Kousa Mahshi in Arabic simply translated to stuffed Courgette, Zucchini or squash. This recipe can be made Vegetarian or Non Vegetarian. I’ve used Beef in this recipe, but you can easily use Lamb or Mutton. Earlier this month I took an all day workshop at the the Deppanuer’s project Newcomer Kitchen. Here Syrian women use the kitchen space each week to create meals for sale. The profits are shared aong the family. They not only get to make a small earning but they also get to have some fun in the kitchen and make new friends. On Thanksgiving Monday, they offered an all day workshop and I didn’t hesitate to sign up to spend my day with these amazing women learning their home style Syrian cooking.
The Zucchini is hollowed out using a traditional tool called the manakra and then stuffed with a mixture of spiced meat, tomatoes and rice. It’s then cooked in a spiced tomato bath till tender and the rice and meat is cooked. Spices like Aleppo peppers, Pomegranate molasses, dried Mint & Sumac give this dish it’s very authentic taste. And of course, nothing is wasted, the pulp is collected after the Zucchini is hollowed out and turned into a delicious dip with Garlic, Yogurt, Tahini, Lemon and spices called Mutabal Kousa.
Kousa Mahshi – Stuffed Zucchini


  • 4 straight, short Zucchini
  • 1/4 cup short grain Calrose rice, washed & drained
  • 1/4 lb medium ground meat
  • 2 tsps dried Mint
  • 2 tsps Aleppo peppers
  • 1 tsp Arabic all spice
  • 1/4 cup chopped Parsley
  • 2 tsps crushed garlic
  • 2 Potatoes sliced
  • 400 ml canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2 cups water


  1. Cut the caps off the Zucchini and reserve
  2. Hollow out the Zucchini using a Manakra or a Zucchini corer
  3. Shave the sides of the cap with a veggie peeler so it’s narrow enough to push into the Zucchini to seal it
  4. Wash & drain the rice
  5. In a bowl, add the meat, garlic, 1 tsp each dried Mint, Aleppo peppers, All spice, Pomegranate Molasses, Salt & Pepper & chopped Parsley to taste and mix everything together well
  6. Add the rice and mix again
  7. Stuff the Zucchini with the mixture, tapping the Zucchini on the counter to eliminate air pockets
  8. Fill till little over 3/4 full