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Winter Food Inspo - Stuffed zucchini (Koussa Mehshi)
As a child, Koussa Mehshi was a regular feature on our dining table - a traditional Lebanese dish (and a family favourite in the winter). I used to love watching my mother coring the zucchinis - placing the cored zucchini in one bucket and the zucchini flesh into a bowl. Ahhh, the memories.
There are 2 versions of this dish - stuffed with either meat and rice, or rice and herbs (for a vegan version) - both options are delicious. And the sauce can be either onion and tomatoes stewed, or pomegranate molasses and water. (I prefer the tomato stew version for winter).
To start with, steam the zucchinis a couple of minutes till tender, cut them in half lengthwise and core them with a small spoon (buy them from any kitchenware store). Keep the zucchini flesh (Lib el Kousa) for another recipe (see below for more details) - you get 2 dishes with one vegetable.
- 1 pound of Lebanese zucchinis
- 1/3 pound of ground beef (fatty is better)
- spices: 1 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp of allspice, 1/4 tsp of black pepper, 1/4 tsp of paprika
- 1 large onion
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes or 3 or 4 large tomatoes, diced OR 1/4 cup of pomegranate molasses diluted in 1 1/2 cup of water
- 3 cloves of garlic (optional)
- 3 tbsp of olive oil
- Wash the zucchinis and remove the small cap from one end; core with a veggie corer or split in half and core with a spoon. Set the flesh aside for other dishes.
- Mix the meat and spices; chop the onion. Heat the olive oil and fry the onion till golden; add the meat and brown. Drain and stuff the zucchini with the meat. Gently fry the zucchini in a film of grease left on the skillet till golden; add the tomatoes and about enough water to come half-way up the zucchinis or the pomegranate juice. Cover the skillet and simmer gently 25 minutes or so. (You can also bake in a 160c oven for that same amount of time). Serve warm with pita bread or some rice.
Eating Zucchini flesh, is typical growing up in a family with a Lebanese background.
Lib el Kousa translates to flesh of the zucchini. Once you core the zucchini, you end up with a mound of golden flesh. This recipe is super easy and tangy. A perfect dip that you can eat with Lebanese bread.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED FOR THIS RECIPE:
- Zucchinis / gray squash
- Olive oil
- Dried mint
ZUCCHINI FLESH RECIPE TIPS
- Flesh from zucchini naturally contains a lot of water. Ensure you remove as much water excess as you possible can to avoid this dish being soggy - you can do this by simply squeezing out the excess.
- Serve with Lebanese bread, eat it as a dip.
- Add this recipe to your toast for breakfast (I love this as an alternative to store bought toppings)
- Lib el Kousa can be eaten as part of a mezza or on it's own and can be enjoyed anytime of the day
Sahtain! (To your health!)