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Bring some of the water to the boil, with salt.
Meanwhile, wash the shrimps really well. Cook them in boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Set aside to cool until the temperature allows you to handle the shrimps.
Drain and shell them, keeping the liquor and the shells, which you then mash, using a pestle and mortar. (This will help extract all their juices and flavour.)
Boil the mashed shells and the chillies, if using them, in the remaining water for 8-10 minutes. Drain, discard the shells (and chillies), keep the liquor.
Meantime, fry the onion and all the other ingredients (except the peeled shrimps) in the oil, over a low heat. Add the strained liquor (both lots) to the fried mixture. Bring to the boil and add the flour, mixed into a paste in a little cold water.
Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring, until it thickens. Add the shrimps. Boil again, correct the seasonings and serve over the cubes of bread.
1lb shrimps 450g
1 large tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped
3 sprigs parsley, chopped
1 bay leaf
4tbsp olive oil
4cups water 2pt/1.12l
4 medium slices of stale or fried bread, cubed
salt & pepper
a few chillies (optional)