This Lebanese-cuisine inspired Koussa Mahshi or Stuffed Zucchini with a blend of Mediterranean spices, served hot with fresh warm flat bread, is a treat to be relished.
Small whole zucchini is cut at stem end, cored, stuffed and stewed in tomato-based sauce.
I had fairly large zucchinis and scooping out the core seemed tricky, so, I cut them in half and made little zucchini cylinders/tubes. One half of each zucchini is open at both ends, the other half is open only at one end.
Of course, this means, stuffing is not going to be contained inside and will definitely ooze out when cooked, but, the whole blend in the pot with the softened zucchini cylinders, the sauce, and the aromatic rice stuffing came together nicely in the end.
I used the left over stuffing from Swiss Chard Dolmas.
5 or 6 small zucchinis, stem-end trimmed, cored
For the stuffing:
(see Swiss Chard Dolmas)
For the sauce:
12 oz tomato sauce
1 medium onion, diced finely
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried mint (or about 12 to 15 mint leaves chopped finely)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 pod of cardamom, crushed
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper powder
1 tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp ground cumin
water and salt as needed
Stuff the zucchini and keep handy
Bring the sauce to a simmer in a large pot and arrange the filled zucchini cylinders, cover and simmer over low heat till zucchini is tender and cooked just enough, but not mushy.