‘Little Tommy' koussa

‘Little Tommy' koussa

Lauren Bamford

Koussa is typically made with a rice and minced lamb filling, however Dolores and I recognised the need for more vegetarian options for our customers. Hence, our meat-free ‘Little Tommy’ koussa was born. Eaten hot or at room temperature, this dish can be served simply with a dollop of yoghurt and some fresh Lebanese bread. For best results you will need a specialised utensil called a manakra (see note) to remove the core of the marrow prior to filling them. If you can't find one, you can use an apple corer, but it won't be as easy to use.


Quantity Ingredient
10 small baby marrows or zucchini
1 x 400g tin diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons tomato paste
see method for ingredients, to serve (optional but highly recommended)
or greek-style yoghurt, to serve (optional but highly recommended)
fresh lebanese flatbread, to serve (optional)


Quantity Ingredient
220g dried split chickpeas
200g long-grain rice
2 tomatoes, diced
1 onion, diced
3 large handfuls flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1 handful mint, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon see method for ingredients
2 tablespoons lemon juice
80ml olive oil


  1. To make the stuffing, first place the split chickpeas in a bowl and cover with cold water. Leave to soak overnight then drain. Combine with the remaining ingredients and set aside.
  2. Wash the marrows under running water. Cut off the ends to expose the core. Carefully mark out circles around the exposed cores using a manakra tool, then use the tool to hollow out the marrows.
  3. Half-fill each marrow with the stuffing, pushing it gently into the centre, being careful not to overfill (or the marrow may burst during cooking).
  4. Tip the the tinned tomatoes into the bottom of a large saucepan. Place the marrows on top, sprinkle with the salt and cover with cold water. Mix in the tomato paste and bring to the boil over medium heat. Simmer for 45 minutes until the marrows are tender.
  5. Serve in a bowl with the sauce, a dollop of labne or yoghurt and a side of fresh flatbread.


  • A manakra resembles a long, thin apple corer. You can buy them from Middle Eastern grocers.
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