adding shrimp balls to sauce

Mulhammar goes great with spicy eggplant and Shrimp Balls


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  1. Arunah says:

    Congratulations !
    This Bahraini meal looks absolutely fantastic !

  2. Brian S. says:

    So when do you add the tamarind paste to the sauce? The recipe doesn’t tell you. Do you think this sauce would be good with regular meatballs? Congrats on another great meal!

    • Oops, thanks for catching that! I fixed the recipe. It goes in with the water and tomatoes.

      I’m not sure about regular meatballs – maybe if they were spiced up as well… I bet the sauce would be good with lamb.

  3. Second time I have made this dish, taking it to a wine party tonight. I enjoy your blog, I am cooking my way through the countries as well. I have used many of your recipes. Thanks for all the research and hard work you have put into it.

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