Koosa b’laban

Moushira Abdel-Malek , Tuesday 16 May 2023

Koosa b laban
Koosa b laban


Serves 4-6


1 - 1/2 kg medium-sized zucchini (tipped, peeled, cored)

2 cups cooked minced beef

1/2 cup rice (washed well, strained)

1/4 cup pine nuts (fried in a smear of oil)

1 cup fresh parsley leaves (finely chopped)

1 kg plain yoghurt 

100 mls buttermilk (rayeb)

2 chicken bouillon cubes

1 tbsp cornstarch flour

1 tbsp crushed garlic

2 tbsp dried mint leaves (crushed)

1 tbsp dried ground coriander (optional)

2 tbsp olive oil + 1 tbsp butter

Salt + pepper + grated nutmeg + 2-3 bay leaves



In a medium bowl, combine minced beef, rice, salt, pepper, nutmeg, pine nuts; (half quantity) and parsley.  Mix well and stuff zucchini with mixture; fully filling each up to the rim; leaving approximately 1 cm empty from the top.  In a large cooking pan; combine yoghurt, rayeb, cornstarch; mixed well, in a small glass, with a small amount of tap water.  Add bouillon cubes and bay leaves.  Place pan over medium heat.  Stir constantly with whisk, until cornstarch thickens.  Keep stirring, gently, over medium-low heat, until brought to a boil.  Taste for salt, then add zucchini to mixture and cover pan.  Bring back to the boil then lower heat to medium-low; covered still.  Remove from heat when zucchini is done; approximately 10 to 15 minutes.  In a small saucepan, combine olive oil, butter and garlic.  Stir to fry, over medium heat, only until garlic changes colour, then stir in mint and/or coriander; only to combine.  Remove from heat and add to zucchini mixture; stirring it in.  Leave covered for a few minutes to integrate within heat of contents.  Prior to serving; remove bay leaves and stir in remaining quantity of pine nuts.  Serve with fluffed white rice and vermicelli, aside.


N.B.: Do not discard core inside of zucchini.  You can make a delicious salad with it.  Just add a very small amount of water to it and boil for a few minutes.  Pour into a small colander to drain waters and allow to cool off completely.  Add some salt, a teaspoonful of crushed garlic, juice of two lemons and a bunch of finely chopped parsley leaves.  Mix together.  Drizzle an amount of extra virgin olive oil and serve with either this dish or with any other.

A version of this article appears in print in the 18 May, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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