For those who know me, cooking is as much of a passion for me as photography! Friends know that when they are in my home they will be eating...and eating... and EATING! Even if you are not hungry, I will feed you! Because just like all people from the middle-east, in my house the word "No" means "Yes"!
As a kid, I grew up in the old city of Damascus, capital of Syria. I remember when I used to come home from school and smell what my Mom made for lunch from a mile away. I would get so excited when she made my favorite meal. As we would sit down to eat, I could not only taste her delicious food, but also feel her love with every bite. Fast forward to today, as I became a mother, I wanted to show my kids the same kind of love my Mom showed me with her food. Cooking for them and hearing them say "that's my favorite mom!" brings joy to my heart. I also want to keep my Syrian culture alive by making these recipes I used to eat as a kid that date back hundreds of years.
Kusa Mahshi is a very traditional recipe that is made throughout the middle east. Kusa means squash and Mashi means stuffed. This meal is super healthy and is gluten free. When picking the squash, I always remember my mom's advice to get the smaller/shorter ones because they cook faster, easier to core and are tastier.
I put together this video tutorial to show you how to properly core the insides of the squash using a special carving tool. You can purchase this tool from amazon or any local middle eastern store.
12 small sized squash
12 small handfuls of short grain rice (washed)
3/4 lbs of ground beef
1 can/tube tomato paste
Garlic 8 cloves
Tomato cut into 12 small bite size pieces
1 tsp Dried Mint
1 tsp all spice or 7 spices
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 tbs butter
Salt to taste
Serves : 4
Mix rice, ground beef, dash of salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, butter by hand. Stuff each squash with the rice meat mixture leaving 1/4 inch room on top for expansion. Place a tomato piece in each stuffed squash to seal it. Place a little butter on the bottom of a medium sauce pan. Arrange the stuffed squash inside. Pour cold water to cover them. Add mint, Salt and about 5 whole cloves of garlic. Let it boil then turn it down and stir in tomato paste. Crush 3 garlic cloves and add to pot. Simmer on low for 45 mins
Serve alone or with plain yogurt
I hope you enjoy this meal and please give me your feedback by commenting below.