Mahshi kousa (which is Arabic for stuffed zucchini) is a delicious summer dish! Zucchini is hollowed out and stuffed with a rice and meat mixture and then added to a crushed tomato broth. In Lebanon, it's a popular dish in the summer (even though it's eaten hot) mostly because it's the time when people can pick their grown zucchini to make this dish.
It's not challenging to cook and the only tedious part is hollowing out the zucchini. You always have the option of hollowing them out the night before you plan on cooking mahshi kousa to save time. Here's a helpful tip for when you hollow out your zucchini: make sure they are room-temperature (zucchini will break easier if it is cold).
Remember, when it comes to Lebanese food, all the time and effort put into cooking a dish is always so worth it!
1. Hollow out the zucchini (save two cups of the insides for this yummy recipe here)
-Cut both tips of the zucchini (as shown in the pictures below). To hollow out, Eva uses a tool she has from Lebanon which is found in most Middle Eastern stores or a small scooper will do. Insert your tool into the zucchini and gently hollow it bit by bit. This will keep you from breaking the zucchini. If you do break one - no worries - save it and we will tell you how to fix it towards the end of the recipe!
2. Add all ingredients (except for zucchini and crushed tomato) to a bowl and mix together to make your hashweh (filling)
3. Stuff the zucchinis halfway with the hashweh (give room for meat and rice to cook) and place in a deep pot
4. Add 6 cups of water over zucchini and bring to boil on medium heat
5. Once boiling, set timer for 10 minutes
7. After 10 minutes, add crushed tomatoes to pot and gently stir to not break the zucchini, add 1 tablespoon of salt and bring back to boil
8. Once sauce starts to boil set timer for another 10 minutes (good time to taste to see if extra salt is needed) after 5 minutes, simmer on low heat
*If you have a zucchini that breaks in the process of hollowing it, you can use a toothpick to keep it together like in these photos: (stuff it before you place your toothpick)