What is cousa?

Cousa is a light colored squash in the summer squash family. It can be used just like zucchini and the taste is similar. Originally from the Middle East, it can be found in a lot of Lebanese and Syrian recipes. This is one of our favorites. For vegetarians, sub chickpeas for the beef and veggie broth for chicken broth.


Stuffed Zucchini in Yogurt Sauce – Kousa bel Laban

From Scent of Syria, 2011

1½ kg small sized zucchini or cousa
200 g ground beef
1 cup short grain rice*
2 cubes chicken broth
3 crushed gloves of garlic
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon dry mint
1 teaspoon salt
1 small onion finely chopped (optional)

*It’s also nice to add pine nuts!

4 cups of plain yogurt
1 egg
1 ½ tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dry mint
½ teaspoon coriander

1. Hollow out each zucchini, using a special utensil (found in Middle Eastern Food stores) or an apple corer, removing all seeds and leaving shells about 1/3 inch thick.
2. Put rice and beef in a pot and add 2 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, salt, mint, allspice. Stir pot until mixed
3. Stuff zucchini shells with meat mixture (make sure that you only stuff 1/3 of the zucchini as rice will expand during cooking)
4. Using a cooking pot, pour water in the pot and 2 cubes chicken broth and add to it the stuffed zucchini and bring it to a boil, let it boil for about 10 minutes
5. In large pot mix the yogurt, egg, 1 ½ tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon dry mint, garlic and ½ teaspoon coriander) and stir constantly on medium heat (don’t stop at all – if you do the yogurt sauce will break apart)
6. When the yogurt starts to boil, add it to the stuffed zucchini and hot water and cook it on a low flame for about 20 minutes

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