kousa mahshi (Stuffed zucchini)

Kousa mahshi is a traditional Levantine dish that consists of zucchinis that have been cored and filled with a mixture of rice and minced meat. The best zucchini to use for this recipe is the small, green variety.

Hollow out the zucchini using a vegidrill, which is a tool like a long apple corer designed for this purpose.

The rice-and-meat filling is usually flavored with ghee, fried onions, pine nuts, and herbs and spices such as (coriander, parsley, cumin, and black pepper). Once stuffed, the zucchinis are typically simmered in water or broth (often tomato-based), while sometimes they can also be fried before the cooking process.

There are many versions of this specialty, including kousa mihshi bi bandoura (stuffed zucchinis with tomato sauce) and kousa mihshi bi laban (stuffed zucchinis with yogurt sauce), and there are also vegetarian versions that use chickpeas instead of minced meat for the filling.

Stuffed zucchinis are typically eaten as a main dish or a side, and they are usually served with accompaniments such as lemon wedges, salad, or yogurt.

The plate with meat is served hot, as a main course. The meatless recipe is considered an "olive-oil dish" and is often eaten warm.


 2 kg small zucchini, approximately 10 cm long

1/2 kg ground beef

1 cup short grain rice

2 tablespoons mint

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)

 Cooking Liquid:

  2 tablespoons olive oil

  1/2cup onion, finely diced

  2 cloves garlic, minced

  4 tablespoon tomato paste or 3 large fresh tomatoes, diced

  2 teaspoons salt

  1 teaspoon black pepper

   Chopped fresh parsley and/or mint, garnish (optional)


1- Wash zucchini and slice off the stem end.  leaving 1/2 inch walls, careful not to pierce the shell or the end. Making a hole at the end of each zucchini with the corer, repeatedly digging in gently, twisting and  Set aside zucchini

2- Add all the ingredients for the stuffing and mix well in a medium size bowl  . Stuff the zucchini with the meat mixture leaving about 1 inch of the end open – so the mixture has room to expand.

2- Heat a large skillet or pot on medium-high heat. Add oil and minced garlic and saute about 1 minute, careful not to burn. Add the diced tomato with juices and tomato paste. Stir to incorporate tomato paste. Add salt and black pepper. Arrange stuffed zucchini in the pot.

3- Add water to cover, so that zucchini are submerged. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium simmer. Cook for about 40 minutes until the zucchini are tender when pierced with a fork.

4-Gently remove and serve hot with the tomato broth. Garnish with fresh parsley or mint. And, also serve with plain yogurt.


Hamsa Zughib