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My great grandparents are from Lebanon and I am learning to make all of the wonderful recipes they have passed down through the family. As I learn, I will post and share here. The Stuffing for the squash can be used to stuff Bell Peppers, Tomato, or as the filling for cabbage or grape leaf rolls. My father lives rather close and so I use him as the taste tester. He commented that the Koosa was the most flavorful he's had in a while. Note: Unless you have about twice as many squash, or want to also stuff a bunch of green bell peppers, you may want to halve the stuffing recipe. I had a ton left over. You will need to be able to cover the squash with a bit of water in whatever pan you choose, so a deep frying pan or a shallow pot will work. Keep in mind that all the squash will need to be able to sit in the bottom of the pan, not on top of each other.
- 7 -8 yellow squash (Koosa)
- 1 cup rice (Basmati Preferred, White rice will work)
- 1 1⁄2 lbs ground lamb
- 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1⁄2 onion (yellow is milder, white has more bite)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon allspice
- lemon juice
- 1 pinch mint
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Cut stems from squash and scoop out seeds. Because of the small size of the squash, you may twirl a knife in the flesh to scrape the seeds. The most effective method is to take a flat handle silver spoon and use the handle end to scrape out the seeds. You may rinse out the inside with water.
- Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat.
- Slice onion and add to hot olive oil.
- Let fry for about 3-5 minutes while you make the stuffing.
- In a large bowl, combine lamb, rice, and spices. The best method is to get in it with your hands and just smoosh and mix without any sort of utensils.
- Add cans of tomato sauce and diced tomato to the onions.
- Stuff squash with mixture. Leave about a half inch to a quarter inch of room at the end as the rice will expand. Also, do not pack too tightly as the expanding rice will break the squash.
- Add the stuffed squashes to the pan.
- Chop the garlic cloves into fine pieces and sprinkle between the squash in the pan.
- Add water to just cover the squash and let simmer over medium heat for 40 minutes.
- Squeeze a few drops fresh lemon juice over squash and sprinkle a pinch of mint.
- Allow to cook another 10 minutes or so.
- **Note** I have made this several more times and revised only the cooking time slightly. I found it somewhat easier to cut the squashes in half from the start. Additionally, I always test the filling to make sure the rice is fully cooked.
I absolutely love this dish! I had a girlfriend from Lebanon who's grandmother gave me her recipe. Just like this one. I make it with zuchini or yellow squash! 5 Stars!!
thank you so much for posting. i once had this at someones place and it was delicious. unfortunately, i never wrote the recipe down and couldn't work out the nationality of the dish because she was of a very varied background - lebanese,egyptian, greek, macedonian, to name a few! i can't wait to try this dish. thanks again.
I had a Lebanese neighbor many years ago who taught me how to make Koosa. I have made it many times since then and this one sounds exactly like the one she taught me. I don't care for lamb so I have always used ground beef instead. Thanks for posting.