kousa bi laban (Zucchinis in yogurt)

kousa bi laban or Zucchinis in yogurt  is a traditional and delicious syrian and Middle Eastern main dish specally in Ramadan.

It is Cored and stuffed baby zucchini, filled with herbal spiced rice mixtures and cooked in a garlicky yogurt sauce. The sauce is a combination of Arabic laban, which is fermented sheep’s milk and regular full-fat yogurt, giving it a really unctuous flavor. If you can’t find sheep’s milk yogurt, using 100% regular full-fat yogurt works as well.

In south Syrians, it is called (kousa mehshi) and in the south is (sheikh al mehshi), but both of them are cooked exactly the same.

 

 

Ingredients:

- 1 kg baby zucchini

- 1 kg ground meat

- 2 medium-cup rise, rinsed until water runs clear

- 2 tsp 7 spices

- 2 Tbsp dried mint, divided

- 1 Tbsp safflower

- 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp minced garlic

- salt

- 2 tsp black pepper

- 1 kg yogurt

- 1/4 c corn starch

- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil

- A couple sprigs of fresh mint for garnish


 

Instructions:

- Prepare the baby zucchini by coring them with a corer

- In a large mixing bowl, combine the rinsed rice, meat, 7 spices, 1 Tbsp dried mint, 1 tsp minced garlic, safflower, salt and pepper.

- Put the filling into the baby zucchini until about 3/4 of the way full.

- Bring the water to a boil and add 1 Tbsp of garlic and 1 Tbsp dried mint. Add the stuffed zucchini, cover, reduce to simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

- Drain the zucchini, reserving the liquid.

- Combine the corn starch with 2 Tbsp water.. add yogurt, cornstarch and water mixture and vegetable oil and cook over high heat, whisking constantly, until it comes to a boil. Then, add the stuffed zucchini, and cook for about 15 minutes.

- Place in a large serving bowl and garnish with fresh mint. Be sure not to cover the yogurt until completely cool.

 

Lara Khouli

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