Cousa Mashi - Arabic Stuffed Zucchini

Total Time
2hrs 30mins
Prep 1 hr
Cook 1 hr 30 mins

Cousa Mashi is what you serve the guests you like the most. A bit time consuming to make, but the results are worthwhile. While it is called cousa mashi, you should include some small eggplants and a couple green peppers for variety and to make the sauce taste amazing. Cousa is a squash like zucchini but lighter in color. You could substitute zucchini for cousa. The size for the vegetables should be from 4 to 5 inches long. The recipe comes from my Jordanian mother-in-law, who is renown for her wonderful cooking. In this part of the world, a generous person is also generous with the right spices.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Soak the rice in warm water for at least 1/2 an hour.
  2. Drain rice and mix together with ground meat, spices and olive oil.
  3. Cut the tops off of the cousa and eggplant. Discard.
  4. Core cousa and eggplant scraping out the insides so 1/4 inch is left all around. (Insides of cousa can be saved for making cousa mutabbal. See end of recipe).
  5. Carefully cut tops of off green peppers so they can be replaced after stuffing.
  6. Clean insides of green peppers.
  7. Stuff vegetables with rice mixture leaving some room for the rice to expand when cooked.
  8. Fill large pot with vegetables.
  9. Cut tomatoes to fill blender.
  10. Add 2/3 blender with water.
  11. Add tomato paste and salt.
  12. Mix in blender until smooth.
  13. Pour tomato sauce over vegetables.
  14. Add more water if necessary to cover vegatables.
  15. Cook, uncovered, at a simmer for one and a half hours or until vegetables are soft and rice is done. As long as the sauce is there, you can cook slowly for a longer period for a tastier dish.
  16. Occasionally cover with additional water to keep sauce from drying out.
  17. Add crushed garlic and mint to pot for a few minutes.
  18. Serve stuffed vegetables on a tray.
  19. Put sauce in a serving bowl to be added if desired.
  20. Note: Do not put a lid on the vegetables until they are completely cool or they may burst open.
  21. Cousa Mutabbal, a salad served like hummus, can be made by simmering the contents of the cousa in a small saucepan until cooked. Add a little tahini, yogurt, salt and pepper. Serve with olive oil and crushed dried mint on top. Eat with pita bread.
  22. Fettat Cousa, a dish served in a 9x13 pan, can be served alongside as well, by tearing up small pieces of bread, generally pita, covered by the tomato sauce from the cousa mashi. Then cover with a sauce of yogurt, garlic, and salt. Top with pinenuts fried in olive oil (along with the oil).


Most Helpful

I LOVE this recipe. I cooked it for my Jordanian husband and his sisters and they were impressed. I have used it many times over since then and decided to come back and rate it. I follow it pretty closely. You can easily substitute canned tomato sauce instead of real tomatoes without much difference. GREAT recipe, thank you for sharing!!

amanda_walter December 23, 2013

i used this recipe as my base i only used 1 tsp of salt and added 1 tsp of cinnamon. I also took a short cut and used regular tomato sauce. Turned out very good.

Hope's in the kitchen October 22, 2012

3 1/2 stars. DH liked it. This was the first time I have made Cousa Mashi with tomatoes rather than a stock only. I used a bit less basmati rice & cut down on the salt. I omitted the turmeric out of a preference for this dish as well as because I wanted to mix the meat and rice with my hands and not become yellow. I did add the saffron and used only zucchini because of an allergy to eggplants and distaste for peppers. My ground beef was regular but I definitely recommend lean in this for more than one reason one being all the fat goes into the sauce. I used canned crushed tomatoes (like a sauce) in replacement of fresh tomatoes and sure that it would probably be better using fresh ones. To add more flavour I used my homeade chicken stock instead of water and fresh mint. I think I would try another recipe if I wanted to make Cousa Mashi in tomato sauce again though resort back to this if I couldnt find one.

UmmBinat April 30, 2009

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