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Kousa mahshi (stuffed zucchini) recipe

Updated: Mar 23, 2021

Rice and meat-stuffed zucchini cooked in mint, garlic, tomato and lemon sauce; a delicious, traditional Syrian recipe passed on from my head chef (mother!).

For the zucchini you'll need a good corer. I used the 'veggie drill twister' which you can find at Tavola UAE or Amazon- worth every penny!!!

Prep time: 45 mins

Cooking time: 1h 15 mins

Servings: 4

Zucchini stuffing:

250 gr minced beef

11-12 medium zucchinis

1 cup of short grain rice, washed

1/2 tbsp mint

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp chopped tomato

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/2 tsp black pepper or 7 spices

Squeeze of lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Butter (optional, in case meat is not fatty)


1/2 tbsp mint

1/2 lemon

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 tbsp tomato paste

  1. Cut off the top & bottom ends of the zucchini; with a sharp knife scrape shallow, vertical lines along the zucchini skin to help the sauce get absorbed

  2. Hollow out the zucchini from the stalk end by pushing and turning the corer

  3. Keep hollowing until you have generous core inside (reserve the zucchini flesh for another dish such as 'mtawameh' or omelette)

  4. Combine the zucchini stuffing ingredients

  5. Fill each zucchini with the stuffing leaving 1 cm free at the top to allow the filling to expand. If you have any leftover stuffing shape it into meatballs or stuff them in a bell pepper

  6. Place the zucchinis in a big pot horizontally; fill the pot with hot water until the zucchinis are covered and season with salt

  7. Place a heavy plate on top to keep the zucchinis in place, close the lid and cook on low heat for 45 mins (my heat was on 3/9).

  8. Prepare the sauce in half a cup of water, remove the plate and add the sauce mix into the pot

  9. Simmer over low heat for another 30 mins with the lid covered (if required uncover later to allow the sauce to reduce)

  10. Serve the stuffed zucchini with a little of the sauce and a side of yoghurt!

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