Lebanese Stuffed Zucchini- Kousa
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Lebanese Stuffed Zucchini also known as Kousa Mahshi is a one of my favorite Lebanese comfort foods. In this dish, zucchini is cored and stuffed with a perfect spiced ground beef and rice mixture, then simmered with a rich tomato sauce which gives it tons of flavor.
What is Kousa?
Kousa translates to zucchini or squash in Arabic. It is also known as Lebanese zucchini- light green in color and small and wide in shape. You often find it at farmer’s market in summer time, or at Middle Eastern grocery stores. I love adding Kousa to my soups and stir fries.
What you Need to Make Lebanese Stuffed Zucchini:
Tomato paste/tomato sauce
Medium grain rice
Lean ground beef
Ground black pepper
How to Make Lebanese Stuffed Zucchini- Kousa Mahchi:
Core the zucchini:
Wash and dry the zucchinis, cut off the stalks and slice off the dried tips at the opposite end without removing too much skin.
Carefully hollow out the zucchini. Start from the stalk end by inserting your corer about 3/4 of the way into the zucchini, making sure not to poke the bottoms or the tender skin of the zucchinis as you hollow. Twist the corer and pull out the zucchini flesh. Do this a few times, until you have a generous cavity. Some have found success using an apple corer to hollow out their zucchinis, I personally prefer the old fashioned way using a regular corer. You can also use an electric veggie corer drill.
Make the Stuffing:
In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly mix the stuffing ingredients of rice, ground beef, butter, fresh blended tomatoes, spices and salt until fully combined (I do this by hand).
Stuff the zucchini:
Using your hands stuff the zucchini with the beef mixture, leaving half of an inch free at the top to allow the filling to expand. Repeat for the rest of the hollowed zucchinis.
Cook the Kousa:
Arrange the stuffed zucchinis in a large pot, add water, just enough to slightly cover the zucchinis. Cover the pot, place on medium-high heat, and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium- low, cover the pot and simmer for 45 minutes or until the zucchini is tender and the rice stuffing is fully cooked.
To serve Kousa:
Transfer zucchinis to a serving platter and top with tomato sauce. Enjoy with pita bread and a side salad.
Tips for Making Lebanese Stuffed Zucchini:
- Allow the zucchinis to come to room temperature before coring, this will make the zucchinis less fragile and less prone to damage while coring.
- Reserve the zucchini flesh for other recipes, such as omelets or frittatas.
- If Lebanese zucchini is not available near you, you can use dark green zucchinis. You will have to cut each zucchini in half and hollow each side out.