Stuffed Zucchini in Yogurt Sauce
This is one of our most loved family dishes. It is a regular at our family lunches in winter for its stomach-warming value, and it maintains its desired presence throughout the year for its deliciousness and health values.
It can be time consuming when cooking it for a large family, specially that we use our green zucchinis that are small. It is the coring of the flesh out that takes time.
The zucchinis should be cored the thinner possible while being careful not to break them. Truth is, it is worth it. This dish is so delicious and warming.
The stuffing is composed of medium-size white rice and some ground beef, and fragrant with little mashed garlic. The sauce recipe is practically the same we use for the Kibbeh Labnieh and the Shish Barak Dumplings. We enhance its fragrance with fried garlic and dry mint at the final stage.
A variation of this recipe uses a mixture of meat without rice for the stuffing. Most of us stick to the traditional one that I am sharing with you today.
I am sure you will enjoy as we do. And be patient with the coring 🙂
To Your Good Health!
Stuffed Zucchini in Yogurt Sauce: Koussa Bil-Laban
- 8 Green Zucchini (small to medium) washed and dried.
- 1/2 Kg Plain Yogurt (un-skimmed)
- 1 tbsp Cornstarch diluted in some water.
- 1 Egg whisked
- 1 clove Garlic mashed thinly
- 1/2 tsp Salt or as desired
For the Stuffing
- 1/4 cup Rice well washed, soaked in cold water for 20 minutes, and drained from its water.
- 120 gr Ground Beef
- 1 tsp (flat) mashed Garlic
- 3/4 tsp (flat) Lebanese 7-Spice
- 1/4 tsp (flat) Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Salt or to taste
- 1/2 tbsp Dry Mint
- 2 cloves Garlic mashed
- 2 tbsps Vegetable oil to fry
Carefully slice out the dark tips at the bottom of the zucchinis without perforating them.
Gently core the zucchinis thinly from the flesh without breaking them. The thinner the better. Soak them in large bowl of lightly salted water. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine well the rice, the meat, and the mashed garlic. Season with the cinnamon and the Lebanese 7-spice, and mix well.
Stuff the zucchinis with the mixture, leaving an inch to the opening. Otherwise, the mixture will spill out or tear the zucchinis when the rice grows and expands during the cooking process.
In a casserole, gently arrange the stuffed zucchinis standing close to each other to hold them still during the cooking. Saturate with water. Cover the zucchinis with a plate, and place a half glass of cold water over. This is to hold them down during the boiling.
Turn on the heat to high. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes or so. You will know it is done when the zucchinis have softened, and the stuffing reached the opening.
While waiting, prepare the yogurt.
Making the Yogurt Sauce
Pour the yogurt in a large casserole, and stir in the diluted cornstarch. Place a sieve over the casserole and pour the whisked egg. Use a wooden spoon to whisk the egg further, allowing it to sip through and in the yogurt. Discard the sieve and what is left of the egg.
Stir well the yogurt, and turn on the heat under it to high. The moment it is about to boil, stir in the mashed garlic and turn down the heat to medium-low. Keep stirring in one direction for 5-8 minutes.
Your zucchinis should be done by now. Remove a cup of the broth, and stir it in the yogurt.
Gently transfer the zucchinis one by one, without the liquid, into the yogurt. Discard the remaining liquid/broth. Allow the zucchinis to simmer in the yogurt on low heat for not more than 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the fragrant topping:
The Final Fragrant Touch
In a small pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil. Add the mashed garlic, and fry for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Stir in the dry mint for a couple of seconds only, and then pour it all on the yogurt.
Stir very very gently not to smash the zucchinis, and you are ready to serve!