Koussa mahshi

Koussa mahshi

By
From
Arabesque
Photographer
William Meppem

This is probably one of the most popular home-cooked Lebanese family meals. Ideally choose baby marrow, which are squat and bulbous – they are easy to hollow out. Zucchini work well too, but require a little patience and a long thin knife (like a fish filleting knife) to scrape out the insides, while maintaining the whole long shape of the vegetable. Koussa makes a simple supper dish, served with a big blob of thick creamy yoghurt.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
8 baby marrows

Stuffing

Quantity Ingredient
250g lamb mince
125g long-grain rice
3/4 teaspoon allspice
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup cold water

Sauce

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
1 can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
400ml water
salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Method

  1. Trim off the marrows at the narrow end. With a melon baller or a long, thin knife, carefully hollow out the insides of each marrow. The idea is to have as thin a shell as possible, but without piercing the skin. Reserve the pulp for the sauce.
  2. To make the stuffing, use wet hands to mix the lamb mince, rice, black pepper, salt, extra-virgin olive oil and cold water. Divide the mixture into 8 portions and loosely stuff each marrow about three-quarters full, which leaves space for expansion during cooking.
  3. Melt the butter with the oil and gently sauté the onion for about 5 minutes, until it is soft and translucent. Then add the garlic and mint. Cook for a few more minutes, then add the roughly chopped marrow pulp, followed by the tomatoes, tomato paste and water. Season with salt, pepper and additional spices. Stir well.
  4. Place marrows in the sauce and bring to the boil. Then cover and simmer over a low heat for 40–45 minutes. About 10 minutes towards the end of the cooking time, remove the lid and raise the heat to reduce the sauce by a quarter.
Tags:
Middle East
Middle Eastern
Arabic
Arabian
Arabesque
Greg
Lucy
Malouf
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